As you know, I’ve been inching closer towards Newt as the not-Romney. I don’t believe being not-Romney is enough, and of all the remaining candidates, I believe that Newt has the ability to articulate a vision of this country which establishes him as the candidate to take on Barack Obama even if there were no Romney to not be.
The media and Republican establishment chewed on Sarah Palin for three years. She was one tough cookie who could have been a contender, but decided her efforts were best elsewhere.
They chewed through Michele Bachmann in a few weeks, and Rick Perry (who was something of a self-chewer) in a few debate nights. Now they’re onto Herman Cain, who is feeding the beast with a series of self-inflicted responsive and policy flubs.
Santorum, Huntsman, Paul and Johnson are not chew-worthy as far as the media and establishment Republicans are concerned.
Which leaves us with Newt. He’s been chewed on for so long that his endurance is admirable.
The College Board and News Corp. sponsored a forum on education with four GOP presidential candidates last week, and the runaway winner was Newt Gingrich….
[Bachmann, Santorum and Cain] stuck mainly to their talking points, but Mr. Gingrich kept the crowd of 1,000 or so engaged and entertained with a wide-ranging tutorial on everything from the failures of “L.A. Unified” to Jeb Bush’s Florida “virtual school.” The session was a reminder of Mr. Gingrich’s knowledge of government and rhetorical skills, which were overwhelmed by his early campaign missteps.
This is an unusual primary season, however, and the question is whether voters will now give Mr. Gingrich another look. The former House speaker’s allies think so. They say Ms. Bachmann and Rick Perry can’t come back, Herman Cain will fade as his national sales tax gets broader scrutiny, and neither Mr. Santorum nor Jon Huntsman has attracted much voter support. That leaves Mr. Gingrich to emerge from Iowa as the main challenger to Mitt Romney. Even if Mr. Romney wins New Hampshire, the campaign then becomes a two-man race heading into South Carolina and Florida, where Mr. Gingrich’s debating talents and conservative agenda will contrast with Mr. Romney’s poll-driven caution.
I”m not quite there yet, but Newt’s gravitational pull is becoming stronger not weaker as time goes by.
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