(The following is a guest essay, sent to me by a friend whose pen name is “Liberty Guardian.”)

Which contemporary political figure claims to be a Teddy Roosevelt Progressive, extols FDR as the best 20th century President, and lavishes praise on SEIU leader Andy Stearns? Who sat down on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to help with her global warming/climate change agenda? Who was promoting the individual mandate for national health care insurance before Obamacare was even named? Who cautioned that Paul Ryan’s “far right solution” to our economic problems was no better than those of the far left? Who has recently flip-flopped on abortion within the span of one day and has proposed amnesty for illegal aliens within the last month?

Good answers to the above questions might be Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden. But the correct answer is much closer to home and much more shocking. It is the GOP’s new fair-haired boy and the current flavor of the month: Newt Gingrich!

Newt Gingrich: the Iowa Tea Party darling who has just won their most recent straw poll! Newt Gingrich: the knight in shining GOP armor who will crush Obama in Presidential debates! Newt Gingrich: whose brilliant analysis and panoply of ideas overwhelms the competition!

I hear what Conservative/TP callers are saying about Newt on the talk shows:

“I can’t wait for Newt to get a crack at Obama in the Presidential debates!”

“Wow! He really dressed down that debate questioner!”

“Gee! He is an awesome thinker!”

If that’s all that mattered in the upcoming GOP nomination and Presidential election and the four years of leading our country that followed, Newt might be just fine. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more that we need to consider. Mark Steyn said on the Bill Bennett show recently that we should just all show up at the primaries and vote our consciences and everything will turn out dandy. Sorry, Mark, but I couldn’t disagree more.

For me, there is one overriding goal of the 2012 elections. It is to stop Obama and his totalitarian, Marxist, run-away Federal freight train before it derails us all. When I show up at the poles, I’m going to be asking one question: Which of these candidates can beat Obama in the general election? If there is only one, I’m voting for that one regardless of my personal preferences because nothing is as important as stopping Obama in 2012.

The good news for me is that all of the GOP candidates live on a different political planet from our current President. Any one of them would be such a vast improvement that I would be dancing in the streets for any one of them who defeated this Democratic regime which is trying so hard to enslave and destroy us. The bad news is that many of our candidates have little chance of winning the general election against a skilled and well-funded Democratic incumbent constantly campaigning for his re-election amidst his message of hope, change, government hand-outs, class warfare, and fundamental transformation of our country.

There is only one candidate who consistently has poll numbers that are competitive with Obama’s. That is Mitt Romney. If I had to vote tomorrow, I would vote for him because he is the only one who satisfies my goal for the 2012 elections. He is the only one who gives evidence of being able to beat Obama. For me, then, the choice is simple.
Is Mitt my personal preference? No. Is he closest to Tea Party values? No. Will he do everything I want as President? No. Yet, he is our only candidate who looks electable at this time. In every credible national poll, he is ahead or behind by a few points but always within the statistical margin of error. No other candidate can make that claim. Recently, I heard that Mitt was polling ahead of Obama in all 12 battleground states by a whopping +5 (Obama won all of those states in the last election). Now, that’s impressive!

What about Newt? The last poll that I saw had him losing to Obama by double digits. That’s really all I need to know about Newt. But, let’s go further. Let’s examine the debate strengths that he has exhibited. Let’s assume that Newt creams Obama in the debates in terms of points and policy. Obama is still going to come off as a really nice family guy who’s just trying to do his best to look out for the little guy and the minorities and the women and the LGBT and the illegals and the unions. Newt is going to come off as an unlikable, arrogant, smarty-pants elitist. Newt will win the battle and lose the war.

Another argument for Newt is that he will generate a plethora of brilliant ideas. I’m sure he will. The problem is, when Newt is good, he is very, very good but, when he is bad, he is awful! So we don’t know if we’re going to get his brilliant Contract with America or his repugnant couch promotion with Nancy Pelosi. This is aggravated by the fact that Newt knows he is a superior intellect which tends to insulate him more than would be wise. He is too confident that the wisdom of his own counsel is sufficient. He would do better to first bounce his ideas off trusted advisors rather than to proclaim them unvetted to the world. This forces him to issue apologies and retractions much more than one would like and leaves him often with a disconcerting amount of egg on his face.

I have friends who say you can’t trust the polls. OK. Then let’s look at other factors such as fund raising and organization. Newt’s staff has already abandoned him once. My understanding is that he lags far behind Romney in both funds and organization. We know that money greases the wheels of politics and that the price of winning the Presidency may be as high as a billion dollars. If you don’t have the money, you had best have the most boots on the ground. It appears that Newt is lacking not only in poll numbers but also in money and troops as well.

Given all this, Newt would probably serve us better as a cabinet member where we could take advantage of his good ideas without being prisoners to his bad ones and where he could serve as a spokesperson for the President when called upon. As such, we receive the benefits of his virtues without suffering the consequences of his vices. But, as far as choosing him as my Presidential candidate at this time, I say no Newt is good Newt!