Skip to comments.South Carolina Message (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 01/23/2012 1:00:39 PM PST by jazusamo
Just days before the South Carolina primary, polls showed Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich. Then came the debates and the question about Gingrich's private life, which brought a devastating response from the former Speaker of the House and a standing ovation from the audience.
Apparently the television audience felt the same way, judging by the huge turnaround in the support for Gingrich. The stunning victory in South Carolina brought Newt's candidacy back to life.
But the message from South Carolina was about more than a reaction to how Gingrich dealt with a cheap shot question from the media. Nor was it simply the Republican voters' response to Newt's mastery as a debater.
The more fundamental message is that the Republican primary voters do not want Mitt Romney, even if the Republican establishment does and it is just a question of which particular conservative alternative the voters prefer.
The successive boomlets for Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain showed the Republican voter's constant search for somebody anybody as an alternative to Romney. The splintering of the conservative vote among numerous conservative candidates allowed Romney to be the "front-runner," but he never ran far enough in front to get a majority.
Mitt Romney's supposed "electability" his acceptability to moderates and independents has been his biggest selling point. Moreover, he is just the kind of candidate that the Republican establishment has preferred for years: a nice, bland, moderate who offends nobody.
This is the kind of candidate that is supposed to be the key to victory, no matter how many such candidates have gone down to defeat. If the bland and inoffensive moderate was in fact the key to victory, Dewey would have won a landslide victory over Truman in 1948, and John McCain would have beaten Barack Obama in 2008.
Whomever the Republicans choose as their candidate is going to have to run against both Barack Obama and the pro-Obama media. Newt Gingrich has shown that he can do that. Romney? Not so much. Mitt Romney's fumbling when trying to answer the simple question of whether he would or would not release his income tax records is the kind of indecisiveness that is not going to cut it in a nationally televised debate with President Obama.
Gingrich is not just a guy who is fast and feisty on his feet. He has a depth of understanding of what issues are crucial, experience in how to deal with them and almost equally important experience in how to shoot down the petty, irrelevant and "gotcha" distractions of the media.
Does Gingrich have negative qualities? More than most. Wild statements, alienation of colleagues, reckless gambits. His use of the rhetoric of the left in attacking Bain Capital was a recent faux pas, though one that he quickly backed away from.
But if we are serious and there has seldom, if ever, been a time in the history of this nation when it was more necessary to be serious then we cannot simply add up talking points for or against a candidate. What matters is how that candidate stands on issues that can make or break the future of this country.
Polls show the public as a whole with more negative attitudes toward Gingrich than toward Romney. But negative opinions, like other opinions, are not set in stone.
If the election campaign changes the opinions of a significant minority of the anti-Gingrich voters when the alternative is Obama it will not matter how much the remainder may hate Newt.
Is this a gamble? The painful reality is that everyone in this year's field of Republican candidates is a gamble. And re-electing Barack Obama is an even bigger gamble.
Whichever candidate the Republican voters finally choose from this year's field, they are bound to have reservations, if not fears. Gingrich's worst could be worse than Romney's worst, both as a candidate and as a president. But Gingrich's best is much better than Romney's best.
Sometimes caution can be carried to the point where it is dangerous. When the Super Bowl is on the line, you don't go with the quarterback who is least likely to throw an interception. You go with the one most likely to throw a touchdown pass.
Since National Review will no longer listen to the hayseeds that oppose Romney (based on the unanimity of opinion on “The Corner”, and the fact that they disallow/delete anti-Romney comments), perhaps they will listen to Dr. Sowell.
Or, is he just another callow idealist unwilling to give an inch to capture the brain-dead political center?
I love it! Watch now as these idiots in the Republican party who now attack Gingrich and call him ‘Crazy’. I saw it all over yesterday on the Sunday shows. Christie, Coulter all of them are trying now to play the American people by calling Gingrich ‘crazy’ and ‘unelectable’ . Well to hell with the establishment. Newt will take on and win against Obama so all of you moderate idiots can go to hell.
We the people are going to choose Gingrich and if the establishment and Obama do not like it too damn bad.
This nation is about to go under and if we don’t get someone in there who can fight we might see a real revolution in a second Obama tyrannical administration.
Go Newt and never surrender. The people are with you as long as you do not give up.
Brit Hume's always wise-sounding, but this time shallow, "analysis" concluded that it was just the points in the "debates" and that "debating" won't carry the day in the November elections. Others, who clearly are trying to mold our minds to their wills, say it's just that Newt expresses our "anger," and that his "negatives" make him undesirable as a candidate.
Yes, the so-called "progressives" and their domination of education's failures have succeeded in "dumbing us down"--but not that far down.
We still, as South Carolinians proved, can think for ourselves, and we can "get" the difference between someone who can articulate the great ideas of America's Founders' Constitution and someone who has to rely on memorized phrases like "private sector," "hope of the earth," and verses from "America, the Beautiful," to fill in what should be thoughtul, substantive debate on how to defeat the ideology of Obama and save American liberty, in all its dimensions.
What American voters need between now and November is a clear articulation of the first principles underlying freedom for individuals in a society. If that can happen, then the ideas of Marx and other sources of redistribution and oppression will be exposed and rejected. Florida voters now may help to decide who has displayed a likely ability to accomplish that task.
South Carolinians decided already.
As Dr. Sowell indicates, it is a "make or break" decision for "the future of this country."
The successive boomlets for Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain showed the Republican voter’s constant search for somebody anybody as an alternative to Romney. The splintering of the conservative vote among numerous conservative candidates allowed Romney to be the “front-runner,” but he never ran far enough in front to get a majority.
Yes it is reassuring to have Dr. Sowell speak out on this wisely as he always does. I also agree with your assessment of Brit Hume, I’m very disappointed with him.
I'll have to disagree with Dr. Sowell's statement. Mitt Romney offends the crap out of me with his robotic tone and his bland spewings.
Vote Newt, boycott Coulter. Newt becomes president and Ann becomes broke. Win-win!
No Romney, no way!!
Rebellion is on!!
In other words, the complete antithesis of Ronald Wilson Reagan.
The problem is that we've gone too far down the road to economic destruction. Any attempt to roll back the Obama agenda will be met by massive protests and marches, if not rioting and killing. We will need a president who will do what's needed, not what's not too unpopular. Mitt is not the kind of person who will hold the line in the face of violent attack. Newt might.
The kind of person I would really want is Wisconsin gov Scott Walker, but he's not running.
“Mitt will not score any touchdowns, and hes trying to kneecap his competition for the starting job.”
IF he becomes the GOP nominee, Mitt is hoping that opposing QB Obama fumbles the ball in the end zone for a safety so that Mitt can win by two points he didn’t create. Mitt doesn’t have a clue how to drive the field for a score.
Add "predictable" to that.
It does appear that way.
A revisit to your "about" page brought a new appreciation for all the sacrifices that have been made across the centuries on behalf of America's founding ideas of Creator-endowed, therefore unalienable, individual liberty.
The final verse of your "Flanders Field" posting on the page should remind all of us of the dire seriousness of the Year 2012 election.
From the challenge of that lovely verse to the following quotation from John Quincy Adams, we are reminded of our own duty to understand the essential nature of liberty, of the "Blessings of Liberty" our Constitution was to protect, and of the fact that we are to be "watchmen on the walls" on behalf of future generations.
"Posterity!(that's us) You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." - John Quincy Adams
Almost certainly, we can conclude that not one of the millions who have died for our freedom risked their own lives and liberties for the sake of an overgrown, overspending coercive group of imperfect politicians in government who believe they can make better decisions for us than we can make for ourselves.
Not a 100% chance, not even a 90% or 80% chance. But still a better chance that Mitt finding the courage to do what is unpopular but necessary to turn this country around.
Well said, loveliberty2.
By both John Quincy Adams and yourself.
Callista probably understands the importance of keeping Newt's schlong under tight control.
Back in the sixties one beer was the standout favorite at roadside dives in the Carolinas, that beer sold more than all the other brands put together, in some places maybe two or three times as much as all the others together, second place was probably Budweiser and the others were “fringe candidates”. That beer was Pabst Blue Ribbon which is little known today. Playboy magazine did an article on American beers one year way back then and they selected as the best American made beer...Pabst Blue Ribbon. Did the rednecks have good taste in beer or did the Playboy judges pick the big seller? Maybe they were paid to endorse it?
I know a young man who thinks Icehouse is great beer and Budweiser is awful. I don’t get it, I think it is just considered “cool” now to knock Budweiser, the last time I checked Budweiser was something like the second most valuable brand name in the whole world. O course I pretty much quit drinking beer twenty years or so back, has something happened to Budweiser, is it different now?