The Washington Times-Herald

Our Perspective

December 14, 2011

GOP voters are sampling presidential choices

(Continued)

New Castle —

Another Republican once touted as a formidable foe for Romney was Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Here was a guy who could fire up the Republican base with his Christian conservatism, reasonably healthy state economy and a long list of executions during his tenure.

But in debates, Perry has repeatedly stumbled over his own words, uncomfortably reminding many of another Texas governor who became president.

And then Perry made the mistake of discussing illegal aliens. Potential supporters were aghast that a border state governor actually had nuanced views on the issue. In a party that touts state and local control over many matters of government, we once again see that such ideals are defended only so long as the locals come to the desired conclusions.

Today, the GOP’s rising presidential star is former House speaker Newt Gingrich, with polls giving him double-digit leads over Romney in key states.

As a candidate, Gingrich is sharp, knowledgeable and articulate, qualities that serve him well in debates.

But at the same time, Gingrich carries heavy ethical and moral baggage, and his explanations for these failings have been dubious at best. Plus, Gingrich’s political history is one of extreme highs and lows. Where he’ll be in a month is anyone’s guess.

Still, Republican voters shouldn’t worry too much about the twists and turns in this campaign. Despite some of the talk, there is still plenty of time to assess the candidates.

And a drawn-out primary battle is by no means bad. Look at what it did for Obama four years ago against Hillary Clinton.

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Mitchel Olszak writes for The New Castle (Pa.) News.

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