Gingrich Too Late in Reconsidering Attacks on Romney’s Business Practices

COMMENTARY | Prompted by Dean Glossop, an Army Reservist who approached him at a public appearance in South Carolina, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has admitted that his attacks on Mitt Romney for his practices at Bain Capital were a mistake.

The encounter was reported in Politico. Glossop urged Gingrich to concentrate on Romney’s inconsistent approach to conservatism and lay off the corporation bashing. Gingrich responded that it was indeed impossible to discuss the subject with President Obama and his class warfare rhetoric in the background.

One hardly knows where to begin.

On the one hand, Gingrich is to be congratulated for realizing that he was sounding like an Occupy Wall Street supporter by attacking Romney as an evil capitalist. On the other hand he has had to admit to a number of such mistakes during the campaign, including the infamous couch commercial with Nancy Pelosi about climate change. Gingrich also accused Rep. Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee, of committing “right wing social engineering” for his Roadmap to America’s Future.

The phrase that comes to mind upon reading of this is: “too little, too late.” It would have been better if Gingrich had not started the assault on Romney from his left flank. The former governor from Massachusetts has more than enough baggage to hang him with without test marketing the attacks the the Obama re-election machine will use if Romney is the nominee. Romney did bring into being his own version of health care reform, Romneycare, which he has yet to explain adequately. He has changed his position on a number of issues, not the least of which is abortion.

By attacking Romney for being a capitalist, Gingrich has burnished his rival’s credentials as a free market conservative, which Romney has used to his benefit. Being attacked for being a capitalist in a Republican race is like being attacked for being too skilled a lover on one’s wedding night. Gingrich set out to deny Romney the nomination after his rival had savaged him with attack ads in Iowa, knocking him off his front-runner perch. Instead Gingrich may well have ensured Romney’s nomination and, likely, his election as the 45th president of the United States.

Source: Newt Gingrich: I crossed the line, Jonathan Allen, Politico, Jan 11, 2011

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