December 11, 2011

"Newt Romney" Rumble - Round 1

For those who enjoy such things, tonight's GOP Presidential Debate on ABC may have been the best one yet. With his second place in Iowa polls, Ron Paul supporters are burning up the Twitterverse how their guy won. But he didn't. He said many good things but still believes America's interests end at the water's edge. Pity. Tonight's debate was the first round of the "Newt Romney" grudge match. ("Newt Romney" is Michele Bachmann's new term for the co-leaders with very similar and somewhat mercurial positions, versus her "true conservatism.")

Chris Cillizza did a very good job summarizing the night's developments, and this was the most important one I saw:

For all of those folks predicting (or hoping) that Gingrich would implode, tonight was not their night. Make no mistake: there are genuine concerns within the party about what Gingrich leading the national ticket might mean for downballot race next November. But Gingrich gave his detractors very little reason to think that his collapse is in the offing.

But Chris didn't mention what I thought was the quote of the night by Newt Gingrich. [Nothing linkable on this yet as the media kids are focusing on Romney's offer to "bet you ten thousand dollars I never said that" with Rick Perry.] After a prolonged back-and-forth over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and specifically, Newt's prior comment that "the Palestinians are an invented people," Romney chastised Newt, and Newt responded.

Romney: I've also known B.B. Netanyahu for a long time, we worked together at Boston Consulting Group, and the last thing B.B. Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who's an historian, but somebody who is also running for President of the United States, stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in his neighborhood. And if I'm President of the United States I will exercise sobriety, care, stability, and make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can effect a place with, with rockets going in, with people dying, I don't do anything that would harm that process. And therefore before I made a statement of that nature I'd get on the phone to my friend B.B. Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?' Let's work together because we're partners. I'm not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally."

Gingrich: "I think sometimes it is helpful to have a President of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, just as it was Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire, and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say to Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall. Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world. I'm a Reaganite. I am proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it is at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid."

Romney didn't help himself, I thought, by mispronouncing the Israeli Prime Minister's name "B. B. Not-an-YA-hoo" (rather than Net-an-YA-hoo.) Not once, but every time he said it.

2012 Posted by JohnGalt at December 11, 2011 12:49 AM

I was out partying until the wee hours last night. When I got back (at 9:30), I watched a bit of it on TiVo. The debate seemed good, and I was very impressed with the moderators, whom I expected to be awful.

I did see the brutal and elaborately planned "Newt Romney" attack. Yawn. It sucks to have to listen to Rep. Bachmann and Senator Santorum but not have Gov. Huntsman on stage.

But, if nobody cratered at the end, I became more comfortable with both Speaker Gingrich and Gov. Romney last night. Supporting one of them does not seem completely unthinkable.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2011 11:14 AM

On Fox News Sunday I just heard Juan Williams say, "Are Republicans really thinking of nominating Newt Gingrich?" The answer is clearly, "yes." Voters are frequently advised, "Don't fall for a cult of personality." That advice works in reverse too - don't reject the candidate with the best message because you don't like the way he _______.

Newt's new "tell it like it is" campaign is resonating with GOP voters who want a direct frontal attack against Obama and his policies. Some will say this will kill his chances in the general election. I disagree. I think Americans of every stripe appreciate, admire, and will reward, candor.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2011 11:54 AM

Point of order, Mr. Chairman. It is "Bibi" not "B.B." This is a nickname for "Binyamin," his given name.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 12, 2011 1:41 PM

Correction noted and heartily appreciated. (I was so put off by Romney's mispronunciation of his "friend's" name I failed to look up the correct spelling of his nickname.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2011 2:28 PM

Jay Nordlinger at NRO is with ya:

If Mitt's going to claim buddyship with Netanyahu, he's got to work on the pronunciation of the prime minister's name.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2011 5:40 PM | What do you think? [5]