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December 31. 2011 10:19PM

Newt v. Mitt: One grows, one flips

Here is a key difference between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in sizing up who would make the better leader for the nation.

When Gingrich has changed his position on an issue, it has been out of a genuine change in his thinking.

As he has said, he can be persuaded by the facts.

Romney, on the other hand, practices the age-old art of political expediency. When he ran for Massachusetts governor, he was pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-gun-control, pro-mandated health insurance. Now that he is chasing the presidential nomination of a more conservative party, he is against all those things.

When Gingrich has changed his position, he has said so and explained why. When Romney has changed his positions, he has denied doing so.

Romney managed to switch all the aforementioned positions within the same decade. Gingrich, by contrast, has a track record that goes back more than three decades and is thus great fodder for political foes to try to pick apart. It would be suspicious, in fact, if he hadn’t changed some of his views in all that time.

Which reminds us of what Benjamin Franklin is purported to have said when urging others to sign the newly-proposed Constitution. Franklin said he thought it contained some errors but he may come around at some point to finding that he was wrong.

“For having lived long,” he said, “I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.”

Wise man, that Franklin fellow.

Likewise, Gingrich’s breadth of experience is one of the reasons we find him the best man to take the reins at a very troubled time in our nation’s history.


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