Voters, even conservative ones, are often the victims of their own incoherent beliefs.
For instance, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary because, we are to believe, conservatives prefer him over Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Tea Partiers seems to like Gingrich, even Sarah Palin has called Gingrich a threat to “The Establishment.”
Rush Limbaugh made the same point last week that the so-called “establishment” didn’t like Newt Gingrich.
Except here’s the thing guys: Newt Gingrich IS the establishment.
Perhaps no one in our current political system is more “establishment” than Newt Gingrich, the man who took $1.6 million from Fannie and Freddie, the authors of our financial demise.
This is a man who got rich off trading on his political connections, the definition of a “Washington Insider,” and yet he’s the candidate that makes the establishment nervous?
He’s the candidate making the establishment rich!
The National Review offered a different perspective on the reason for Newt’s resurgence.
It was the author’s contention that Gingrich’s rekindled popularity was actually the result of Mitt Romney’s struggles, his lack of charisma and originality as a candidate.
A week ago, I may have been convinced.
Gingrich had bounced Romney from the front-runner in Florida, had surged nationally in the polls and looked to be on track to throw a monkey wrench in the all-but-decided Republican primary.
Then came another debate where Gingrich came off as irritable, testy, and unlikable. Everyone remembered what a
douchebag jerk he is and Romney is back in front in the polls.
Conservative talking heads like Limbaugh and the Mark’s (Levine, Belling et al) love to take contrarian positions. It’s good radio.
That’s why they love Rick Santorum, despite the fact that he has less than no chance of beating Obama.
But for them to talk about Newt Gingrich like he’s this maverick candidate, the “darkhorse conservative” candidate is absurd.
Ann Coulter laid out, in her (in)famous and bombastic way, just why it was absurd, in a love letter about Mitt Romney.
In it, she attempts to show Romney as the more conservative candidate, even more than Santorum and Gingrich, due to his stance on immigration, health care reform, federal budgets (Romney has most vehemently supported Paul Ryan’s plan while Gingrich has flip-flopped more than John Kerry) and social issues.
It’s a hard sell to be sure, but she makes a pretty convincing argument, particularly against Gingrich, who she says, is the kiss of death for Republicans if nominated.
Beyond the coherent conservative arguments, what about the guy who can actually win? Look at the latest national data suggesting Mitt Romney and **cough** Ron Paul are the two candidates most likely to take down the one-term wonder.
Gallup found Romney and Obama running dead even nationally with Romney even slightly ahead in swing states among likely voters, not just Republican voters.
Perhaps more importantly, this same group of people preferred Obama to Gingrich 53% to 41% (it was worse in swing states) and Obama over Santorum 51% to 43%.
What this signals is that independent and moderate voters prefer Romney over Gingrich and Santorum by a large margin.
The Democratic party identification has taken a huge hit since Obama took office and people are looking, not for someone to bash Obama the best (Gingrich would certainly win that battle), but a candidate who doesn’t turn their stomach when they decide not to vote for the guy they liked in 2008.
Whether you believe he’s the most conservative candidate or not (Ann, like with most things, is pretty out there with that claim), Romney is and always has been the most electable candidate.
In an election almost certainly decided by moderates and independents, the best Republican candidate is Mitt Romney.
To quote the late great Vince Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
By those standards, there’s only one name that ought to be leading the Republican ticket and it doesn’t matter if Rush Limbaugh likes him or not.