Skip to comments.Five Consequences of Gingrich’s South Carolina Win
Posted on 01/23/2012 7:49:20 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
By the time the voting started yesterday in the South Carolina Republican primary, the collective judgment of the political class was that Newt Gingrich was all but certain to beat Mitt Romney badly the only question was how badly. Plenty of prognosticators, including Impolitic, predicted that Gingrich would win by a double-digit margin, as he did (the final spread was 13 points, on a 40 to 27 percent split). But virtually no one would have dared venture a forecast of a blowout as abject and total as the one that indeed took place.
Take a gander at the exit polls if you like they really are quite something. What they show is that Gingrich beat Romney soundly across the board: 4226 with men and 3829 with women; by nine or more points in every age cohort; by double digits in every educational cohort except those voters with postgraduate study (which Romney won by a bare two points); among both married and unmarried voters; among the poor, the middle class, and the rich; among Republicans and independents; among the very conservative and the somewhat conservative, losing only (by just five points) among self-described moderates or liberals; among tea party backers, God-squadders, Protestants, and Catholics; among those most concerned about beating Barack Obama, about being a true conservative, and about having the right experience for the job of president; among late deciders and early deciders; and especially dramatically among those for whom the debates were important.
Back in 2008, after Obama lost the Ohio and Texas primaries and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy erupted, his campaign manager David Plouffe remarked privately that his guy was about to experience his turn in the barrel. Well, after a year of being perched in the catbird seat, Romney now faces, over the next nine days in Florida, his first (though maybe not his last) time in the oaken cask. Herewith five realities as we head into what promises to be the most intense and consequential primary thus far:
1. Contrary to the received wisdom up until now, Gingrich is the favorite in the Sunshine State. Yes, Romney has the financial advantage. Yes, he has been on the air with ads for weeks. Yes, there has been early voting in Florida under way for weeks, too, during which time Romneys air of inevitability will have given him an edge. But Florida is a closed primary, the first contest so far in which only registered Republicans are allowed to cast ballots. And the states GOP voters are far more conservative and anti-Establishment than many people understand. This is especially true in the panhandle of northern Florida, where Gingrich is likely to take up residence for much of the time between now and the vote on January 31. But watch for Gingrich to play hard for the states Hispanic voters and not just the Cuban-Americans who are thick on the ground in South Florida but also the polyglot Latino population around Orlando by emphasizing his stance on immigration, which is notably more moderate than Romneys. Between all this and the wave of momentum and free media coverage hell enjoy coming out of South Carolina, the former speaker, I think, has the upper hand, though not by a lot.
2. To fend off Gingrich and regain his status as the front-runner, Romney needs to refine his message, not sharpen his knives, as the influential conservative blogger Erik Erickson puts it. The Romney people, however, are instinctively inclined to do the opposite. Incredulous at the notion that anyone on Gods green earth could ever take Gingrich seriously as the Republican nominee, their plan is to step up their attacks on him, beginning at the debate in Tampa tomorrow night. There are two obvious problems with this strategy, though: (a) When it comes to wallowing around in the mud, Gingrich is King Hog, while Romney isnt even a pig farmer in wadershes the CEO of the agribusiness conglomerate that owns the place, worried about getting any flecks of dirt on his starched white shirt; and (b) Gingrichs rise represents as much as anything a rejection of Romney, his themeless pudding of a campaign, and the Establishment support of it. At Romneys final rally in Charleston on Friday, which I wrote about yesterday, he ended his speech by declaiming, I love this land, I love its Constitution, I revere its founders, I will get America back to work, and Ill make sure that we remain the shining city on the hill. It would be hard to conjure a stanza less suited to rousing the hot-eyed Republican base of 2012 than that.
3. Romney needs to get comfortable, and quick, in talking about money his, that is. In South Carolina, his handling of the calls to release his tax returns was something like a slow-motion train wreck. This morning, Romney quickly moved to defuse the issue by announcing he will release his 2010 returns and estimates for 2011 on Tuesday. This was smart and necessary, but does nothing to address the deeper problem, which is Romneys obvious awkwardness when questioned about his personal wealth and, to a lesser extent, his background at Bain, and also the unfortunate appearance he gives of being out of touch with the lives of monetary mortals. From corporations are people and I like being able to fire people to, most recently, his comments that he made not much money in speaking fees when they in fact totaled $374,327 last year, Romney has done much to paint an image of himself as a combination of Gordon Gekko and Richie Rich. No doubt this will be a bigger problem in a general election (if he gets there) than in a Republican nomination fightbut heading into Florida and Nevada, where the jobless rates are 10 and 13 percent respectively and the median income is roughly what Romney gets paid for one speech, no one should think its not a vulnerability with the increasingly blue-collar GOP electorate.
4. If Gingrich wins Florida, the Republican Establishment is going to have a meltdown that makes Three Mile Island look like a marshmallow roast. Why? Because the Establishment will be staring down the barrel of two utterly unpalatable choices. On the one hand, Gingrich's national favorable-unfavorable ratings of 26.5 and 58.6 percent, respectively make him not just unelectable against Obama but also mean that he would likely be a ten-ton millstone around the necks of down-ballot Republican candidates across the country. And on the other, Romney will have shown in two successive contestsone in a bellwether Republican state, the other in a key swing statean inability to beat his deeply unpopular rival. If this scenario unfolds, the sound of GOP grandees whispering calls for a white knight, be it Indiana governor Mitch Daniels (who, conveniently, is delivering the Republican response to Obamas State of the Union address on Tuesday night) or Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan or even Jeb Bush, will be deafening.
5. No matter who wins Florida, the race is now destined to go on a good long time. Again, why? Because Romney has plenty of money (and can always pump in more of his own should the need arise) to go on all the way to June; because this is his last chance to be president, for there will be no third time around for a two-time loser; and because he believes that he alone has the organizational muscle and fortitude to go the distance. As for Gingrich, his near-100 percent national name I.D. and his magnetlike capacity to draw free media coverage will give him the ability to compete around the country even if his financial and organizational deficits remain. Also, his sense of himself as a man of destiny and world-historical significance who, as the Romney campaign cheekily pointed out, has compared himself to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Henry Clay, Charles De Gaulle, William Wallace, Pericles, The Duke Of Wellington, Thomas Edison, Vince Lombardi, The Wright Brothers, Moses, and a viking compels it. Oh, and also: the two men, Gingrich and Romney, are quickly coming to hate each other. So buckle up; this should be fun.
I'd wager a Mitt top of the ticket would be at least as harmful, down ballot - and my gut tells me it would be more harmful to the party as it is currently constituted.
For me, that's a win-win outcome. The GOP as currently constituted is damaging to the country.
Hogwash. If Newt keeps going after the media, and right to the American people, these #'s will reverse toot sweet.
My first though was, How old are these numbers and from whom did they come?
I've cast around a little but don't come across a source.
These sorts of numbers are "perishable" and could turn on a dime in his favor.
All one needs to do is look back at the 2010 midterms and remember that the silent majority is still pissed.
The idea that Newt would harm down-ballot Republicans is NOT BASED on what our Congressional Candidates need to be running on. EVERY DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED FOR OBAMACARE NEEDS TO BE HIGHLIGHTED IN THEIR RACE and THROWN OUT! If our candidates are smart, stand up to the FACTS that UNDER this administration, under NANCY PELOSI and HARRY REID, we have TAKEN a BEATING - we need People who are running on CUTTING GOV’T SPENDING - THAT WILL BE A WINNER in MOST STATES!
LOL! Almost Steynesque!
“On the one hand, Gingrich’s national favorable-unfavorable ratings of 26.5 and 58.6 percent, respectively make him not just unelectable against Obama...”
Nonsense. A full 48% (or more) of registered voters will never vote for Obama. A wet dish towel can beat Obama. It’s more a matter of who will make the better POTUS: Obama-lite Mitt, or Newt.
Newt continues his “attitude” which mirrors that of American people's heart and the silent majority will find it's voice.
Willard has forecast his attack on Newt tonight....Lobbyist working for F/F.....Expect Newt to hand him his head on a plate.
My first though was, How old are these numbers and from whom did they come? I've cast around a little but don't come across a source.
These sorts of numbers are "perishable" and could turn on a dime in his favor.
I agree that this can be turned around. Six months ago I had a unfavorable opinion of Gingrich but he has won me over in the past two months. Plus, I discovered that some of things that I thought I knew about him were simply untrue. Ironically, quite a bit of these falsehoods were constantly spread by folks here on FR.
I think if anyone can turn their negatives around with swing voters it is Gingrich. People also forget that the TOTUS is very unpopular.
“Plus, I discovered that some of things that I thought I knew about him were simply untrue. Ironically, quite a bit of these falsehoods were constantly spread by folks here on FR. “
Yeah I thought they said Marianne was on her death bed. What was she doing on ABC if she died a long time ago?
Obama is the millstone, and he's not around the GOP's neck.
“I do find that the GOP is in deep trouble... regardless of whether it is Mitt or Newt at the top of the ticket.”
a trip down memory lane:
In 1974, the Republican party hit the lowest point imaginable. The President was forced to resign, pardoned for all crimes by his unelected replacement. Two years later Jimmy Carter was elected. This should have been a golden age for democrats but instead Carter got his ass beat by an “unelectable” Ronald Reagan just 4 short years later. Obama has reached Carter levels of disapproval. this election is about one thing, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
Two simple reasons for Newt’s SC victory:
#1 The people loathe Obama and how he has wrecked our country
#2 The people loathe the main stream media for protecting Obama and the Leftists.
And Newt articulates this loathing better than anyone
Nothing more; nothing less than this
Nonsense. A full 48% (or more) of registered voters will never vote for Obama. A wet dish towel can beat Obama. Its more a matter of who will make the better POTUS: Obama-lite Mitt, or Newt.
I have said this for months the GOP is picking the President not the nominee. Obama has no chance to win this cycle.
“Correct. If Newt continues to attack the enemedia, rather than seek to make nice with them, he’s in easily.”
Newt should add: the same media that wants SOPA/PIPA and shut down the internet.
Marianne’s FBI has just surfaced recently too. In it she is said to be “mentally unstable”. Also esposes her shaking down to sell influence through her husband. Is this really why Newt stepped down?
My point follows the premise that Romney is no Reagan.
Gingrich has a proven track record on how to nationalize congressional elections like no other. I don't see why he could not use his skills to both help him get elected and create coat tails.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.