Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is Newt Gingrich’s Day in the Sun Getting Ready to Sunset – Newt is Taking the High Road

In Republican Politics That Road Leads to Oblivion, Nebraska (Pop. 6, Huntsman, Paul, Bachmann, Santorum, Perry and Cain).

On his way to maybe winning the Republican nomination Newt Gingrich forgot something.  “Nice guys finish last” at least in Republican politics.  The Republican base is looking for someone nasty, someone vulgar, someone mean and mean spirited.  In fact that is why Mr. Gingrich lately rose to prominence.  The Republican base doesn’t see that in Mitt Romney.

Once he became a front runner in the polls Mr. Gingrich decided that he would not attack his opponents, and he would particularly not attack Mr. Romney.  This was puzzling, because misleading, fraudulent, erroneous, personal attacks are what has defined Mr. Gingrich in the past.  In a word association test the term “bomb thrower” elicits the natural response of “Newt Gingrich”.  Not having Mr. Gingrich attack is like going to a movie based on a Jane Austen book and not being bored.  The core element is missing.

Mr. Gingrich may be trying emulate Mr. Romney, whose campaign style is to assume that he is the nominee and ignore the rest of the field and spar with Mr. Obama.  But Mr. Romney has a bunch of so-called independent supporters who are wealthy and who are sponsoring some pretty nasty ads against Mr. Gingrich in Iowa.  And other candidates see votes going to Mr. Gingrich that they can snatch, so they too are running the negative ads.

All of this may be taking its toll on Mr. Gingrich, as Taegan Goddard reports.

The Gallup daily tracking poll shows Newt Gingrich's lead in the GOP presidential primary is shrinking fast.

Gingrich leads Mitt Romney, 28% to 24%, followed by Ron Paul at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 8%, Rick Perry at 6%, Rick Santorum at 4% and Jon Huntsman at 2%.

Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling previews surveys currently in the field: "Newt this weekend
: national lead fading, nowhere close in NH, quite possibly down to 3rd in Iowa."

And a story in the Washington Post raises the question of whether or not Mr. Gingrich can withstand the severity of these attacks.

The fourth phase — testing — is now underway. It began in the past two weeks when his rivals, deciding he might be for real, began to attack him and the party elites who fear the possible consequences of his nomination also launched an assault. Collectively, those groups have raised questions about his conservatism, his consistency, his reliability, his stability, his fitness. Gingrich maintains that he will run a positive campaign, but he knows the power of attack politics, having made it a principal tool of his rise to power

Another problem that Mr. Gingrich has is that it appears he really isn't serious about the Presidential thing.  Mr. Gingrich belongs to that large Group and anti-Government conservatives who have not only served long stints in government but now make millions off of that service.  Mr. Gingrich has been in the influence peddling business many years (see Freddie Mac) and after this campaign he will command even more dollars for things like stints on Fox News and the sale of books.  Unlike Mr. Romney, who seems to believe that it is ordained by a higher power that he be President, Mr. Gingrich believes that it is ordained by a higher power that he make money and be listened to.

And so the Political Gods of Irony are striking again, striving to take down a man who rose to power using highly negative attacks, a man who now deplores highly negative attacks and may be the biggest victim of them so far in the current political campaign.

Can you say “just desserts”?

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