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Calling Dr. Groseclose, Or It Takes a Brave Man to Dispute George Will

George Will in his Washington Post column last week:

[Conservatives]…anticipated choosing between Mitt Romney, a conservative of convenience, and a conviction politician to his right. The choice, however, could be between Romney and the least conservative candidate, Newt Gingrich [italics mine].tim.jpg

Tim Groseclose, writing here on Ricochet just yesterday:

Some recent evidence suggests that Gingrich—the more conservative candidate in my judgment—is just as electable as Romney [italics, once again, mine].

Well, Dr. Groseclose?

  1. Tim Groseclose
    C

    Hah!  Yeah, I admit, I never feel too comfortable disputing George Will. 

    But here’s my main reason:  For my book, Left Turn, I estimated Political Quotients for all members of Congress.  Gingrich’s PQ was 11.4.  (Ardent conservatives, like Jim DeMint or Michele Bachmann, are near 0.  Ardent liberals, like Nancy Pelosi or Barney Frank, are near 100.)  Gingrich is significantly more conservative than RINOs like Arlen Specter (whose PQ was 51 when he was a Republican, 67 as a Democrat).  And he’s a step more conservative than Jack Kemp (PQ=20).

    Meanwhile, I lived in Massachusetts when Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for Senate.  To me, he sounded a lot like Rick Lazio, who has a PQ of 35.  He definitely seemed more liberal than an 11 PQ.  In fact, I don’t think anyone with an 11 PQ can even think about trying to win a statewide election in Massachusetts.

    Romney seems to have moved slightly rightward since he ran against Kennedy, but not that much.

    (Please visit timgroseclose.com to see PQs of other politicians or to compute your own PQ.)

  2. David Limbaugh
    C

    There you go again, Peter, trying to stir the pot :-). My question to you is: do you agree with George Will’s scathing condemnation of Newt, with his opinion that Rick Perry’s poor debate skills don’t mean he would be a poor leader, both, or neither?

  3. EJHill

    In traditional American conservatism, often the best course of action is inaction. Will sees the former speaker as a man of ideas and action and, therefore, dangerous to the well being of the Republic.

    But how does one undo the damage of 70 years of almost unchecked liberalism without doing something?

  4. David Limbaugh
    C
    EJHill: In traditional American conservatism, often the best course of action is inaction. Will sees the former speaker as a man of ideas and action and, therefore, dangerous to the well being of the Republic.

    But how does one undo the damage of 70 years of almost unchecked liberalism without doing something? · Dec 5 at 12:31pm

    That is an interesting and valid point. To paraphrase Barack Obama, it took us 70 years to get into this mess, but we can’t afford to take 70 years to get out of it. That said, I think students of political conservatism would agree that it is not action they oppose, but radical action. But no conservative would have a problem with radical action if it were the only way to preserve the founding principles and if the longer we postpone remedial action, the less prospect we have of doing this in a careful, orderly, traditionally conservative way imho.

     

  5. Michael Tee

    Dr. Groseclose, Nixon has a PQ rating of 15? The guy who started the EPA, OSHA, price controls, 10% import surcharge, and ended the Bretton Woods system of exchange?

  6. Albert Arthur

     Not to impugn Will’s motives in anyway, but doesn’t his wife work for the Perry Campaign?

    David Limbaugh: There you go again, Peter, trying to stir the pot :-). My question to you is: do you agree with George Will’s scathing condemnation of Newt, with his opinion that Rick Perry’s poor debate skills don’t mean he would be a poor leader, both, or neither? · Dec 5 at 12:29pm

  7. Jonathan Cast
    Michael Tee: Dr. Groseclose, Nixon has a PQ rating of 15? The guy who started the EPA, OSHA, price controls, 10% import surcharge, and ended the Bretton Woods system of exchange? · Dec 5 at 12:37pm

    NB: your last item is a conservative, free market measure (it’s the opposite of imposing price controls).

  8. Edward Dentzel

    I used to think George Will should stick to politics and stay away from baseball. Now, I think he should stick to baseball and stay away from politics. Only a guy who uses the Beltway to hold up his pants could say Romney is more conservative than Gingrich. However, I am inclined to believe there is more going on here than just politics. What I hear in Will’s comments–and Tom Coburn’s recent comments about Gingrich now that I think about it–is personal animosity and not an actual difference of opinion on political issues. More to the point, it’s as if both of these guys, Will and Coburn, are high school basketball stars and they’ve just found out another player–Gingrich, who is better than both of them, is transferring in. I have no doubt Newt has rubbed a lot of people wrong in the past and will continue to do so, President or not. That is kind of who Newt is I think. But these guys should keep their personal grudges behind the scenes and not so obvious for everyone to see. It helps no one but the liberals and Democrats. 

  9. David Limbaugh
    C
    Albert Arthur:  Not to impugn Will’s motives in anyway, but doesn’t his wife work for the Perry Campaign? · Dec 5 at 12:42pm

    David Limbaugh: There you go again, Peter, trying to stir the pot :-). My question to you is: do you agree with George Will’s scathing condemnation of Newt, with his opinion that Rick Perry’s poor debate skills don’t mean he would be a poor leader, both, or neither? · Dec 5 at 12:29pm

    Yes, he admitted as much in his column.

  10. The King Prawn
    Albert Arthur:  Not to impugn Will’s motives in anyway, but doesn’t his wife work for the Perry Campaign? · Dec 5 at 12:42pm

    David Limbaugh: There you go again, Peter, trying to stir the pot :-). My question to you is: do you agree with George Will’s scathing condemnation of Newt, with his opinion that Rick Perry’s poor debate skills don’t mean he would be a poor leader, both, or neither? · Dec 5 at 12:29pm

    He disclosed that in the beginning of the article. If you read to the end he comes off as a big Huntsman supporter. Maybe he just likes the furrowed brow look.

  11. EJHill
    GOVICIDE: However, I am inclined to believe there is more going on here than just politics.

    When I hear legislators complain about their leadership it usually means that the leader is acting like a superior in what is supposed to be a den of equals. If that’s the case here that would be a good thing. Perhaps Newt’s temperament is actually more suited to the executive than the legislative.

  12. Nathaniel Wright

    One thing that struck me during the recent “Huckabee Interviews” was a statement made by Newt about creating a national system of Pell Grants for K-12 students.  I thought the idea was to get the federal government out of the education business entirely, not find a way to pay administrators to transfer funds from tax payers to the fed to states and then to parents.  The layers of bureaucracy in that proposal alone hinted how Gingrich is an engineer who believes that the federal government can and should play some role in the transfer of funds for local activities.

  13. Nathaniel Wright

    Don’t even get me going on the Environmental “Solutions” Agency that would replace the EPA.  Solutions?  From government?  Puh Leeze.

  14. Garrett Petersen
    Michael Tee: Dr. Groseclose, Nixon has a PQ rating of 15? The guy who started the EPA, OSHA, price controls, 10% import surcharge, and ended the Bretton Woods system of exchange? · Dec 5 at 12:37pm

    PQs are indexed to votes in the house and the senate.  Apparently Nixon voted right in congress, and swung left for his presidency.

  15. EJHill
    Nathaniel Wright: I thought the idea was to get the federal government out of the education business entirely, not find a way to pay administrators to transfer funds from tax payers to the fed to states and then to parents.  

    But K-12 Pell would create education customers. Then the non-Pell parents would demand the same right to send their kids to the school of their choice. Then we get what we want.

    Liberals are happy with incrementalism. That’s why they advance towards their goals and we do not. The perfect is always the enemy of the good. That’s why they call us the party of stupid.

  16. David Williamson

    “One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi said. “When the time is right. … I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

    So says Newt’s former sofa buddy. I am glad to see him firing back – that’s what I like about him, rather than his precise conservative score.

    Also, I believe Newt’s hair is real – not so sure about Mr Will’s.

  17. Duane Oyen
    EJHill….

    When I hear legislators complain about their leadership it usually means that the leader is acting like a superior in what is supposed to be a den of equals. If that’s the case here that would be a good thing. Perhaps Newt’s temperament is actually more suited to the executive than the legislative. · Dec 5 at 12:52pm

    Boy, I don’t trust Newt as an executive.  His major decision running his company was to sign on in support of Freddie.

    This all boils down to the question of whom do you trust to do what most needs to be done.  Both Romney and Gingrich are saying the same stuff these days- toughen up in foreign policy, balance the budget, kill ObamaCare, appoint good judges.  Both have gotten “religion” following prior expressed views that were less stalwart Right.

    Krauthammer has it about right- does anyone really believe that either one would not see the budget and spending as the primary problem, and dive in to stop the madness?

    I think that Romney has a better chance to win, but either one would do the top three things we most need to see happen.

  18. Tim Groseclose
    C
    Michael Tee: Dr. Groseclose, Nixon has a PQ rating of 15? The guy who started the EPA, OSHA, price controls, 10% import surcharge, and ended the Bretton Woods system of exchange? · Dec 5 at 12:37pm

    Actually, 12.5.  But it’s based only on his years as a House member and senator.  I agree, he became more liberal once he became president.

  19. Ben Domenech
    C

    I would say that the sin against conservatism and libertarianism of both Gingrich and Romney is that they approve of better, more efficient, smarter government. In Gingrich’s case, he would add “smaller” to this list. But as we all know, such moves are only temporary and inevitably return to patterns of unending growth. Neither seems interested in “root and branch” approaches to reform, and their entitlement reforms (excepting Social Security) are nearly identical and identically boring.

  20. Freeven
    Ben Domenech: I would say that the sin against conservatism and libertarianism of both Gingrich and Romney is that they approve of better, more efficient, smarter government. In Gingrich’s case, he would add “smaller” to this list. But as we all know, such moves are only temporary and inevitably return to patterns of unending growth. Neither seems interested in “root and branch” approaches to reform, and their entitlement reforms (excepting Social Security) are nearly identical and identically boring. · Dec 5 at 3:08pm

    This is one reason why I’m taking another long look at Perry. He doesn’t just want to retard growth and eliminate waste. He’s looking to eliminate things. Anything short of that is simply circling the drain.