Why Newt's Surge Will Continue

Newt Gingrich's stumble out of the campaign gate -- causing him to lose his top advisors to Rick Perry -- might well be the best thing that has ever happened to his political career.  That, along with his debate performances and a handful of other circumstances, explains why the former speaker of the House is now surging in the polls and why it is likely to continue.

And yes -- those are the words of one who has written Newt off for good on more than one occasion.  And for what surely seemed like good reasons.

But those reasons seem long past now, as the former speaker has proven himself a far superior advocate to anyone else running of what it is that animates us on the conservative side.  And it is this ability -- combined with our craving for someone who has this ability in light of the inarticulate Bush-McCain years -- that has convinced many to take a second, third, fourth, or fifth look at a man many of us had given up on.  Yes, we know that Newt has not always acted like a conservative, and yes, he tends toward being an incessant government tinkerer.  Yes, some of those marital issues are troubling, as was NY-23 and the David Gregory/Paul Ryan thing and most of all...the Pelosi global warming thing.  Yes, we get all that. 

Yet, even so, the daydream of Gingrich debating Obama on a stage bigger than merely the presidential contest is something more and more Tea Party folks and others are publicly fessin' up to sharing.  Admit it: you were giving Newt a second look long before you dared say so out loud or post it on a message board.  And this has nothing to do with how Gingrich has pummeled his Republican opposition.  Because he has not done so.  Not a whiff of it.

Quite the contrary, in fact.  No other candidate has been nearly as openly enthusiastic about the entire GOP field as has Gingrich.  Many times he has prefaced an answer with a statement to the effect that any of the folks on the stage would be far superior to the person we have now in the White House.  After which he would go on and explain why this is so better than any of those others could explain it.  Moreover, unlike Bachmann and Huntsman, he slammed the media when the Herman Cain harassment stories first broke and refused to join in the self-important "charges are serious and must be answered" meme no doubt written by the political hacks working for the other candidates.

All along, Gingrich, along with Cain, aimed fire at Obama specifically and liberalism in general.  Newt has not so much as fired a shot across the bow of the other Republicans, let alone fired a direct hit.  Interestingly, it is Cain and Gingrich who have surged.  It is obvious that GOP voters are interested in only two things: who has a vision for beating Obama and who has a vision for governing the country after this is accomplished. 

What voters are manifestly not interested in are the attacks that Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney have leveled at each other.  Since this started, Bachmann and Perry have bottomed out, while Santorum has stayed on the bottom, and Romney has held firm at his ~25% share of party support.   

Consider: Rick Perry came storming out of the gate with something like 35% of the voters favoring him in a field that was at that time dominated by Romney and Bachmann, fresh off her Ames win and strong second debate.  Meanwhile, Sarah Palin was still unannounced as to her intentions, while Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum languished in the low single digits.  Pawlenty had already imploded with his unseemly attacks on Bachmann.  Paul and Huntsman have their own constituencies, and are not part of the fluid Tea Party non-Mitt semi-final.

Within a few days, Palin announced that she would not run, while Bachmann destroyed her campaign with the jaw-dropping over-play of the HPV issue versus Perry.  That wounded Perry, but his "heartless" answer and then ridiculous overcompensation by going after Romney's lawn care service finished him off effectively -- for now.  I can only wonder how much of that strategy came from Gingrich's ex-consultants. 

All the while, Gingrich and Cain were ignoring the nonsense and keeping their eyes on the ball.  And the voters have responded by leaving the Perry, Bachmann, and Palin camps and going to the two Georgia natives' columns.  And as recently as two weeks ago, it seemed as if Cain were the man for the times and would keep most of that support.  He is the man of the free market/Tea Party with a quintessentially American life story and a gift for oratory.  Meanwhile, Gingrich, even with this bump, seemed destined by his personal "baggage" and political missteps to be a supporting actor to the Cain story.

The last couple weeks have been very telling, however.  Cain has struggled -- not so much from the harassment charges per se, but perhaps from the mental and physical fatigue that battle has caused.  Such can cause a lot of new information to "swirl around" in one's head -- Cain's head and his new supporters' heads.

By comparison, Newt has faced all of this before.  We all knew the stuff about him we would not like months ago.  That's why we did not like him months ago and why he stayed in the low to mid-single digits for lo these many months.  The change, however, is that in every debate he has reminded us of why we used to like him.  He has reminded us why we don't like the media and reminded us why we like all of the GOP candidates in comparison to Obama.  He has reminded us that our battle does include the media and yet must center on removing Obama.  Period.

In fact, since only Ron Paul looks worse in a suit, Newt is subconsciously reminding us that a "crisp crease" and metrosexual "cool" are really not as sexy as a command of every single issue and an ability to lace that knowledge with some pepper when needed.

By contrast, we are also reminded why we have dreaded every presidential debate since Reagan-Mondale.  We haven't had a yes! moment in these things since Reagan, and we desperately need one.

But it goes deeper than just those moments.  The campaign debates of 2012 will be definitive moments in our national conversation.  I think many instinctively know this.  We will have on display some spokesperson for conservatism debating Obama and the Occupy America vision.  It will impact perhaps every race in 2012.  And many are now saying out loud what they've been whispering for months. 

The debate stage matters more than ever before -- and on that stage, Newt is the best.  The future of the Republic is at stake.  And that is why Gingrich is in the top tier to stay.

(See also: Expect Newt to be Pilloried)

Newt Gingrich's stumble out of the campaign gate -- causing him to lose his top advisors to Rick Perry -- might well be the best thing that has ever happened to his political career.  That, along with his debate performances and a handful of other circumstances, explains why the former speaker of the House is now surging in the polls and why it is likely to continue.

And yes -- those are the words of one who has written Newt off for good on more than one occasion.  And for what surely seemed like good reasons.

But those reasons seem long past now, as the former speaker has proven himself a far superior advocate to anyone else running of what it is that animates us on the conservative side.  And it is this ability -- combined with our craving for someone who has this ability in light of the inarticulate Bush-McCain years -- that has convinced many to take a second, third, fourth, or fifth look at a man many of us had given up on.  Yes, we know that Newt has not always acted like a conservative, and yes, he tends toward being an incessant government tinkerer.  Yes, some of those marital issues are troubling, as was NY-23 and the David Gregory/Paul Ryan thing and most of all...the Pelosi global warming thing.  Yes, we get all that. 

Yet, even so, the daydream of Gingrich debating Obama on a stage bigger than merely the presidential contest is something more and more Tea Party folks and others are publicly fessin' up to sharing.  Admit it: you were giving Newt a second look long before you dared say so out loud or post it on a message board.  And this has nothing to do with how Gingrich has pummeled his Republican opposition.  Because he has not done so.  Not a whiff of it.

Quite the contrary, in fact.  No other candidate has been nearly as openly enthusiastic about the entire GOP field as has Gingrich.  Many times he has prefaced an answer with a statement to the effect that any of the folks on the stage would be far superior to the person we have now in the White House.  After which he would go on and explain why this is so better than any of those others could explain it.  Moreover, unlike Bachmann and Huntsman, he slammed the media when the Herman Cain harassment stories first broke and refused to join in the self-important "charges are serious and must be answered" meme no doubt written by the political hacks working for the other candidates.

All along, Gingrich, along with Cain, aimed fire at Obama specifically and liberalism in general.  Newt has not so much as fired a shot across the bow of the other Republicans, let alone fired a direct hit.  Interestingly, it is Cain and Gingrich who have surged.  It is obvious that GOP voters are interested in only two things: who has a vision for beating Obama and who has a vision for governing the country after this is accomplished. 

What voters are manifestly not interested in are the attacks that Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney have leveled at each other.  Since this started, Bachmann and Perry have bottomed out, while Santorum has stayed on the bottom, and Romney has held firm at his ~25% share of party support.   

Consider: Rick Perry came storming out of the gate with something like 35% of the voters favoring him in a field that was at that time dominated by Romney and Bachmann, fresh off her Ames win and strong second debate.  Meanwhile, Sarah Palin was still unannounced as to her intentions, while Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum languished in the low single digits.  Pawlenty had already imploded with his unseemly attacks on Bachmann.  Paul and Huntsman have their own constituencies, and are not part of the fluid Tea Party non-Mitt semi-final.

Within a few days, Palin announced that she would not run, while Bachmann destroyed her campaign with the jaw-dropping over-play of the HPV issue versus Perry.  That wounded Perry, but his "heartless" answer and then ridiculous overcompensation by going after Romney's lawn care service finished him off effectively -- for now.  I can only wonder how much of that strategy came from Gingrich's ex-consultants. 

All the while, Gingrich and Cain were ignoring the nonsense and keeping their eyes on the ball.  And the voters have responded by leaving the Perry, Bachmann, and Palin camps and going to the two Georgia natives' columns.  And as recently as two weeks ago, it seemed as if Cain were the man for the times and would keep most of that support.  He is the man of the free market/Tea Party with a quintessentially American life story and a gift for oratory.  Meanwhile, Gingrich, even with this bump, seemed destined by his personal "baggage" and political missteps to be a supporting actor to the Cain story.

The last couple weeks have been very telling, however.  Cain has struggled -- not so much from the harassment charges per se, but perhaps from the mental and physical fatigue that battle has caused.  Such can cause a lot of new information to "swirl around" in one's head -- Cain's head and his new supporters' heads.

By comparison, Newt has faced all of this before.  We all knew the stuff about him we would not like months ago.  That's why we did not like him months ago and why he stayed in the low to mid-single digits for lo these many months.  The change, however, is that in every debate he has reminded us of why we used to like him.  He has reminded us why we don't like the media and reminded us why we like all of the GOP candidates in comparison to Obama.  He has reminded us that our battle does include the media and yet must center on removing Obama.  Period.

In fact, since only Ron Paul looks worse in a suit, Newt is subconsciously reminding us that a "crisp crease" and metrosexual "cool" are really not as sexy as a command of every single issue and an ability to lace that knowledge with some pepper when needed.

By contrast, we are also reminded why we have dreaded every presidential debate since Reagan-Mondale.  We haven't had a yes! moment in these things since Reagan, and we desperately need one.

But it goes deeper than just those moments.  The campaign debates of 2012 will be definitive moments in our national conversation.  I think many instinctively know this.  We will have on display some spokesperson for conservatism debating Obama and the Occupy America vision.  It will impact perhaps every race in 2012.  And many are now saying out loud what they've been whispering for months. 

The debate stage matters more than ever before -- and on that stage, Newt is the best.  The future of the Republic is at stake.  And that is why Gingrich is in the top tier to stay.

(See also: Expect Newt to be Pilloried)

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