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Fear of Newt on blog-team Romney

Fear of Newt on blog-team Romney

I’ve been focusing on Newt’s rise since the debates in early September, when he distinguished himself as the statesman on stage and the guy focused on the ultimate prize, defeating Obama.  While Perry and Romney squabbled, and Santorum and Bachmann tried to score points attacking Perry and Romney, Newt impressed with his knowledge and willingness not to play the moderators’ games.

Newt steadily has moved up in the polls, and now is in the top tier and moving towards the top.  To the extent Cain falters, I predict that almost all of that support will move to Newt.

Equally important, Newt is closing the gap on Obama in national polling:

Three weeks ago, Rasmussen’s poll of likely voters showed Speaker Newt Gingrich trailing President Barack Obama by a whopping 27 percentage points (51 to 24 percent) among independent voters. Now, Rasmussen shows, Obama’s lead over Gingrich has shrunk to just 6 points (41 to 35 percent) among independents. Obama also leads Gingrich by 6 points (44 to 38 percent) among all likely voters.

Newt now represents the most credible threat to Romney, so it is not surprising that Romney’s biggest supporter in the blogosphere, Jennifer Rubin, trotted out decades old charges against Newt when the Cain accusations first surfaced:

If the GOP presidential race did not already resemble a farce, we were reminded yesterday that Herman Cain is far from the only unintentional hilarious figure. Newt Gingrich, he of multiple marriages and an armful of ethics scandals, pronounced in defense of Cain: “He’s out there trying to help a country that’s in desperate trouble, and he has gotten more coverage over the last few days over gossip.” Free advice for Cain: Don’t call Gingrich as a character witness….

Dumping Cain for Gingrich would certainly be the proverbial leap from the frying pan to the fire. In a real sense, the candidate who most resembles Cain’s tone deafness, self-absorption, lack of organizational skills and hostility to criticism is Gingrich.

And again today:

It would be ironic if Gingrich, of multiple marriages and ethics violations as speaker of the House, were to benefit from Cain’s self-destruction.

It will not work.  Gingrich has done for his past indiscretions what Romney refuses to do for Romneycare:  Apologize.

People will forgive those who make mistakes, own up to them, and move on to better things.  Romney supporters will have to do better than tearing down other Republicans to unstick Romney from his 25%.

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Comments

It might move to Newt – for awhile. It’s Newt’s turn to be the preferred “not-Romney” among political junkies.

The kiddies are having fun at the circus right now — nothing more. It will be awhile before adults show up.

Unlikely Hospitalist | November 8, 2011 at 9:53 am

I have been a fan and supporter of Herman Cain since before he announced his candidacy, but the longer this campaign goes the more second thoughts I am having, and none related to allegations of sexual harassment or any other such nonsense that has come out of late. Part of me would simply love to see Herman Cain take on Barack Obama, but some element of this undoubtedly has to do with the fact that both Cain and Obama are african americans.

That having been said it is clear from the debates and extemporaneous interviews that Cain is very nearly in over his head. This isn’t the same thing as bloviating on a radio show 3 hours a day.

Gingrich, on the other hand, is always in control. Ask any question of him and he will give a reasoned, articulate, well thought out answer based on sound conservative principles. His dalliance with Nancy Pelosi, notwithstanding.

It is my prediction that if/when Cain falls, Gingrich will be there to pick up the votes as people begin to reassess, yet again, their options.

Hell, if I were a cynic, I would say that the Gingrich campaign pushed the Politico story for purely partisan political gain, but I am no cynic. I am a realist!

I don’t think Newt is behind the allegations about Cain.

However, I do think Newt may have used his longstanding friendship with Cain to propose that debate the other night.

Newt knew full well that he would win. And he could do so in a very collegial way.

If Cain’s on his way out, Newt shrewdly put himself on stage with Cain in a friendly atmosphere.

Cain’s question of Newt at the end of would Newt be his VP made me cringe.

Because I think that whole debate was a setup for Newt to rise … and possibly pick Cain as his VP.

But certainly for Newt to rise above Cain as the next notRomney.

Newt’s no political dummy.

I just don’t think he has the backbone to make the sudden and relentless reforms that are needed.

He’s a college professor, an idea man. Who always wants to be a part of the conversation, so if the discussion is AGW, he’ll sit with Nancy. If it’s national education interference, he’ll tour with Arne.

Sigh.

In the end, the Republican primary will come down to Romney vs. Conservative (or Not Romney). For a while it was Rick Perry as he announced and surged past Romney. Then it was Herman Cain. But now Cain has is becoming undone.

And when you take Cain and Perry out of the equation, all you have left is Newt. And I don’t think this is a bad thing. Newt has wandered off the reservation from time to time: ethanol, Green Conservatism, health care mandate and Paul Ryan= right wing social engineering. But it it’s between Romney and Newt, does any conservative not agree that Newt is preferable?

With regard to Newt’s “baggage”, doesn’t the 2008 election show — for good or for worse — that the public is over baggage at least one the future of the country seems in the balance. With the 2008 financial crisis, the public overlooked a hell of a lot of Obama baggage: admitted Cocaine use, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezco, a background as a “community organizer”, etc. I just don’t think it’s going to matter that much.

In the end, I’d rather go down fighting for conservative principles as articulated by Newt than try to run another mush RINO candidate against Obama as we did with McCain.

I predict that if Newt surges enough, Romney will eventually apologize. I also predict that if Romney is so scared that he is forced to apologize, it will be too late for him.

“It would be ironic if Gingrich, of multiple marriages and ethics violations as speaker of the House, were to benefit from Cain’s self-destruction.”

Oh my, it appears Jennifer Rubins is one of those ‘uptight puritanical moralizers imposing the purity test’ upon Republicans.

When will these ‘purists’ come to their senses? Afterall, everyone knows that not supporting their smooth-talking, flip-flopping, unprincipled supporter of global warming fraudsters Harvard-snot Mitt Romney means hating Mormons.

Gingrich and Cain are benefiting from being the only two Republicans who refuse to play by the rules laid out by the Democrats and their MSM toadies. This Republican weakness is something that Mark Steyn addresses in his new book “After America”.

The GOP weakness is rooted in fear. Fear of offending liberals. Fear of offending Democrats. Fear of upsetting the MSM. That is why even when Republicans get elected into majority, they fail to seize power.

Another major weakness Steyn points out is the fact that although 40-50% or more of Republicans claim to be conservatives or right of center, mostly vote liberal. Nose holders.

It’s a mental problem all around. But it helps if we can find candidates who dare to refuse to play by the establishment rules.

What still causes Newt problems though are the somewhat credible accusations that this is more of a book tour than a presidental run. There are times where he seems just not to care, dredge up those early false starts and it could be trouble.
Also I think it’s just generally unliked by the 45-55 crowd that saw him drug though the mud during the Clinton Gov’t shutdown. Huge potential voting block.

The MSM want to beatup somebody, so I say we keep supporting Cain in the polls until at least the first primary, no matter what they write in the papers. Sort of a “Operation Chaos.”

If it’s a choice between Newt and Romney, I will pick Newt. After ABO comes ABR. However, if by some fluke Romney the nominee, I will hold my nose and vote for him. After all, I was prepared to do that for McCain until Palin became his VP. I was happy to vote for him then. Too bad Palin opted out. I would be 100% for her if she had run.

One of the reasons I despise the media so much is because of what they did to Palin.

Wow. Did Legal Insurrection just write off Cain?

“…Gingrich has done for his past indiscretions what Romney refuses to do for Romneycare:  Apologize.”

An apology from a conservative is worth a hill of beans to a media bent on every candidate’s destruction. Tragic how some think the media will let Newt glide into the nominee.

For the record + when it comes down to it…. I’ll work to get the final nominee and (not-Obama) candidate elected.

That said this Primary is careening out of course. And I’m dismayed with this constant and undue emphasis on Newt’s policy knowledge and debating skill as the singular virtue needed to beat Obama. I personally don’t think Newt debates as much as he has a habit of correcting and reprimanding his opponents. And I would like nothing more than to see Obama get dressed down. But the ugly fact is that there’s a sizeable swing market that will watch the debate with the volume off.

And while a lot has been said about Cain’s inexperienced in handling the press; can anyone show me an example of when Newt has managed to keep his How-Dare-You-Question-the-Professor-Scowl in checked when he’s backed into a corner?

    Conrad in reply to Aucturian. | November 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I don’t think Cain’s problem is “inexperience in handling the press,” it’s that he apparently doesn’t have the depth of knowledge to handle substantive questions on a lot of important topics (e.g., “right of return,” abortion, the threat of China developing a nuclear capability, deferring to the generals on what to do with Afghanistan). Ultimately, people vote for the candidate they’re most comfortable with. A lot of conservatives seem to really want to see Cain get the nomination just to see him debate Obama, but what if he wins? Do you really think he’s the right guy to be managing some kind of foreign policy crisis? I have my concerns about Newt’s electability, but, in terms of being president, I’d take him in a heartbeat over Cain.

      The Executive role isn’t that of a Specialist; anymore than I would expect the CEO of my company to have a working knowledge of every function in the company. He is expected to be a good enough generalist to assemble a team of good specialists.

      Conservatives have such fickle standards! Not too long ago, everyone valued ‘executive experience’ and ‘real world/business experience’ in contrast to Mr. Teleprompter’s zero experience in neither. Many championed Palin on those grounds and overlooked her cursory knowledge of ‘policy’ and weakness in articulating them. But we liked Palin because she was not a ‘beltway republican’ and was a poke in the eye at the intelligentsia on both the left & right.

        Conrad in reply to Aucturian. | November 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm

        I agree a president should be a “generalist.” I don’t think a president should be an ignoramus. They are two different things.

        Also, I do value executive experience. However, it’s not the only qualification.

        Ideally, a candidate should have a proven record of executive experience, which Palin had and Obama didn’t. Ideally, a candidate should have experience in government as well as in the “real world.” Again, Palin had it; Obama didn’t. Cain has executive experience, but not in government. I could live with that if I thought he was sufficiently conversant in public policy matters, especially foreign affairs and military. But he clearly isn’t.

CenterRightMargin | November 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I would love to see a Newt vs. Romney primary contest. Both men are very smart. What Romney has on Newt is (1) experience as an government executive {Governor); (2) more private sector experience; and, most importantly, (3) more personal discipline.

What Newt has on Romney is being more authentically fiscally conservative, and being bolder.

What Romney really needs to do, though, is come out swinging as a “fighting” moderate. Acknowledge that if people want big, bold proposals in the Conservative direction, he’s probably not their guy. But then remind them that (1) people don’t really like big change, (2) to make conservative things happen, you need to win the election and propose changes that the majority of people are comfortable with, and that don’t outrage too many people, and (3) that he has a record of being a “steer the boat, not rock the boat” conservative who will get actual reforms passed, instead proposing big ideas that in the end don’t go anywhere.

He should contrast himself with Obama, who doesn’t listen to the heart of the country.

Then the choice for Republicans becomes an interesting one: do you pick the boldest contrast with Obama on ideology (commercial with Nancy Pelosi on global warming not-withstanding – his own flip-flop, moreso than Romney, even), or do you pick the boldest contrast with Obama on legislative approach – more incrementalist and more seeking to ensure that the will of the public is represented (notwithstanding core ideology) and that the vast majority can at least live with any pushed legislation (or, in Obama’s case, regulations).

In either case, you’d have an opponent for the President who should cream him in debates.

    I think a better strategy for Mitt would be not to present it as an ideological choice at all (conservative vs. moderate) but rather as a matter of which candidate is best equipped to rescue the country from the brink of collapse during the next four years. I think he’s trying to frame the question this way to some extent, e.g., calling himself a turnaround specialist. He can de-emphasize ideology as such by saying,”Look, we’re on a collision course, and the only things that are going to save the U.S. are x, y, and z” (with “x” being repeal of Obamacare, “y” being undoing a bunch of regulations, etc.). Romney may be instinctively moderate in a number of ways, but his list of x, y and z are going to be pretty damn similar to Newt’s or Perry’s or Cain. So then if you’re a conservative voter who thinks the country is more or less in crisis already (IOW, if you agree with Mitt’s premise), then it’s only logical to ask, well which one of these guys is first-of-all most electable, and secondly has the experience, political skill, and judgment needed to get x, y, and z done? OTOH, if you simply make it a choice of “vote for me, I’m a ‘moderate,'” then in a GOP primary Mitt would lose every time.

      CenterRightMargin in reply to Conrad. | November 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      I don’t necessarily disagree, but to the extent I do, it’s because from my friends who are looking for “anyone but Mitt,” the driving force behind that is that they don’t trust him because they don’t think he has a core. “Turnaround artist” appeals to the mind, but I don’t think it answer the emotional, gut-level question of “who is this guy and what does he stand for?” And I think, in order to win the primary (and certainly the general election), Gov. Romney needs to answer that. Even if that means that there’s a big chance that he loses the primary (because that chances exists, anyways). If you are going to lose, might as well lose being yourself.

If it comes down to Gingrich v. Romney, I’ll be stomping for Gingrich.

What is the divide between Romney and the non Romney’s anyway? What’s Romney’s appeal to his supporters that will make them go out of their way for him? I’ve always compared it to the zeal that Obama’s supporters always have.

    Malonth in reply to Justin. | November 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    The zeal for Romney springs from the Republican establishment. The establishment knew Romney had serious flaws and that is why there was a major press by the establishment to get Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie to enter the Republican primary. But neither of these guys would join the race so now the establishment is all in for Romney, just the way we conservatives might go all in for Newt or Perry some day in the future.

    At the heart of the establishment are the former Bush staffers like Carl Rove. I see Rove on Fox once in while, it is amazing how openly he cheers for Romney. But whenever one of the other candidates gets brought up, Rove’s fangs come out.

    CenterRightMargin in reply to Justin. | November 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I lean Romney. I think his appeal is about winning, and specifically winning over the blue & purple states where more full-throated conservatism tends to scare too many of the suburbanites off – and thus put the race within the margin of fraud.

    Romney’s relative discipline (he doesn’t say or do anything too stupid on the campain trail), his intelligence, his ability to generally look and sound Presidential, along with his financing and experience all are plusses in his corner.

    And his “mushy-moderateness” is a plus along those lines, too, in that he doesn’t scare Massachussets and California folk into thinking that he’s the devil (Scott Brown is similar). While there’s no chance of winning Mass. or CA., there is a chance that having a Romney (as opposed to, say, a Santorum or Bachman) on the ticket gives enough comfort to NY, Boston and CA transplants in purple states like Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado that Obama suddenly has to play a lot of defense, everywhere. A moderate like Mitt is acceptable to lots of people, including the cultures of states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, etc.

    Mitt’s weakness is a lack of authenticity. Nobody is sure “what Mitt really believes.” Which is why my advice to Governor Romney would be to come out “swinging” as a conservative-temperment moderate – Let conservativism, in moderation, and keeping the constituents comfortable be the message. I think that *is* Romney’s core – generally conservative, both fiscally and pro-family values / culturally, but in a non-pushy, “let’s not rock the boat” kind of way. If the Party doesn’t want that this time, that’s fine. But I think getting an authentic message from Romney (and I think that’s it) would go a long way in making the party be willing to vote for him in the primary.

      I agree with this to some extent. Granted, Rove and others seem to like Mitt in PART because they think his moderate-ness makes him more saleable to the general election voters. However, as you touched upon, part of Mitt’s appeal is just that he’s really good at being a candidate. Personally, I wish Mitt were a lot more conservative than he is, but all of the candidates who are more conservative seem to have huge flaws AS candidates. So for people like me, who don’t think of themselves as “establishment” Republicans at all, Romney nevertheless seems like a pretty reasonable choice for this particular election.

      This is what we are always told by the establishment: you need to run a RINO in order to win any light blue/purple states. Where does this wisdom come from? The only time in my lifetime that we have run a true conservative, who by the way had to fight the establishment every step of the way, was Reagan and that led to two LANDSLIDE elections. Against Mondale, I believe the gipper took 49 states.

      In contrast, the mushy-middle, aka RINO, approach has had little success. In fact, we just tried it here in California with Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. We now have Gov. Brown (again!) and Sen. Boxer (again!). We just tried it in ’08 with McCain and we now have Obama. Gerald Ford was also a great RINO and promptly lost to Jimmy Carter.

      Which brings me to the Bush family. H.W., on the heels of Reagan, won a first turn, then went wobbly with a thousand points of light and higher taxes and lost to Bill Clinton, missing out on a second turn. W got two terms and was so disastrous that he lost both houses of Congress and, ultimately the presidency to Obama. Nice going!!

      And let’s be honest here, but for Ralph Nader, W would have lost to Al Gore in 2000.

      The problem with the Mushy-middle candidates is that it is not clear what the distinction between them and their liberal opponent is. I’m guessing that if Romney gets the nod, he will make a mad dash to the center/left for the general election. The Tea Party will be to Romney what Code Pink is to Obama: where are they going to go.

        CenterRightMargin in reply to Malonth. | November 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

        I don’t think that’s the right lesson from the elections.

        1. But for Ross Perot, GHWB wins a 2nd term, no Bubba. Perot took a lot more votes away from Bush than he did from Clinton.

        2. Mondale was a hard liberal. Jimmy Carter was a miserable failure. Reagan had moderated his tone and rhetoric somewhat by that time, and had the advantage (against Mondale) of the boom.

        3. George H.W. Bush was always mushy middle, but still beat the pants off of Dukakis.

        4. George W. Bush, for his 2nd term, was painted as the most conservative man in the world, except for his puppet masters, Darth Vader VP Cheney and Karl “the Brain” Rove. It was a close election against Kerry – and not due to Bush’s “moderateness” but due to the Iraq War.

        5. The real lesson is that “coolness” counts. Dorks don’t win elections. That’s what the left learned, picking Barry over Hillary. Dukakis, Kerry, Al Gore were really phoney, beta males. Bill, George W., Reagan, and, yes, Barry… Alphas. Mitt is not really a Beta (see, for example, his spat with Perry), but because he lacks authenticity, it’s not clear that he’s an Alpha, either. Alphas aren’t afraid to be themselves (then again, was Barry himself in ’08?)Perry is the biggest Alpha in the group.

        6. McCain was an alpha back in the day… but in 2008 he was just old, against a blank slate candidate who rode the perfect wave of Bush fatigue, economic catastrophe, a national search for racial redemption, and an unethical, deceitful JournoList media willing to sell out and be his “unofficial campaign headquarters.”

          There’s always an excuse when the mushy-middle loses, and if Romney is the nominee, there will be an epitaph for his loss as well, probably it will say “those damn conservatives sunk Romney’s hopes in the primary!”

          So after the Tea Party, after the rallys, after the 2010 election, we conservatives are going to accept a liberal Republican as our standard bearer? The guy that enacted Obamacare in Massachusetts? Romney the guy who’s demagoguery of social security would make Chuck Schumer happy? Not bloody likely! Go to http://notmittromney.com/

        CenterRightMargin in reply to Malonth. | November 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

        Do last night’s results, particularly out of Mississippi, impact your views at all? Ohio was a result of effective fear mongering of the left, and the right not putting in nearly enough effort to combat the smears and demagogary. But Mississippi’s rejection of an anti abortion measure, NJ retaining all of their Democrats, and Democrats picking up seats in purple to lean-blue state and local elections… that should get the Right’s attention.

        We can’t afford 4 more years of Obama. An unleased EPA destroying business. The NLRB and FLRA ensuring that the Union bosses are in charge of business and government at home, sacrificing efficiency for lining their pockets and protecting the worst of the worst. Super liberal judges for decades.

        Is that what you want?

        We can’t afford a Christine O’Donnell or even a Sharon Angle. Even the appearance of overreach plays into the “be afraid” narrative that is the only play left in the President’s book.

        Whoever runs in the national election, they need to be able to do three things: (1) be reasonable likeable/ Presidential, (2) have a credible and coherent message that’s more conservative than Obama, and (3) NOT SCARE the lean-blues and purple peoples. You need ALL THREE. Right now, Romney is the closest, though he needs to work on his likeableness and his credibility by being more assertively a MODERATE-conservative. You win being who you are.

[…] Prof. Jacobson: I’ve been focusing on Newt’s rise since the debates in early September, when he distinguished himself as the statesman on stage and the guy focused on the ultimate prize, defeating Obama. While Perry and Romney squabbled, and Santorum and Bachmann tried to score points attacking Perry and Romney, Newt impressed with his knowledge and willingness not to play the moderators’ games. […]

So does it look more like Mit/Newt 2012, or Perry/Romney? I really do like them all, as long as they remember who they will be running against next November and abide by Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

I think there are more Cain-Newt “Debates” planned!!! I prefer watching them on a real TV since my PC is a vintage Pentium III Departmental Server and any video comes out as a “Max Headroom” stutter.

From the LI Blogroll Protein Wisdom had a very good http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=31877

Donald Douglas | November 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I’m not that hip on Gingrich, but Dorothy Rabinowitz is. See: ‘Newt Gingrich Could Win the GOP Nomination? Newt Gingrich!’.

[…] got that Bruce Campbell thing going, though, so at least the presentation looks swell.Enter Newt. William Jacobson deftly rebuts Jennifer Rubin’s efforts at recycling anti-Newt charges:It will not work. […]

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