While I make no bones about my opposition to Newt Gingrich, the unprecedented animosity (in the form of the nastiest possible mutual negative campaigning) between him and Mitt Romney is causing two things to happen among Republicans:

1. Gingrich’s supporters are hating Romney more than ever.

2. Romney’s supporters are hating Gingrich more than ever.

And among the general public (including non-voting Republicans, disgruntled Democrats, independents, apoliticals, libertarians and other swing voter types) two other things are happening.

1. Gingrich looks increasingly worse.

2. Romney looks increasingly worse.

This is because negative campaigning has a double effect. Even if the mud that is hurled happens to be truthful and sticks, the one who threw it looks bad for having thrown it. The process is unattractive to voters. And when both candidates are hurling mud, both are inevitably going to look doubly worse. (I hate it when these things  come down to simple math.)

Not that I can do anything about it, but just look at today’s Drudge headlines:

BUCHANAN: Reagan White House saw Newt 'political opportunist... not trusted'...
HUNT: Gingrich May Be Trying to Win One From the Gipper...
PALIN: 'Annoy A Liberal. Vote Newt!'
George Will: 'We're At The Horrid Stage'...
Gingrich: Romney 'Breathtakingly Dishonest'...
'Pro-abortion, pro gun-control, pro tax-increase'...
PREDICTS 5 MORE MONTHS OF THIS...
Hints Santorum should get out...
Romney Mocks Gingrich: 'Look in the mirror'...
POLLS, POLLS, POLLS...

Yeah, I know. Drudge is supposed to be pro-Romney. But that really isn’t the point here. I’m not pro-Romney, but I am anti-Newt, and this whole thing is starting to annoy the hell out of me. Which it shouldn’t, because as a political junkie with a blog I’m supposed to be fascinated, even entertained, by such things. I guess the reason I’m annoyed is because I see this as playing right into the hands of Obama and the Democrats. No matter who “wins” the GOP primary, today’s Republican mud will be tomorrow’s Democrat advertising. Guaranteed.

And it really won’t matter whether Romney comes “closer” to beating Obama, because close isn’t enough.

Again, more headlines:

Obama 47% Romney 48%
Obama 50% Paul 43%
Obama 51% Santorum 44%
Obama 54% Gingrich 40%

You seeing a solid winner there? I’m not. Obama has barely started his campaign, but he made sure to start it right here and target the youth vote. Most Republicans just write the youth vote off, as if they don’t really count (which is a hell of a way to plan a future strategy….)

I’m reminded of the woman who asked me rhetorically,

When will the GOP get its act together?

I had no answer, and I still have no answer. The other day I was thinking along similar lines:

Republicans (at least, the majority of those voting in the primaries) don’t want to win. Winning is secondary; they would rather be “right.” A pitiful irony, really, because Obama could be defeated by the “right” candidate.

I thought I was being negative, and then I saw that Roger Kimball had put it even more bluntly (in a post aptly titled “The Suicide Club”):

Time is running out. The spectacle of mutually assured destruction that we’ve been treated to under the name of the Republican primary has offered some entertaining, if unedifying, moments. Entertaining moments do not win elections. Principled conservatism does. Any takers?

I had suggested this:

You’d think the GOP could come up with a single generic Republican. Perhaps an avuncular war hero of some sort could be drafted.

The problem is that even if such a person existed, he would be devoured by Republican cannibals.

A pity, because they will in turn be devoured by the economic cannibalism which will be sure to accompany Obama’s second term.

Obama’s second term.

Got that?

Better get used to it unless something changes fast.