By Tom Quiner

Mitt Romney did an excellent job in the Republican debates last year. He knows his stuff. He’s pretty quick on his feet. He comes across as presidential.

And he’s likable.

He has squandered much of these positives with the barrage, no, with the tsunami of negativity he and his surrogates unleashed on his more conservative rivals, most notably, Newt Gingrich.

Even liberal columnist, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post was taken aback:

“… the way Romney and his crew took Gingrich apart was vicious. A pro-Romney political action committee, “Restore Our Future,” spent more than $3 million ensuring that Iowans couldn’t watch 10 minutes of television without being assaulted by an ad explaining why Gingrich was a scoundrel, a knave, a hack, a goon or — shudder, a closet liberal.”

An unknown group, under the guise of Iowans for LIFE, dishonestly spread the lie that Mr. Gingrich and Rick Santorum were actually not true pro-life candidates. Iowans for LIFE was forced on two occasions to publicly disavow any involvement with these hit pieces. (For the record, Iowans for LIFE is a great group doing wonderful work on behalf of the pre-born.) We don’t know which candidate was behind this blatantly dishonest attack, but in light of Mr. Romney’s profligate use of smear tactics, his campaign surrogates have to be suspects.

He has backed Mr. Gingrich into a corner.

Mr. Gingrich has a run a clean, positive campaign. The only way Republicans ever win is by campaigning on a positive theme of economic prosperity. The next election is within Republican’s grasp, but Mr. Romney has ensured that the task will be difficult.

Do you remember when Gingrich’s campaign imploded last year and his Iowa staffers all quit on him? His standings in the polls plummeted. But even when he was down and out, he refused to attack his fellow Republicans to avoid an intra-party bloodbath that could grease the skids to Obama’s re-election.

Mr. Gingrich is now forced to defend himself and begin pointing out the liberal aspects of Mr. Romney’s record. And he began this morning on the Early Show:

“This is a man [Romney] whose staff created the PAC, his millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC. It’s baloney. He’s not telling the American people the truth. It’s just like this pretense that he’s a conservative. Here’s a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in ‘Romneycare,’ puts Planned Parenthood in ‘Romneycare,’ raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he’s magically a conservative.”

With a liberal record like that, Romney might get President Obama to jump in to his defense.

Mitt Romney has made the choice to turn this election cycle into a Republican bloodbath. He is profoundly weakening his own candidacy and empowering the Obama campaign.

3 Comments

  1. maxine Bechtel on January 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

    It’s frustrating, isn’t it?? I’ve lamented in previous election cycles how the GOP has the bad habit of shooting themselves in the foot with someone running on a third party ticket, thereby allowing the libs the upper hand! Ross Perot split the conservative vote back in the 80’s and last election, Paul did it! Hopefully. there won’t be a repeat!

  2. Paul Sharp on January 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I think Romney is good choice, but still not convinced he is the best Republican. I concur that his “going negative” was not good.

    Maybe the best candidate is Gingrich, but seems to me like he is prone to talking too much. For example, why did he equate Paul Ryan’s plan with “right wing social engineering” in his response to the cleverly worded question by David Gregory? Gingrich’s response gave ammunition to the left. Newt should have known better; what was he thinking? In my opinion if Newt is prone to these episodes in which his words get ahead of his brain he will open the floodgates for the liberal press.

    I am undecided, except that all are much better than the incumbent!

    • quinersdiner on January 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Gingrich rubbed me wrong with his choice of words, “right wing social engineering,” as well. His underlying point was a good one, that the general public wouldn’t trust the Ryan plan. Gingrich is doing a better job of thinking before he responds since then.

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