Does President Barack Obama get a vote in the Republican primary? Apparently, he wants one. His campaign organization has targeted Mitt Romney for negative ads, a sure sign that he would rather run against Newt than against Mitt.
He may not be right. His political judgment is, after all, flawed. But he likely sees the race in ideological terms — as he sees the world — and would rather run against a strong conservative like Newt than someone with moderate credentials like Romney.
How do we know? Obama is now running ads, through the Democratic Party, in Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin attacking Romney for changing his position on abortion. The ad begins with an announcer saying, in ominous tones, that he is about to describe the drama of “two men inhabiting one body.” No, he is not talking about Sybil, the multiple personality disorder. He is attacking Romney for once having been pro choice and now being pro life. Apparently Obama does not understand that Mitt — like Reagan, Nixon, and Bush-41 before him, have abandoned their pro choice positions as they came to know more about the issue and embraced a pro life posture.
But where are the ads attacking Gingrich? There aren’t any. It is unprecedented for a Democratic candidate to take sides in a Republican presidential primary. But Obama is doing it. He is scared to death of Romney. All of the things which make his nomination more problematic among conservatives, strengthen his credentials to defeat Obama in November. His former pro choice posture, his embrace of gay civil unions (but not marriage), and his sponsorship of Romneycare in Massachusetts — despite its obvious differences from Obama’s program — make him more acceptable to independents. So Obama is determined to vote in the Republican Primary for Newt.
Bill Clinton, doubtless following the same instincts, says positive things about Gingrich. The Democrats want to defeat Romney.
But they may be wrong. Newt is the better debate and would, doubtless, destroy Obama in a face to face confrontation. And Newt’s creative thinking and original ideas might well appeal to an electorate used to sound bites that mean nothing and lead nowhere.
Whether Obama and his strategists are right or wrong to root for Newt to win the Republican primary, we conservatives must deny them a vote in our contest. We should note their position and take it into account in our own votes. But don’t let Obama tell us who to nominate.