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November 23, 2011

Newt Gingrich Spanks Romney on Twitter

The basics of this were covered by Drew, below, but this is Newt Gingrich himself saying it, from his own Twitter account.

Romney is pretty brazen about forgetting his myriad past positions. It's just odd to me that he attacks aggressively on an issue like this, when he himself has pro-amnesty statements in his very recent past. (So recent they are pop culturally relevant.)

It might be some kind of strategic decision that the best defense is a shameless offense, or a calculation that people can only remember the attack and not the counter-attack.

Or it could be that he is thinking -- with some justification -- that the base is going with various unknown quantities and, because they are unknown, they are blank screens upon which the base can project its own hopes (as Barack Obama observed about himself in 2008 ). Ergo, each candidate flies to the top of the heap because the base projects on to each newest blank slate a perfect (or near-perfect) conservative record. So Mitt's calculation may be "You all know I've flipped and flopped and am really not terribly conservative, but you don't know that each of your new Flavors of the Week have done similar things, so my mission is to bring each candidate's Romneyesque deviations from conservative orthodoxy to your attention. Then you'll see each is nearly as flawed on ideology as I am, and you'll pick me not on ideology, but on general competency, because if everyone's kind of a RINO in one or more important ways, you might as well pick the guy who's polling the best."

Maybe. But there's a real shamelessness here that gets off-putting. It's just not very honest for Romney to be so hard-charging as a Tough on Immigrants Sheriff Joe type.

There comes a point at which it does seem that he believes us to be stupid, or needs us to be stupid, at least.

I waver between thinking Romney's aggression and shamelessness are actually useful tools in the toolbox -- could use some of that against Obama -- and thinking they're liabilities. Sometimes stuff like this begins to undercut the central argument in favor of Romney -- he's smart, disciplined, and competent.

If he's making attacks like this, shamelessly ignoring his own past... well, is he those things?

via @lamblock.

Also Undercutting... the idea that Romney is a more elevated candidate than the various bumpkins who oppose him.

Some people want a more elevated candidate, one who doesn't feel the need to play dumb. I get that. Sometimes I get a little pissed off at the apparent necessity of reasonably intelligent men playing a little dumb, because some people seem to think dumb skews conservative.

But this shameless "These aren't the droids you're looking for" attack by Romney is, to me, yahoo-ish and bumpkin-ish. Certainly it's not elevated, and certainly the pitch being made here is not to the higher-function regions of my brain. The higher-function regions of my brain are kind of aghast at this.

Conceding, arguendo, that a smarty-pants candidate, a sort of elevated intellect, would be sort of a nice thing -- is Romney being that candidate here?

Or is he being low and cheap and dumb, and therefore exactly the sort of candidate that his supporter don't like?

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posted by Ace at 12:12 PM

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