Principles & the Presidential Race

I’m very disappointed in Newt Gingrich. I was looking seriously at his candidacy for a while. I respect his intellect, and I was giving the benefit of the doubt that he may have changed from earlier years. I am not a supporter of Mitt Romney, as regular readers of this blog can attest. Yet the attack Newt has delivered on Romney’s years as a venture capitalist smacks of pure opportunism. He knows full well that a venture capitalist takes over failing companies to try to turn them around, and that in the process some people lose jobs. If he is successful, in the long run, more people gain employment. Newt knows this. But apparently, out of desperation and desire to hit back at some equally unfair accusations against him by Romney supporters, he has decided to sound like a Wall Street Occupier. He may deny that is what he’s doing, but I think it’s painfully obvious.

Less noticeably, yet just as vehemently, Rick Perry has jumped on this bandwagon and cleverly referred to Romney as a “vulture capitalist.” Very funny. At one point, I was prepared to support Perry as well. That budding support ended abruptly while watching one of the debates. Now that he’s added a dishonest attack on the free enterprise system on top of bad debate performances, there is no way I would even reconsider voting for him as the presidential nominee. This is not personal. I’m sure I would like him personally. But he has not handled himself in a manner that gives me any confidence in him as a national leader.

If either of these contenders had focused instead on the socialized healthcare Romney introduced into Massachusetts and his refusal to renounce that initiative, they would have had firm ground on which to criticize him. Yet they instead decided to play into Obama’s hands by trashing Romney as a hardhearted type of capitalist. You see, that’s the basis on which Obama hopes to win reelection: paint the Republican nominee as a tool of the rich and an oppressor of the working man. Classic class warfare. Classic Marxist ideology.

Why are Republicans who should know better catering to the class warfare argument? It will only come back to bite them in the end. The short answer, as I noted above, is that they believe it will help them overcome the lead Romney now has, and that it will give them a fighting chance to get the nomination.

Poor judgment. Utter selfishness. Unprincipled.

This has been a stain on the Republican party, and it saddens me. In this midst of this turmoil, Rick Santorum has refused to join the ranks of the unprincipled. While critiquing Romney on legitimate grounds, he has nevertheless defended the role of a venture capitalist. For this, he deserves the gratitude of an electorate seeking a candidate who has solid beliefs [whether you agree with all of them or not] and who maintains the proper character for someone running for the highest office in the land. I don’t know if Santorum is going to stumble in some way in the coming days, but I’m hopeful he will provide an alternative to what we have been witnessing. I can say without qualification that if the Florida Republican primary were held this day, Santorum would have my vote.

Let’s reintroduce principle into our politics.