Gingrich’s response to Romney’s suggestion he should return the $1.6 million he earned from Freddie Mac is revealing, as George Will notes. It’s distressing because Gingrich has a disturbing habit of making off-the-cuff comments that reveal a lack of appreciation (if not outright hostility) for free enterprise.
This departure from his pledge that his campaign “will be relentlessly positive” represents the virtue of recycling applied to politics. Gingrich is reusing the attack honed by Ted Kennedy in 1994, when Romney suffered a 17-point loss in attempting to take Kennedy’s Senate seat.
The Kennedy-Gingrich doctrine is this: What the economist Joseph Schumpeter called capitalism’s “creative destruction” is not really creative. Rather, it is lamentable and, when facilitated by capitalists, reprehensible. For Kennedy, this made sense: Reactionary liberalism holds that whatever is, from Social Security to farm subsidies to the Chrysler Corp., should forever be. But Gingrich is supposedly our infallible guide to the sunny uplands of a dynamic future.
Comments like this suggest Gingrich is either an opportunist, or (more likely) more of a technocratic futurist (recall his fascination with the Tofflers) than a genuine believer in free enterprise.