Newt?? What are YOU Doing There??
Yes, my pronunciation of Romney as the Republican Nominee may have been a little premature. I still don’t count him out. However, I have to admit, Newt Gingrich’s rise to stardom caught me by surprise.
The thing is, objectively, it makes no sense. Sure he has been doing very well in the debates and he is a very skillful and experienced politician, but beyond that, there simply isn’t any compelling reason for him to be as strong a contender as he has turned out to be. Every criticism you can make of Romney, you can make of him and he has weaknesses Romney doesn’t.
Can his rise be on the shoulders of the “Anyone but Romney” crowd? Anyone who dislikes Romney should dislike Gingrich for pretty much the same reason. Do you have a problem with Romney’s Faith? Most people who have issues with Mormonism, have similar issues with Catholicism (Catholics are the exception here, but they tend to trend Democratic and so probably aren’t a major factor here). Do you have a problem with RomneyCare? Gingrich supports it – including the individual mandate! How about flip flops on Abortion? Gingrich’s record is as spotted as Romney’s. His stance on Climate Change? Gingrich loses there too. Illegal Immigration? Romney’s stance shifted on this one – Gingrich still supports Amnesty.
Can anyone think he is more electable than Romney? Historically, there is no evidence for this. Governors are electable, Speakers of the House are not. There have only been two speakers of the house who went on to be President. Gerald Ford was never elected as either president or vice president, and James Polk, who was elected, served both as speaker of the House AND as Governor of Tennessee. And as Speakers go, Gingrich is one of the most polarizing. The only speaker I can think of who is more polarizing is Pelosi, and I doubt anyone considers her to be a likely presidential candidate any time soon. Add to that his personal and political scandals and you have a nearly insurmountable obstacle to the presidency. I’m not saying Gingrich CAN’T surmount those obstacles, I’m just saying that no one else ever has been able to.
Gingrich still may be able to secure the nomination. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that Obama is stronger or weaker in November if Romney or Gingrich is his opponent. I don’t begrudge it of him if he is able to secure it. It just greatly surprises me that he even has the chance.