Did Gingrich Just Win In Michigan?
Ever since Newt Gingrich's loss in Florida's Republican primary I've been trying to read that gotcha-just-where-I-want-you smile of his. What's his plan for winning the nomination? No matter how bleak his prospects appear, he does have a plan, that we can be certain of. And whatever it is, it is patient, simple and clever. He's the same man after all who wrote a book explaining how Robert E. Lee could have won the battle of Gettysburg by simply abandoning the field July 2, marching a day south and east and waiting for the Union Army to destroy itself. As Newt has done the same thing himself numerous times, most famously when he stopped negotiating with Bill Clinton when everybody told him he had to and if it wasn't for Bob Dole surrendering the government shut-down, almost folded up that administration like a cheap suit.
Now watching Romney and Santorum each beat the other's brains out in Michigan I think I finally figured out what Newt is up to. Waiting for it to finish so that he can move south and east again. Just like he always does. And if I'm right it means we'll look back and see that both Romney and Santorum showed up for a chess match, clutching a box of checkers.
From day one Gingrich could only win the nomination if he was the only conservative alternative to Romney. That a fact and that's his baggage. And so Michigan was the set-up Newt was waiting for. Let Romney be defeated in his home state he was finished and then Gingrich could take Santorum in the areas of the country where Monsignor Rick doesn't play all that well. Let Romney win and Santorum's momentum would peak and a week he'll be polling 10-15% again.
Heads I win, tails you lose because either way Gingrich will be the only conservative alternative to Romney.
Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, BDD, Random House and about to be released on Amazon and Kindle Conversations With My Granddaughter. He writes in Stone Ridge New York and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.