TIm Carney, writing in the Washington Examiner, correctly observes that failed self-promoter Newt Gingrich was bad for free markets:
Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign — based on absurd promises, fueled by identity politics and riddled with dishonesty — accomplished little besides undermining the cause of free enterprise. It was the most damaging assault on American conservativism since the second term of George W. Bush.
Gingrich tried to change the meaning of “free enterprise,” “socialist” and “conservative” to justify his own corporate-welfare lobbying and to attack Romney’s career as a capitalist. By subverting the language, he weakened the cause of limited government and free enterprise, confusing the conservative base and the news media — and eroding the theoretical framework on which free-market arguments are made.
True, enough, of course, but hardly a problem of Gingrich’s alone — one of the challenges that libertarians face is the misuse of liberty-oriented concepts in distinctly illiberal ways. It’s critical to call out each instance of misuse, however time consuming-that may be.
Yet, it is time-consuming because it’s become so common — and common not merely to Gingrich, but to the party whose nomination he so clumsily sought.
The libertarian’s burden of setting the record straight will go on, long after Gingrich has drifted into a round of post-campaign speaking engagements and cable show appearances.