In an ominous sign for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, the National Review called on him to withdraw from the race and endorse rival Rick Santorum. In an editorial published on its website on Monday, the influential conservative magazine reiterated its earlier assessment of Gingrich as an unsuitable candidate and said the time has come for him to get out of Santorum’s way.
“It would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee,” the editors wrote. “It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments, the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.”
The editors discussed the relative attributes of Santorum and front-runner Mitt Romney but declined to endorse either one. They did not mention Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is still in the race.
“Santorum has won more contests than Gingrich (who has won only one), has more delegates, and leads him in the polls. In at least one poll, he also leads Romney. It isn’t yet a Romney–Santorum contest, but it could be headed that way,” the editors wrote, and added this advice for Romney:
“Romney is a transactional politician rather than a charismatic one. Maybe he should make the most of it: Tell conservatives what they will get out of a Romney presidency. Entitlements brought under budgetary control. A more market-oriented health care system. Judges who know their place in the constitutional architecture. Fannie and Freddie extinguished. The defense budget protected. Tax reform, and tax relief for families. In some cases making this case will require that Romney commit to more-detailed proposals than he has thus far; in others that he will do more to emphasize things he has already said.”