In a strange twist, the firestorm of media backlash Newt Gingrich faced over the last several weeks has actually improved his standing among Republicans.
After riding the political momentum of Herman Cain’s demise and the right’s refusal to accept Mitt Romney as a candidate, Gingrich was the front-runner.
Most political observers assumed that simply wouldn’t last. Gingrich was temperamental, moody and slightly off-putting albeit really, really smart.
His controversial past would eventually lead the media on both sides of the aisle to pile on to the point where he couldn’t recover.
Gingrich’s numbers fell, Romney’s and Santorum’s rose and it looked over for the former Speaker of the House.
Yet through all of that, and now in the face of his ex-wife’s sensationalized tell-all, Gingrich is leading the polls in South Carolina.
That, of course, depends on which polls you you look at. Thursday’s NBC News poll had Romney a decided leader.
Either way, Gingrich’s campaign, left for dead to end 2011, has come back strong. He has deep pockets, conservative support and plenty of time left to make a run at Romney.
In all fairness, I don’t believe Gingrich can or will win the nomination. Conservative Republican leadership has likely done everything it can to assure Mitt Romney would not be the party’s nominee, but Gingrich can’t beat Obama.
But can you imagine Newt Gingrich facing off with Joe Biden in a debate? Gingrich would run circles around the soon-to-be-former Vice President.
I’ve argued many times for a conservative crusader to run on the ticket with a moderate Republican front-runner. On the other hand it’s hard to argue that the last time true and drastic changes were made in government, Gingrich was leading the Republican party.
The policies instituted in the Contract with America fundamentally changed government size, lowered taxes and instituted welfare reform.
Having an experienced conservative on the administrative team should ameliorate some concerns over Romney’s chops as a conservative.
Furthermore, Romney’s strength in equivocation, deflecting and defending make him a better choice as the mouthpiece for the Republican regime.
Romney has been Teflon in his campaign so far, nothing seems to stick. He’s been the front-runner for weeks now and has faced attack after attack in debates and in the media.
Gingrich has had to answer tough questions, but the process seems to have hardened his resolve, made him stronger.
The scrutiny both Romney and Gingrich have already faced vastly surpasses the questions surrounding candidate Obama in the entirety of his campaign.
The campaign of hope and change that Obama sold the American people turned out to be a bill of goods. With Romney and Gingrich, we know what we’re getting.
Most importantly, we’re getting someone else, but also two leaders who have both stood up under the intense pressure of such a critical election.