Romney blasted Gingrich as an erratic politician who has switched positions [Editor: like supporting universal health care when a governor then condemning it when running for president?] "almost like a pinball machine," in a toughening of his rhetoric to try to halt his chief rival's surprising momentum.
Seeking to regain his footing after losing Saturday's South Carolina primary badly to Gingrich, Romney challenged the former speaker of the House of Representatives to return the $1.6 million in consulting fees he made from Freddie Mac and detail the work he performed for the troubled mortgage giant.
It looked to be a tit-for-tat "disclosure" demand on Romney's part after Gingrich effectively attacked him last week for not releasing his tax returns. Romney, who is worth some $270 million, will disclose two years of returns on Tuesday. [Emphasis added.]
Since, as I noted at Chuck’s blog, politics is nothing more than the seduction of a nation, it stands to reason that voters will gravitate to highest status male. Right now, the highest-status male is Newt Gingrich, and this is evidenced by how Romney plays right into his frame. Newt demanded Mitt’s tax returns, which Mitt complied with, and now Mitt strikes back in an identical matter. If Mitt were actually high-status, he would have dismissed Newt’s charges instead of complying with them or upped the ante. Instead, Mitt complied with Newt’s frame, and his response was basically repeating Newt’s charge back to him. Thus, he now appears to be Newt’s inferior in two ways: he complied with Newt’s request, and ended up stealing Newt’s idea instead of coming up with something original.
As such, voters will now be strongly inclined to favor Newt over Mitt, even there are no practical differences between their policies on the matters that are most important. Though most conservatives/Republicans will try to rationalize their decision to support Newt over Mitt in political terms, the main reason why conservatives/Republicans support Newt is because he is higher status than Romney.