All right? What's the real argument? The real argument is ancient, rooted in human jealousies that have been alive in the republic since Jefferson threw his arm around the farmers and small merchants even as Hamilton danced regally with the post-colonial royalty of bankers and brokers.
The damaging aspect of it all, right now, involves staging a nonsensical family feud in front of the whole country: Gingrichian "populists" pretending to see in Romney a social enemy; Romneyites slugging back in kind, making the whole party appear in the grip of mass stupidity.
The whole neo-populist notion of portraying Romney as the liberal Republican reincarnation of Tom Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller is dumb and self-defeating. If candidate Romney (like candidate John Kerry a few years back) might benefit from spending less time around yachtsmen and more around the stock car fraternity, how does this result in the anointing of candidate Gingrich as the horny-handed son of toil come to save us from robber barons and boardroom rapists?
The Republican race is, or should be, an embarrassment to Republicans who trumpet the urgency of freeing Washington, D. C., from the grip of a party less populistic even than Gingrich imagines Romney to be: A party wedded lovingly to public service unions and demographic interest groups. The power of that party to mobilize followers and voters next November should be plain to Republicans who remember 2008 -- provided they can be pried from the task at hand, the demolition of Republicans by other Republicans.