Mitt Defends Mitt While Newt Upholds Conservatism; History Is Made by Imperfect Champions of Perfect Ideals
Byline: Dr. Milton R. Wolf, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Great moments in history are achieved not necessarily by great people, but rather by courageous people who will defend great ideas. The American story is one of an enduring struggle by imperfect champions of perfect ideals: natural rights, individual liberty, independence, sovereignty, the rule of law and more. America, even in its third century, deserves nothing less. As the Fox News/Wall Street Journal GOP presidential debate unfolded in South Carolina on Monday, it became exceedingly clear: Mitt Romney is masterful at defending Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich is masterful at defending conservatism.
That the former Massachusetts governor has become extraordinarily adept at defending himself as a political candidate should surprise no one. He is, after all, a well-financed and highly capable man who has dedicated the past several years of his life to running for president. Mr. Romney is like the Apple app store for candidates: Got a problem? There's an app for that.
What's your tax plan? There's an answer for that. Flip-flops? There's an answer for that. Romneycare? Bain Capital? There are answers for those. Job plan? There's a 59-point answer for that.
The problem for Mr. Romney came when he was knocked off the Mitt Romney script. When given opportunities to defend conservatism with questions about his tax returns and hunting, Mr. Romney stammered through painful answers and defended only himself, not conservatism. The hunting exchange was particularly illustrative. In 2008, you may recall, Mr. Romney tried to endear himself to Second Amendment advocates by boasting of his hunting exploits, which were mostly fictional. When pressed for his game of choice, he could only come up with varmints.
Mitt 2.0 has solved the varmint problem by going elk hunting. Or was it moose? The governor should be reminded, however, that hunting is but a byproduct of the Second Amendment, not its purpose. Mr. Romney wasted an opportunity to remind Americans that our Founders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, considered the right to bear arms an essential antidote to tyranny at the hands of government. Hunting is nice, but it was not their concern. But at least candidate Romney checked off the hunting box, even though his real game all along has been those varmint voters.
Compare this to Newt Gingrich's inspiring defense, not of himself, but of conservative values. The electrifying moment came when Fox News' Juan Williams attributed racist motives to the former speaker for labeling Barack Obama the food-stamp president and for his idea that young people should actually work. …