Thomas Sowell

Unfortunately, there are likely to be far more people who will see the smears than will have time to get the facts. But, if nothing else, there needs to be some understanding of the reckless accusations that have become part of the all-out attempt to destroy Newt Gingrich, as so many other political figures have been destroyed, by non-stop smears in the media.

Gingrich is by no means above criticism. He has been criticized in this column before, over the years, including during the current primary season, and he will probably be criticized here again.

But the poisonous practice of irresponsible smears is an issue that is bigger than Gingrich, Romney or any other candidate of either party.

There have long been reports of people who decline to be nominated for federal judicial appointments because that means going before the Senate Judiciary Committee to have lies about their past spread nationwide, and the good reputation built up over a lifetime destroyed by politicians who could not care less about the truth.

The same practices may well have something to do with the public's dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates in this year's primaries -- and in previous years' primaries. Character assassination is just another form of voter fraud.

There is no law against it, so it is up to the voters, not only in Florida but in other states, to punish it at the ballot box -- the only place where punishment is likely to stop the practice.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate