After Newt's and Bill's disastrous experiences in government, both went on to create empires -- Bill in philanthropy and cheap thought, Newt in public policy and cheap thought. As an ex-president, Bill has wrung up an unprecedented $75.6 million since absconding from the White House with White House loot and shameless pardons. I do not know how much Newt has amassed, but he got between $1.6 million to $1.8 million from Freddie Mac, and he lobbied for Medicare Part B while receiving, according to the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney, "Big Bucks Pushing Corporate Welfare." Now, after a lifetime in Washington, he is promoting himself as an outsider.
Contending with Newt for the Republican nomination are Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney. All three are truer conservatives than Newt. I like them all. But John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations, and John Lehman, Ronald Reagan's secretary of the Navy, are for Mitt, and they are solid conservatives. Governor Chris Christie and the economic pundit Larry Kudlow laud Mitt on taxes, on spending, and on attacking crony capitalism. Kudlow calls Romney "Reaganesque." Ann Coulter seems to loathe Newt. That is good enough for me.
Back in 1992, I appeared with Chris Matthews on some gasbag's television show. Was it Donohue? At any rate, I said candidate Clinton had more skeletons in his closet than a body snatcher. It was a prescient line then, and I always got a laugh. I can apply the same line today to Newt, though he has skeletons both inside and outside his closet. Conservatives should not be surprised by the scandals that lie ahead if they stick with him.
Those of us who raised the question of character in 1992 were confronted by an indignant Bill Clinton, who treated the topic as a low blow. To listen to him, character was the "C-word" of American politics. It was reprehensible to mention it.
By now, we know. Character matters. Paul, Santorum and Romney have it. Newt has Clinton's character.