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

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?

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Members have made 52 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Tim Groseclose Contributor

    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.)

    • #1
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:25 am
  2. Profile photo of David Limbaugh Contributor

    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?

    • #2
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:29 am
  3. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    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?

    • #3
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:31 am
  4. Profile photo of David Limbaugh Contributor
    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.

     

    • #4
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:36 am
  5. Profile photo of Michael Tee Inactive

    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?

    • #5
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:37 am
  6. Profile photo of Albert Arthur Coolidge

     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
    • #6
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:42 am
  7. Profile photo of Jonathan Cast Inactive
    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).

    • #7
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:44 am
  8. Profile photo of edwarddentzel.com Inactive

    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. 

    • #8
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:46 am
  9. Profile photo of David Limbaugh Contributor
    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.

    • #9
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:48 am
  10. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member
    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.

    • #10
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:50 am
  11. Profile photo of EJHill Member
    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.

    • #11
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:52 am
  12. Profile photo of Nathaniel Wright Inactive

    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.

    • #12
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:53 am
  13. Profile photo of Nathaniel Wright Inactive

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

    • #13
    • December 6, 2011 at 1:54 am
  14. Profile photo of Garrett Petersen Inactive
    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.

    • #14
    • December 6, 2011 at 2:01 am
  15. Profile photo of EJHill Member
    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.

    • #15
    • December 6, 2011 at 2:01 am
  16. Profile photo of David Williamson Member

    “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.

    • #16
    • December 6, 2011 at 2:14 am
  17. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member
    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.

    • #17
    • December 6, 2011 at 2:20 am
  18. Profile photo of Tim Groseclose Contributor
    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.

    • #18
    • December 6, 2011 at 2:55 am
  19. Profile photo of Ben Domenech Inactive

    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.

    • #19
    • December 6, 2011 at 4:08 am
  20. Profile photo of Freeven Member
    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.

    • #20
    • December 6, 2011 at 4:52 am
  21. Profile photo of Kofola Member
    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

    From the standpoint of policy support Gingrich and Romney’s histories seems much too alike. If we concede to narrowing the race down to between these two, we’ve more or less acquiesced to nominating a managerial technocrat and are left to argue simply about preference over style. I think it’s in the best interest of conservatives to give serious consideration to a third candidate to diversify things a bit. I think Perry’s the most reasonable remaining alternative, so I’m pushing  for people to give Perry a serious second look. Has he really been so bad that we’re all willing to forget why he was considered a viable option upon entering the race?

    • #21
    • December 6, 2011 at 5:05 am
  22. Profile photo of Larry Koler Member
    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. · Dec 5 at 3:52pm

    Freeven, I would love to see things of this elimination sort circle the drain because things circling drains are just about to drop out of sight. Oh, if only.

    And Ben, you must be reading Paul Rahe so why not use his insult: “managerial progressives” for these guys? 

    The thing is Gingrich has actually done conservative things even though he might talk about a lot of things. Don’t get confused.

    • #22
    • December 6, 2011 at 5:19 am
  23. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    David Limbaugh: There you go again, Peter, trying to stir the pot :-). 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

    Me?  Stirring the pot?  Why, David, coming from you, one of the most accomplished pot-stirrers I know, I’ll take that’s a compliment.  But to your questions:

    1.  Do I agree with George Will’s scathing condemnation of Newt?  No.  I still need to study up on Newt before deciding whether he’s my candidate, but Will’s shrillness was completely over the top.  Newt was the architect of the first Republican House in four decades, of welfare reform, and of farm legislation that (until George W. Bush got to it) was slowly weaning American agriculture from federal subsidies.  Whatever his present standing, Newt represents a historic figure in the conservative movement.

    2.  On Perry, though, I agree with Will.  Presidents don’t need debating skills.  They need the skills of chief executives, which Perry seems to possess.

    David, what say we get together on a podcast soon to hash this out?

    • #23
    • December 6, 2011 at 5:53 am
  24. Profile photo of James Of England Moderator
    Barfly

    GHWB was arguably smarter than Mitt, and W was more conservative. I’ve heard a lot of hesitation about Newt’s crazy ideas, but can’t think of any such that he pushed as more than a speculation or conversation starter, while out of office at that. Give us a case in point?

    Admitted, he’s a risk, but the risk is more that he’ll alienate people and not get anything done. The Romney risk is that he’ll ideologically favor tweaking ObamaRomneyCare around the edges, and not try any bold conservative steps at all – Mitt doesn’t have his heart in it. · 

    Newt was fairly effectively moderated by Delay and Armey, who achieved more of Newt’s positive record than Newt. President, and Candidate Newt would be the unmuzzled version.

    Compare W’s 2000 platform with Mitt’s. I’m pretty sure you’ll find Mitt’s more conservative. No big new spending outside defense, no big expansions of government. Just lots of cutting spending, deregulating, and labor bashing.

    Mitt has his heart in cutting spending. It’s what he’s done all his life, passionately. Even Prof. Rahe gives him credit for that.

    • #24
    • December 6, 2011 at 5:56 am
  25. Profile photo of Scott R Member

     Will’s concerns are more with Newt’s history of lacking big-idea impulse control, I think. Newt’s lack of a small-c conservative temperament — his manic nature, if you will – makes him susceptible to abandoning big-c Conservative principles in spasms of enthusiasm for faddish grand ideas.

    Ironically, that same manic nature could also be his biggest asset — so long as it’s channeled in the right direction. 

    • #25
    • December 6, 2011 at 6:25 am
  26. Profile photo of Michael Tee Inactive
    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). · Dec 5 at 12:44pm

    Not on my planet. Every libertarian I know would like to go back to Gold Standard.

    • #26
    • December 6, 2011 at 6:33 am
  27. Profile photo of Scott R Member
    James Of England
    · 

    Compare W’s 2000 platform with Mitt’s. I’m pretty sure you’ll find Mitt’s more conservative. No big new spending outside defense, no big expansions of government. Just lots of cutting spending, deregulating, and labor bashing.

    Mitt has his heart in cutting spending. It’s what he’s done all his life, passionately. Even Prof. Rahe gives him credit for that. · Dec 6 at 4:56am

    The reason that, perhaps, we needn’t be overly stressed about any of our guys going all “progressive” on us once in there is simply because, well, we’re broke. Fiscal math, even more so than electoral math, now demands conservativism, whether Mitt, or Newt, or whoever, likes it or not.

    Put another way, we’ve arrived at the point where it’s manifestly true that “the facts of life are conservative”, for all but our most liberal friends.

    • #27
    • December 6, 2011 at 6:41 am
  28. Profile photo of David Limbaugh Contributor
    Peter Robinson

      Will’s shrillness was completely over the top.  Newt was the architect of the first Republican House in four decades, of welfare reform, and of farm legislation that (until George W. Bush got to it) was slowly weaning American agriculture from federal subsidies.  Whatever his present standing, Newt represents a historic figure in the conservative movement

    2.  On Perry, though, I agree with Will.  Presidents don’t need debating skills.  

    David, what say we get together on a podcast soon to hash this out? · 

    Peter: I agree with both of your points, and had made the same point re good debate skills not being a condition precedent to presidential qualifications, though he did so poorly he caused much doubt. That should be explored. I also thought Will made some good points, but his criticism WAS over the top and it sounded personal, just as when he mocked the notion that Newt is a historian on TV a few weeks ago. I think Scott Reusser in the post following yours makes some good points about Newt.

    And, yes, I accept your invitation to join the Podcast; just let me know.

    • #28
    • December 6, 2011 at 6:43 am
  29. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Member

    Romney would also be the smartest Republican nominee since Nixon,

    The two smartest have been Carter and Nixon. Be forewarned.

    • #29
    • December 6, 2011 at 6:44 am
  30. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member
    Duane Oyen

    This all boils down to the question of whom do you trust to do what most needs to be done. 

    A month ago, I pegged Newt as someone driven by principles but not always the right principles. He seemed like the ultimate grab bag. He’s against federal intrusion in some aspects of our lives and in favor of it in others. But Gingrich could at least, I thought, be counted on to act on his beliefs and consider issues deeply enough to not be derailed by liberals.

    Today, I simply can’t trust Newt. What I have read about his work for Freddie Mac suggests he was actively working against conservative ideals in a way he himself has decried. He set his own advocated principles aside for money and prestige.

    If I’m going to gamble that any candidate might do the right thing for the wrong reason (securing one’s place in history — ego), I would rather gamble on Perry.

    The candidate I trust is most committed to stopping federal expansion is Ron Paul. He’s willing. But is he able? He doesn’t seem very influential as a legislator.

    • #30
    • December 6, 2011 at 6:49 am
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