Newt Gingrich wins key endorsement by not just saying what he thinks people want to hear (or maybe he did say what he thought they wanted to hear)

November 27, 2011

I’ve written so much about Republican presidential candidates lately that I feel like I have turned into a Republican, but that is not the case — mostly it’s just that the only contest right now is on their side since the Democrats have the incumbent.

But anyway what about the rise of Newt Gingrich? I really know very little about him other than the caricature, for lack of a better word, of him as a kind of wild, irreverent, hard-right-wing guy, liable to say anything to take a poke at liberals — and of course he was at one time Speaker of the House and guided the so-called Contract for America, derided by the Democrats as the “Contract on America”.

Anyway, now he has won the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper (they used to call it the Manchester Union Leader), the outfit that made presidential candidate Edwin Muskie cry (or was it snow in his eye?).

Since New Hampshire has the traditionally early primary and it is considered a bellwether for candidates, that’s a big deal (I don’t know what their record for picking winners is).

While the editorial I read was short on specifics, I loved one line:

“We would rather back someone with whom we sometimes disagree than someone who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.”

That was a swipe at the play-it-safe and put-your-finger-to-the-wind strategy of Mitt Romney.

And the we don’t always agree part may have been a comment on Newt’s new liberal stance on giving long-time illegal aliens who work and have families and are law abiding a break.

And now that I think about it, although some of the reactionary right may have not wanted to hear about giving hard-working family people who do not have legal status to live in this country a break, some more progressive or compassionate voters might, so in a way maybe Newt was saying what he thought people might want to hear.

I had previously said that I need to read up on Romney. I may need to read up on Newt.