January 22, 2012

South Carolina's Newtron Bomb: Part 1 - the Unbreakable Thread

Hatched by Dafydd

The best news out of South Carolina -- for all Republicans, independents, and even Democrats who dread a second term for Barack H. "Bubble Boy" Obama -- is that the rift between those GOP-primary voters who support Mitt Romney and those who support the current flavor of NotRomney both make the same argument: Each side claims its own candidate is the most electable against Obama.

So far, I have not heard the meme from either camp that if the Other is nominated, We shall sit out the election or vote to reelect President B.O. This is important; one of three men will be the Republican nominee: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum. It would be utterly devastating if, say, Romney supporters said they would not support Gingrich in the general, or if Santorum supporters insisted that if Romney is the nominee, they will sit out the election.

I still believe Gingrich is the least, not the most electable of the three (as his supporters imagine), and that he would not make a good president even if elected. Nevertheless, if he is nominated, I would wholeheartedly throw myself into his campaign without qualm or reservation. Similarly so for Romney and Santorum. I would even campaign for Ron Paul, should he get the nod... though I believe the odds of that are somewhere in between nothing and naught.

In 2008, I know a lot of conservatives and libertarians who were so enraged that none of their own was nominated that they did in fact refuse to vote for McCain; most just stayed home, but a few actually voted for Obama in a fit of pique. While I don't believe that was determinative -- Obamunism would have won the day anyway -- it might not have been such a butt-whupping, and the Democrats might not have ended up with such a stranglehold on the Senate. In fact, I believe angry, anti-liberal "protest-voting" handed us ObamaCare and the Trillion Dollar Spree.

Newt Gingrich has a boatload of marital baggage; he has a frightening unlikeability problem; he's no more consistently "conservative" than is Romney; he's unpredictable and gets more wild hairs than a Tazmanian devil on a splintery fence post; and he frightens the horses. As Wolf Howling notes, Newt does have a much greater ability to communicate and defend his ideas than does Mitt or Rick:

John McCain lost the 2008 election because he ceded the major issues to the Obama narrative. Outrageously, over half the nation still thinks that the subprime crisis was caused by Wall St. greed. Bush failed to reform Social Security because the left was able to demagogue the issue. The Bush presidency was crippled because of Bush's failure to directly challenge the left's despicable campaign to loose the Iraq war. The base understands this. The ability to communicate may well be the single most important skill for any conservative nominee for President today. As Erickson says, look back at Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, and McCain, the only ones who have won have been those that unapologetically and vocally embraced conservativism. Newt needs to emphasize precisely that. [Note that by "won," Wolf Howling means "prevailed on policy;" GWB won reelection but had a miserable second term. -- DaH]

However, Newt has in the past abused that same rhetorical skill to defend decidedly anticonservative and unlibertarian ideas -- including the individual mandate of ObamaCare, stimulus packages, earmarks, and legendarily, Globaloney itself alongside Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury).

But with a conservative Congress keeping Newt's nose to the fire, he would surely be such an enormous improvement over Obama -- and not a single Republican have I heard denying that fact -- that I expect the entire Right and two-thirds of the center ultimately to vote for nominee Gingrich... assuming he doesn't manage to turn the entire election into a referendum on Newtism.

Similarly, even the most flamboyent Newtist would readily admit that President Mitt Romney is vastly preferable to the devil we have.

So keep fingers crossed that the rancor doesn't rise to the point where the shorthand slogans "anybody but Romney" and "anybody but Newt" become literally true, and the losers in the primary become spoilers in the general.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 22, 2012, at the time of 2:36 PM

Comments

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

I've talked to several people across the right side of the spectrum, most expressing similar "ABO" (Anybody But Obama) sentiments, yet gritting their teeth and shaking their heads at the prospect of voting for Gingrich. Surprisingly, they have less qualms about voting for the "moderate" Romney than about the "lacking character" Gingrich. The intellectual vs the emotional, IMHO, and I hope intellectual wins out.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2012 3:31 PM

The following hissed in response by: Beldar

Apt comments, well expressed. I associate myself with these remarks.

The above hissed in response by: Beldar [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2012 8:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: GW

In truth, I consider any Republican "electable" over Obama and, while I support Newt, I would nonetheless get behind Romney if he wins the nomination. There is a lot for which to criticize Gingrich and good arguments can be made that Romney is a stronger candidate. You do it with intellectual honesty, as do Krauthammer, Goldberg and others. I have no problem with that.

All of that said, what we see coming out of the large part of the pundit class - most of the NRO, Powerline, George Will, Kathleen Parker, Ann Coulter, Jennifer Rubin and others - amounts to an attempt to demonize and delegitimize Gingrich on a scale not seen in U.S. politics since the left did it to Sarah Palin in 2008, and not seen in Republican politics since the cannibalization of Goldwater in 1964. I can assure you that the intellectual dishonesty with which they are approaching their goals is going to leave more than a few hard feelings. It is appalling.

At this point, I haven't heard any Gingrich supporters say that they would sit out if Gingrich loses. I really wonder, however, what will happen if the tables are turned. I hope that you are right, that there will not be a rift. But with what I am seeing from those suffering what amounts to Gingrich Derangement Syndrome, I fear that there will be.

The above hissed in response by: GW [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2012 10:28 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

It's easy to say that anyone is preferable to Obama. He's a nightmare.

But, let's look at the good Obama has given us.

1) The rise of the Tea Party.
2) The fall of liberalism/progressivism.
3) Rubio, West, Johnson, Rand Paul, 600+ more politicans in State legislatures (Some of whom had to be conservative).

Granted, he has given us these things inadvertently. But we wound up with a Democrat Congress (House and Senate) in 2006 as a reaction to President Bush. We wound up with a Democrat President, in 2008, as a reaction to President Bush.

You can argue why the reaction for sure. I would say it was clear though. The reaction was because President Bush blurred the lines between Republican and Democrat. I can't count the number of times I heard someone say, "What's the difference?" and in many respects, they were right. As we have seen, Obama isn't much different than Bush in war policy, he hasn't even closed Gitmo.

It worries me to consider what a President Romney would give us.

You see, a President Romney is never, ever, ever, going to win over the Democrats. It's a done deal. They will spend the next 4 years smearing him with every possible lie they can dig up. And a President Romney will not defend himself or defend Conservatism.

This will result in a demoralized conservative base. In Romney's attempt (This is why Pawlenty lost, btw) to "reach out" to the other side and be a "Compassionate Conservative" he will upset Conservatives and Libertarians everywhere and he'll wind up with no one in his corner but partisan Republicans. Sure, some of those partisan Republicans might be Conservatives or Libertarians, but all those people in the country who are Conservative first, Republican second, or Libertarian first, Republican second, want their voice to be heard.

They want a President who, from the bully pulpit, will stand up to the left in this country and fight for our ideals. Who, when called a Racist because he believes food stamps are wrong, will fight back rather than apologize. Who, when called a Chicken Hawk because he believes in a strong military, will fight back rather than apologize or stay silent.

We want a fighter.

Romney is not a fighter. He's a good man, just like President Bush is a good man.

But both of them ultimately hurt our country and push the debate back to the left because it demoralizes the right when their leaders are weak and impotent.

This is why Newt is getting such traction.

and this is why I wonder if I will indeed pull the trigger for Romney if he ends up being the nominee.

If one concludes that a President Romney will end up sending Conservative and Libertarian ideals back and a President Obama will send them forward, why would you vote for Romney?

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2012 12:17 AM

The following hissed in response by: Ken Hahn

I'm going to be contrary. I don't think Newt won in South Carolina so much as the media lost. Four years ago the establishment media convinced pro-military SC that Vietnam hero John McCain was the best choice to defeat anti-military Democrats, Obama or Clinton. After pushing the weakest Republican until he sewed up the nomination they went into full Obama campaign mode and McCain was no longer the maverick but the grumpy old man.

South Carolina Republicans weren't all that enthused by any of the GOP candidates ( and I can't say that I'm too thrilled by the field ). But when the lapdog media went after Newt, they unified Republicans behind him. Over the last two decades millions of Americans have abandoned the "news" they get from the lapdogs for the internet, talk radio and to some extent FOX. The monopoly has broken down and Republicans detest the people who have lied to them for 65 years.

So, I don't think Gringrich won so much as he was the beneficiary of the reversal of trust. Romney could have done better if he had defended Newt from the unfair attack by the media while disagreeing on policy. But he's still a traditional media campaigner.

Defeating Obama is a top priority but eroding the power of the establishment media is even more important and will pay higher dividends for a longer period. I will most certainly vote for the GOP nominee and do what little I can to support him or her. But I will work unceasingly to inform anyone I can to use alternative news sources and to find the facts because no single source can be considered reliable.

The above hissed in response by: Ken Hahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2012 2:25 AM

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