Of all the GOP presidential candidates, David Brooks says, Newt Gingrich is the one whose general “big government conservatism” worldview is most like his own. So why does Brooks believe that a Gingrich nomination would “severely damage conservatism and the Republican Party”? Mostly because of his deficient temperament and character. Excerpt:
As Yuval Levin noted in a post for National Review, the two Republican front-runners, Gingrich and Mitt Romney are both “very wonky Rockefeller Republicans who moved to the right over time as their party moved right.”
But they have very different temperaments. Romney, Levin observes, has an executive temperament — organization, discipline, calm and restraint. Gingrich has a revolutionary temperament — intensity, energy, disorganization and a tendency to see everything as a cataclysmic clash requiring a radical response.
I’d make a slightly similar point more rudely. In the two main Republican contenders, we have one man, Romney, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1950s, and another, Gingrich, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1960s. He has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form.