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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When Bill Clinton praised Newt Gingrich recently as the “thinking” Republican candidate, he wasn’t merely trying to plant the kiss of death on his old nemesis. No doubt the former president’s praise for the former Speaker was sincere, although he also noted that the intellectual bar in the Republican field for this cycle is extraordinarily low.

But as Gingrich surely understands, what Clinton respects is what Republican voters angrily reject: that is, a politician sufficiently thoughtful to have endorsed not only the individual health insurance mandate — as Gingrich did a few years ago — but to have promoted several other fundamental elements of the Obama health reform that he now loudly condemns. His demagogic attacks on Obamacare are bogus, of course, but the problem goes much deeper than mere hypocrisy.

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