Thursday, December 15, 2011

To Endorse or Not?

This morning the editors of National Review came out against the candidacy of Newt Gingrich.  I have to admit their anti-endorsement of the former Speaker surprised me, and concerned me as well, more than a bit.

I should say first that of all the political punditry I follow, I trust National Review (NR) more than any other.  I look to them for cues and when they announce for or against a particular policy or person in as foursquare a fashion as they did in this case, I must admit, it gets my attention.

Second, do not mistake my concern about NR's position for a back-handed endorsement on my part of Newt Gingrich.  I maintain some very real concerns about him as our president as well.  But then, I do as well about each of the other candidates in the GOP field.  Even before this winnowing process began, I decided I would deliberately withhold final judgment about each of them.  To this point, I still haven't made up my mind.  To state the obvious, they all bring strengths and weaknesses to their individual candidacies.  But, and this is very important to remember, any of them would be better than the current White House occupant.

Which leads me to my worry which is that with respect to this year's slate of GOP presidential contenders, NR, along with many other similar conservative outlets, is in danger of confusing ideology, capability, character, and temperament.  In the case of Newt Gingrich, they may in fact have conflated all four.

Maybe NR's editors find him seriously lacking in each category.  But what I think more likely is that they've allowed his somewhat mercurial temperament to overshadow their judgment about the other qualifiers.

In any case, I think also that perhaps they've fallen victim, like most of us are apt to do, of allowing the elite liberal media to set the agenda and establish the criteria by which we select acceptable candidates.  No matter what, and I can't say this loud enough or long enough, if we could nominate George Washington himself as our standard bearer, they would still make him and his idiosyncrasies the issue and not Barack Obama and his failed policies.  (I can almost hear it, "Are we ready for a president with false teeth?")

We must resist this temptation and even remain somewhat self-conscious in our resistance.  Regrettably, such is their power and our weakness.

So, my advice is to stand back and let'em fight it out. May the best, not the perfect, man win.   

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