[Posted by Karl]
It’s a niche sub-genre of political slapfight:
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday morning he would “consider” returning the money he earned as a consultant to mortgage giant Freddie Mac if Republican rival Mitt Romney returned his earnings from “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.”
Gingrich was responding to Romney’s call, on Fox and Friends earlier Monday, for Gingrich to return his Freddie Mac earnings, for which he has come under attack.
…and Newt tacked on the obligatory ironic denouncement of Mitt’s negativity for good measure. Two points about the exchange leap to mind.
First, Newt seems perfectly willing to attack from the left when challenged. I have no sympathy on that score for Mitt Romney, who attacked Rick Perry from the left on entitlements. However, Newt’s convenient disdain for the creative destruction necessary to a healthy market system ought to give more pause to those treating Gingrich as the True Conservative alternative to Romney. Indeed, the attack only underscores that Gingrich sees nothing fundamentally wrong with having taken money to promote (or “not lobby” for) Freddie Mac as it — and other government distortions of the housing market — were about to be revealed as the bubble collapsed.
Second, it’s a fair bet Team Obama will roll out either of those attacks if either Mitt or Newt is the nominee. If it’s Mitt, we’ll hear a lot about Mitt being a one-percenter who got rich firing the proletartiat — and healthcare reform will be largely off the table. If it’s Newt, we’ll hear a lot about the unpleasant, longtime Beltway insider and not-lobbyist — and the government’s role in precipitating our current economic malaise will be largely off the table. The phrase “pick your poison” comes to mind.