Bill Murchison
What's all this "Republican establishment" vs. "grassroots populist" business; would somebody kindly inform me? I have rarely heard of anything nuttier.

The essence of this widely retailed story is that rebellious men and women of the grassroots wish to prevent the nomination of Mitt Romney for president. If Romney got elected, we are apparently to believe, he would spend all his time at the country club, checking in periodically with his brokers, instead of removing the cultural and political debris left by the Obama administration. Whereas -- ah! -- if Newt Gingrich became the people's man in the White House, he and Joe the plumber would lead a national revival.

I do not mean to mock. The matters at hand in the Republican presidential contest are serious, but reducing the contest to a race between some Wall Street guy and a feisty little ex-speaker of the House is, um, ludicrous. When in creation did Newt Gingrich, lately celebrated for his payday as a consultant at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, become a man of the people? And, true enough, Romney has lot of money, but does having a lot of money (power to him by the way) mean he connects only to men in dark, thousand-dollar suits? Horse feathers!

The Romney-Gingrich contest (I say this with all deference to Mr. Three in the contest, Rick Santorum, a good guy) has less to do with populism and establishmentarianism than Barack Obama has to do with warmth and candor.

To paraphrase George Wallace's view of the two main political parties, there isn't a dime's worth of difference, philosophically speaking, between Romney and Gingrich. Neither wants to preserve in amber the works of the Obama Congress and administration. Both want, if with different emphases and approaches, to reduce the size, weight and ponderousness of the federal government and stimulate economic growth and job creation.

The whole argument over Wall Street and Main Street -- to which Sarah Palin added her increasingly valueless viewpoints the other day, jumping on Romney and defending Gingrich -- is no argument at all. We can't get along without people on both of these caricatured thoroughfares adding ideas, investment and hard work to the economic mix. The two of them buy and sell, hire and fire, invest and dis-invest -- just at different rhythms and paces. For that matter, the real wealth of the country is on Main Street. Wall Street merely facilitates Main Street's activities. National prosperity depends on the freedom of movement that both boulevards afford.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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