Breaching the commandment

    Ronald Reagan, who always urged his party brethren to honor his 11th Commandment (“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”), must be spinning in his grave today.The traditionally genteel and orderly Republican intramurals appear to have gone the way of the compact disc. What we’re seeing at the moment is something akin to the chaotic scene early in Godfather II, when gunslingers from multiple gangs pump bullets at each other on a New York City street corner. It was tough to follow the action, much less tally the wounded – but the current (and unprecedented) Republican crossfire is even tougher to track. Nevertheless, let us try:Jon Huntsman says that Mitt Romney is a corporate toady who’s “in the hip pocket of Wall Street” and who would thus be nothing more than “a status quo president.”Romney says that Newt Gingrich is an inside-the-Beltway lifer who “has spent the last 30 or 40 years in Washington.” He also says Gingrich is a phony conservative (“I’ve watched other people on the stage, when they talk about their cap-and-trade policies, they say, ‘Oh, that was a mistake,’ when someone says, ‘Oh, I did this ad on global warming, that was a mistake.’ So they just dust it aside.”)Gingrich says that Michelle Bachmann literally doesn’t knows what she’s talking about: “When I was a teacher I occasionally had a student who couldn’t figure out where things were or what things were or what the right date was. When that happens, you feel sorry that they are so factually challenged…Voters will be pretty good over time in distinguishing between people who know facts and people who don’t know facts.”Bachmann says that Herman Cain should quit the race because “his support has really dropped out.”Huntsman says that Cain is debasing the race with his latest “bimbo eruption.”Cain, who last month insisted that Rick Perry’s team was orchestrating the sexual harassment allegations, now says that the Ginger White sex affair allegations are part of a plot to elevate Gingrich, despite Gingrich’s own problematical “personal life.”Ron Paul says, in a brutal new video ad spanning two and a half minutes, that Gingrich is a devious flip-flopper who’s guilty of “serial hypocrisy.”Gingrich says that Romney is a flip-flopper who’s guilty of devious serial hypocrisy: “If you run to the left of Teddy Kennedy (in 1994), it is trickier than trying to run to the right of Newt Gingrich…I wouldn’t lie to the American people. I wouldn’t switch my position for political reasons…If you go around and adopt radically different positions based on the need for any one election, people will ask, ‘What will you tell me next time?'”And lastly (for now anyway), Romney says that Fox News is being very, very mean to him. He says that Bret Baier’s tone during a Tuesday sitdown interview was “very aggressive.” He says his feelings were hurt by questions like this: “How can voters trust what they hear from you today is what you will believe if you win the White House?”Oh, the inhumanity! Apparently Baier had the temerity to craft that particular question after looking at Romney’s blatant gyrations on stuff like gay rights, immigration, global warming and abortion. (For instance, Romney says he’s anti-abortion now, whereas in 1994, while bidding for the Senate, he defended abortion rights and promised, “You will not see me wavering on that.”) What did Romney expect from Fox News, a coronation?Memo to Mitt: It’s probably not wise to whine and wax indignant about how you are treated on the GOP’s infauxtainment network – especially when most of your uptight answers are variations of “Heh. Heh. Heh heh.”All of which suggests that, among all the current intramural Republican skirmishes, perhaps the most important is the ongoing shootout between old Romney and new Romney. When Ronald Reagan invoked his 11th Commandment, he probably never anticipated a scenario in which a frontrunner would essentially speak ill of his former self. Or former selves. While denying he needs to do any such thing.——-Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

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