-- Romney is now the only remaining candidate for president who opposes amnesty for illegals. (Ever since President Bush's amnesty plan cratered on the shoals of public opposition, no Republican will ever use the word "amnesty," despite wanting to keep illegals here -- just as Democrats refuse to say "abortion," while supporting every manner of destroying human life.)
Romney supports E-Verify and a fence on the border. As governor he promoted English immersion programs for immigrants, signed an agreement with the federal government allowing state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws, and opposed efforts to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition or driver's licenses.
At the same time, Romney says he'd like to staple a green card to the diploma of every immigrant here on a student visa who gets a higher degree in math or science.
Gingrich supports importing a slave labor force from Mexico under a "guest worker" program and wants to create government "citizen review boards" to grant amnesty on a case-by-case basis (i.e. all at once) to illegal aliens.
-- Romney supports entitlement reform along the lines of the Paul Ryan plan, as he has said plainly, but without histrionics, in the debates.
Just last year, Gingrich went on "Meet the Press" and called Ryan's plan -- supported by nearly every House Republican -- "right-wing social engineering."
He apologized for those remarks, then took back his apology, still later doubled down, calling the Ryan plan "suicide," and now -- currently, but it could change any minute -- Gingrich supports Ryan's entitlement reform efforts.
For the latest updates on Newt's position on the Ryan plan, go to http//twitter.com/#whatcheapshotgrandstandymovewillworknow?
-- As for crony capitalism, Romney made all his money in the private sector by his own diligence and talent -- even giving away all the money he inherited from his parents. He's never lived in Washington or traded on access to government officials.
Meanwhile, without the federal government, Gingrich would be penniless. He has been in Washington since the '70s, first as a congressman, then becoming a rich man on the basis of having been a congressman.
Most egregiously, he took $1.6 million to shill for Freddie Mac, one of the two institutions directly responsible for the housing crash that caused the financial collapse. (Or one of three, if you consider Barney Frank an institution.)
If the tea party stands for anything, it stands in absolute opposition to government insiders shoring up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the very time those institutions were blowing up the economy.
-- Romney could not be more forceful in saying he will issue a 50-state waiver to Obamacare his first day in office and then seek its formal repeal. Whether you like a state-wide insurance mandate or not, it's a world of difference when the federal government does it. Conservatives, having read the Constitution, ought to understand this.
It was on account of the difference between state and federal powers that the Supreme Court overturned the federal Violence Against Women Act. The court was not endorsing rape, but reminding us that states make laws about rape, not Congress.
To act as if Obamacare is the same thing as "Romneycare" is just a word game, on the order of acting like a "gun" has the same properties as a "gunny sack," or "fire" is the same thing as a "firefly."
Romney supported the idea of other states doing something along the lines of his health care bill, but always opposed insurance mandates from the federal government (just as I oppose the federal government issuing general laws about rape, but support state laws against rape.)
For those of you who still think Romneycare is the worst possible sin a Republican candidate could commit -- even worse than taking money from Freddie Mac as it destroyed the economy -- that doesn't help Gingrich: He supported Romneycare.
(While we're on the subject, the nation's leading conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, helped draft Romneycare. Indeed, Bob Moffit, Heritage's senior fellow on health care issues, can be seen in the picture of the bill-signing ceremony, standing proudly behind Romney.)
But Gingrich did more than support Romneycare. As former senator Rick Santorum has pointed out, Gingrich supported a FEDERAL individual mandate to purchase health insurance from 1993 until five minutes ago -- i.e., at least until a "Meet the Press" appearance just last May.
Asked by Maria Bartiromo in the CNBC debate last November to explain what he would do to fix health care, Newt attacked the question as "absurd" and said he would need a "several-hour period" to answer it.
In a world where words have meaning, Mitt Romney is not the "moderate" in this race. He is the most conservative candidate still standing, with the possible exception of Rick Santorum, who is bad on illegal immigration. (Santorum voted in the Senate against even the voluntary use of E-Verify by employers, which means he doesn't want to do anything about illegal immigration at all.)
Romney is "moderate" only in demeanor -- which is just another word game. His positions are more conservative than Gingrich's, but he doesn't scare people like Gingrich does. Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms were moderate in demeanor, too. No one would call them political moderates.
Romney is the most electable candidate not only because it will be nearly impossible for the media to demonize this self-made Mormon square, devoted to his wife and church, but precisely because he is the most conservative candidate.
Conservatism is an electable quality. Hotheaded arrogance is neither conservative nor attractive to voters.