Historians of Barack Obama’s political career have always noted that he’s been pretty lucky when it comes to his opponents. 2012 certainly will not change that narrative. It seems to me that the Republicans are now faced with a bad choice between Romney and Gingrich-either one will lead to self destruction.
The Republican establishment clearly is scared witless by the prospect of Gingrich being their standard bearer. Last night Matt Drudge brought the full weight of his huge reach to try to destroy Gingrich. His banner , “Insider: Gingrich repeatedly insulted Reagan” linked to NeoCon kingpin Eliot Abrams National Review takedown of Gingrich’s pretension to carrying the Reagan mantle. In another lead link, Drudge links to Emmet Tyrrell (Bill Clinton’s nemesis) who writes of William Jefferson Gingrich.
Newt and Bill are 1960s generation narcissists, and they share the same problems: waywardness and deviancy. Newt, like Bill, has a proclivity for girl hopping. It is not as egregious as Bill’s, but then Newt is not as drop-dead beautiful. His public record is already besmeared with tawdry divorces, and there are private encounters with the fair sex that doubtless will come out.
It may be that the combined weight of Drudge, the National Review, George Will and Anne Coulter trashing Newt may influence the vote in Florida, but if Newt is smart in tonights debate, he will continue his line that “the elites” (right and left) hate him, and he is proud of that.
But if the GOP establishment attacks work, then the party is left with Romney as the candidate. And that would be equally disastrous. Romney releasing last year’s tax returns will not be enough for the Democrats. Because at some basic level the average American says, “why did he need Swiss and Cayman Island offshore accounts if he wasn’t trying to hide something?” Gingrich previewed the Democratic attack line yesterday.
“You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts, and making $20 million for no work, to have some fantasy this far from reality,” Mr. Gingrich said when asked about Mr. Romney’s suggestion that illegal immigrants could be persuaded to “self-deport” from the United States.
But that’s just the start. Already good investigative reporters are starting to ask very pointed questions.
In the wake of news reports last week that presidential contender Mitt Romney owns an individual retirement account worth as much as $101 million, questions are growing over how it could have gotten so big when contribution limits are capped at $5,000 or $6,000 a year.
As one wag pointed out, Romney would have to be 3000 years old to accumulate that much in an IRA if he had played by the rules. Of course by undervaluing assets he put into his Cayman Island IRA, he could escape the tax burden, but in the world of Presidential politics, this is too clever by half.
As for the President, he is on a roll. The economy is improving and since he was inaugurated the Dow has almost doubled, moving from 6469 to 12,791. Moreover he has realized that he must fight a populist campaign for the soul of America. Having Romney as his opponent is the perfect foil and he laid out the electoral challenge in his State of the Union.
We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
I think the President’s chances of reelection get better every day.