The three front runners for the Republican nomination each have baggage, and since last week we’ve seen their strategies for dealing with it. Tim Pawlenty is very sorry about signing a cap-and-trade bill while he governed Minnesota; Mitt Romney has some ‘splainin’ to do to get people to quit using the word “Romneycare”; and Newt Gingrich… well, Newt’s got kind of a Cee Lo Green thing going on with his previous support for aggressive environmental action:
“I’d do a commercial with Al Gore,” Gingrich said last May in an interview with the website Human Events. “My point is conservatives ought to be prepared to stand on the same stage and offer a conservative solution.”
Pawlenty’s strategy is probably the best for now (pending Romney’s speech). It is, appropriately enough, safe and genuine, but Gingrich is at least sort of right, too. This line of messaging does help to further the idea that he is the Thinking Republican’s Candidate to a degree. But the audience shouldn’t be conservatives (at least, not quite so obviously).
The past five years are absolutely full of examples of grassroots activists demonstrating that they don’t like to be lectured to. There was Marco Rubio besting Charlie Crist in Republican primary polls (and eventually the general election), Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski, and Rand Paul over Trey Grayson in Kentucky’s Senate race. If you feel like going back farther and crossing the aisle, ask Joe Lieberman how rank and file Democrats felt about him in 2006.
You don’t like being lectured to. Do you hear me? You don’t like it. (You do, however, appreciate irony, I hope.)
The point is, that instead of scolding conservatives that they should be stewards of the environment, Gingrich should be more inclusive. Consider how his second sentence above would sound with a slightly different perspective:
“My point is that we can stand on the same stage and offer better, more creative solutions that will protect our environment without putting people out of work.”
Wouldn’t that make you feel a little bit better about being on the same side as Gingrich – as if you’re both part of the same winning team?