On the Horse Race
Recently I had the opportunity to comment on an editorial which discussed the possibility of Newt’s ascendancy, and possible threat to Romney’s inevitable primary victory. Since then, I am happy to say that at least one thing I have predicted is starting to happen: Romney is starting to feel the need to talk about Gingrich.
Anyway, here’s the commentary, taken from my feed at Google +
In response to this Editorial blog post by Josh Marshall, at the Talking Points Memo blog, where he asserts that Gingrich is somehow different than the other “Non-Romney’s” that have graced us with their presence this season of the ridiculous, I wrote:
Problem with this analysis is that Mitt has the Money and Newt doesn’t. [ed. See, for example, the fundraising totals for key battleground states from USA Today or his lack of fundraising by September]The GOP has (up until like 2000) a history of nominating the person whose “turn” it was. Goldwater, a completely unelectable fanatic ran against Johnson in 64. Nixon ran in 68, Regan ran in 80, then it was finally GHW Bush, and then Bob Dole. W sort of broke that cycle, because the GOP had become a party of religious fanatics by that time. They tied to get back on track in 08, but the party was far too split to match the ascendancy that was Obama. In a way, the silent majority by this time was firmly in the “This is stupid” camp that later coalesced into an anti-Democrat TEA Party, and McCain lost.Well, now it’s sort of old Newt’s turn. He’s been at it since the 1970’s, and everyone and his brother knows who the former Speaker of the House is (never mind that Congressmen rarely become presidents in this country…) So if anything is surprising, it shouldn’t be that he’s making a move on Romney’s lead, but that he didn’t have it in the first place.
Not too long ago, everyone wrote Gingrich’s campaign off as dead (same as McCain about this time in the last cycle, by the way…) And now all of a sudden he is a viable candidate? Well, let’s play: suppose he does knock Romney out in the early contests. What then? He doesn’t have the money to go much further, and it’s not like he (or any Republican, for that matter) is anywhere close to where Obama is (without a challenger.) If Romney is out of the early contests, this opens the door for Perry who can buy a “Yankee” like organization if he is ever so inclined, and then its a contest between Newt and Perry, with Newt, standing next to Perry, sounding more like a (liberal) elitist who actually speaks as though he has attained a 10th grade education. Which is, say it with me, the exact type of person that the GOP base voter hates, fears and resents.
If Newt plays seriously early, then the primary season is going to be LONG for the GOP, and it may actually come down to a compromise at the convention. Electability won’t be an issue then: the issue will be nominatability. (Hypothetically, then, enter the fanatics following the opportunist Palin and the true believer Bachmann to mess everything up and guarantee Obama an unearned win in November.)
Look: we can tell where these people are right now. Romney is running ads against Obama, and Obama is running ads against Romney. When Romney switches to ads against Gingrich, [ed. it appears that he is beginning to do this now, because, perhaps he, or his campaign read my post on Google +, I don’t know…) then we know that Gingrich is a threat. When Obama stops running ads against a particular person then we know that Gingrich is a threat. Until then, we should assume the status quo, which is: the non-Romney flares out after between two and four weeks, either because he puts his foot in his/her mouth, or some scandal takes them too far off message, despite their attempts to force the media cycle back onto their message. [ed. it is not too late for this to still happen, by the way. The campaign and the media is already starting to paint Newt as “arrogant”, with all his claims about inventing supply side economics and defeating communism in the 80’s.]
What it boils down to is that the fanatics want someone other than a Mormon, former governor of Massachusetts, and the moderates in the Party (which the media portrays as non-existent, but I know different) are bent on not letting the fanatics get their way. Which is why it appears that there is turbulence in the primaries. Used to be this matter was settled by the voters, and despite the efforts of our corporate media to convince us that this has all changed, I suspect this year will be no different. The fanatics get to vote first, but then the moderates get a say as we get closer to the convention, and usually the lunatic fringe is overruled. This may be Newt’s only chance, but I don’t think he’ll last that long, given my very first point. He doesn’t have any money. (relatively speaking of course. He has WAY more money than me, but then again I am not trying to build a nationwide movement capable of aggregating the opinions of sixty million people into a single vote for me.)