Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rise & Fall, Rise & Fall: The GOP Primary

Hugh Hewitt, and others, are starting to declare that the Gingrich surge has already peaked and is losing air thanks to a brusque comment Newt made RE: Mitt Romney's previous life as an investment banker:
MSM is always behind when it comes to recognizing significant stories on the center-right.  Even now most of them are unaware that Newt's campaign is in grave danger of  bleeding out, though if they listened to talk radio or watched FNC's Special Report they would have been in the know for two days.
When on Monday Newt Gingrich attacked Mitt Romney's time at Bain, I posted the video first posted by Time's Mark Halperin (nearly alone among the MSMers in sensing it was important) and devoted my entire show to the significance of the one-minute self-immolation.  As my radio show began, so did Brett Baier's television show and during my breaks I listened in as I usually do to see what that superbly produced program is covering, and found that the shock at Gingrich's remarks had instantly struck two of conservatism's most influential television presences. I thus wove into my show the audio of the critiques that occurred simultaneously from Charles Krauthammer and Brit Hume.  All three of us and many in the audience had reacted the same way to Newt's outburst:  That wasn't a "gaffe," a 57-state $10,000 bet on naming three agencies; that was a defining moment. 
Gingrich supporters called the show to protest that it wasn't a big deal.  Even yesterday pro-Newt callers gamely tried to explain the Laws of Newtonian Rhetoric and why under them the former Speaker didn't mean what he had said.  Gingrich himself released a letter promising to stay positive and exiled an Iowa staffer who had played a Mormon card in Iowa. 
That pledge to stay high road won't save Newt's surge because the shock wasn't at taking a swing at Romney.  That's to be expected.  It is because of the substance of the attack, the adoption of class warfare rhetoric at exactly a moment when the conservative movement is sick-to-death of the OWS and the president's serial assaults on the private sector.

Could be. Many of us have been sitting around waiting for the "new Newt" to self-destruct. In the time-compressed world of 24-7 news, this one's right on time. However, Romney fans eagerly looking for the tell tale signs of Newt-mageddon might want to check their wishes at the door, as the next in line in Iowa is not Mitt, but ... Ron Paul

Ron Paul, the once-forgotten presidential candidate, is picking up steam in Iowa and now appears poised to overtake frontrunner Newt Gingrich, according to a new survey released today from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling. 
The poll finds support for Gingrich has slipped to 22%, with Ron Paul just behind with 21%. Mitt Romney trails in third place with 16%. 
That's a five-point drop in favorability for Gingrich, who has raced to the top of the Republican presidential field over the past month. PPP found Gingrich's favorability numbers have fallen 19 points over the past week.

A funny moment in the Drake University debate was when the candidates were asked what they had learned from one another. I thought everyone, especially Rick Perry, went out of their way to be verrrry nice to Congressman Paul. No doubt, that's to keep him on the reservation and off the third party trail. But, the man also has some serious king-maker potential. 

I think we can all agree that, on foreign policy, Paul is worse than a Democrat. But on economics and domestic policy? I don't think I'm alone in thinking we should have spent more time in 2008 listening to "crazy uncle Ron" who spent an inordinate amount of time warning us about the Fed, the housing bubble, and the impending financial crisis, something that Mr. Wall Street - that's Mitt Romney to you - seemed absolutely clueless about. And how much of a deal breaker is Paul's ramblings about the war machine? His most prominent critic this time around has been Rick Santorum who has languished as much as Paul has risen. 

All of this remains academic, of course. This time, four years ago, John McCain was running in third in Iowa as Mike Huckabee prepared to shock the world ("Nobody believed in us!") at the caucuses. The ultimate result - Obama in the White House, McCain back in the Senate, Huckabee on a TV show - could hardly have been extrapolated from the date available in December 2007. We've still got a long way to go. 

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