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“I’m the comeback grandparent.”

“I’m the comeback grandparent.”

I’ve said it before, it’s not enough to be a “not” candidate.  Not being Barack Obama is not enough, and not being Mitt Romney is not enough.  Any candidate who is to win the nomination and the general election is going to have to inspire, not merely be the default candidate.

The polls show strength for Newt Gingrich, although polls are somewhat inconsistent as to the breadth of that strength.  But there also is plenty of anecdotal evidence of an energy growing around Newt’s campaign.

At a town hall in Naples, Florida, yesterday, the crowd was overflowing.  As reported by a national news media reporter who follows the Gingrich campaign, the event had to be moved to a larger room which could accomodate 450 people, and even that larger room was not enough as monitors had to be set up outside for the overflow crowd.  (Image here.)

The crowd was enthusiastic, as reflected in this television report:

While we often speak of the youth vote, it’s the not youth vote which turns out in big numbers, and in Florida Newt may have hit on a winning theme:

After three years of youth and inexperience resulting in the Obama economic stagnation and national decline, I think the nation may be in the mood for a comeback grandparent.


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DINORightMarie | November 26, 2011 at 9:10 am

This is encouraging, to those of us who think Newt has the statesmanship, ability, and vision to make the necessary immediate corrections for our country.

Conservatives need to see that it is not bad to think Newt as the Republican nominee. We have a LONG, HARD ROAD ahead.

This is just the first step. And he has a good, solid plan, and the ability to convey it – with inspiring words, solid facts, contagious energy.

    DINORightMarie in reply to DINORightMarie. | November 26, 2011 at 9:14 am

    For those who appreciate Glenn Beck, here is a link to a speech he made in Florida at a David Horowitz gathering. (No Beck bashing, please. He has been right before……)

    If anything he predicts is even close to what’s coming in 2012, we need a solid statesman with experience on what he does, why he is doing it, and where he sees the future taking America. And we need it NOW.

Two questions:

What about Newt’s endorsement of Dede Scozafazza?

What about Newt’s characterization of Paul Ryan’s budget plan (which only slows the train heading to the washed out bridge not stop it) as “right wing social engineering”.

I don’t care about his concern for global warming. That was a long time ago, relatively speaking.

    Ronin in reply to Con Ed. | November 26, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Hi Con Ed – Those are legitimate questions, particularly when phrased in the non-histrionic way you phrased them.

    My understanding is that the Dede endorsement was a knee-jerk thing. Newt’s assumption was that the GOP voters had chosen her, and he then concluded that all the complaining about her must have been sour grapes, which negativity would be counter-productive in winning the seat (hence his rather insulting tone at the time). Subsequently, he understood that his assumption was wrong – she was selected by the machine, as it were – and so his conclusion was wrong. He apologized, for what it’s worth.

    I actually think Newt’s reaction to Ryan’s budget plan has been misunderstood. At first I thought he was trying to weasel out of a gaffe, but if a gaffe is accidentally telling the truth, it wasn’t a gaffe. It was more like an unhelpful remark at a time when GOP big shots should have closing ranks around the Ryan plan.

    By which I mean this: What Newt was saying was not that he didn’t approve of the plan; what he was doing was being a bit too professorial. He was saying that he wouldn’t railroad the plan through in the absence of popular support. In other words, what he meant by “right wing social engineering” was not the content of the plan itself, but the thought that the plan should be pushed through no matter what. So, what he was attempting to do was reassure voters that the GOP was not going to be ramming controversial legislation down the throats of the American people, in contrast to the Democrats. He clearly was being too clever by half, but that being said, I still think his remarks have been unfairly characterized.

    I’m sure, anyway, there’s a way to go check out the interview on youtube and see what you think. I don’t think I’m biased, though, because even though I’m a Newt supporter now, at the time I was anything but – yet even then I thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

    In sum, critics of Newt can take what I’ve said and continue to view it as part of the larger set of liabilities we get with him – his tendency to fire off opinions imprudently and get into hot water. There’s something to that, of course. On the other hand, we shouldn’t take a few understandable mistakes and turn them into disqualifiers, as some have done (there are surely other mistakes Newt has made that would be more plausible disqualifiers).

    Just my two cents.

DINORightMarie: Thanks for the link to Glen Beck. He is like the prophet Jeremiah. Beck looks around and sees the what-should-be-obvious. Like Jeremiah, Beck is mocked for saying that this doesn’t look good.

Newt is an interesting case. He’s clearly among the most articulate, well informed spokesmen for conservatism, can really make the conservative argument as well as anyone. He knows all the history, the back ground, the people, etc… A wonk on the level of a Clinton, and I’d say probably more knowledgable than Clinton at leat when it comes to the history and particularly military/political history. It’d be nice for once for conservatives/Republicans to have the smart guy in the race.

He has real achievements, bipartisan achievements, balanced the budget, cut spending, and was largely responsible for the policies taht helped the economy take off in the mid to late 90s.

And yet…He has more baggage than the Saudi royal family on their way to Marbella for the summer. Personal baggage, political baggage, all kinds of baggage. I suspect his secret service codename would be Samsonite or Louis Vuitton.

He hearkens back to the 90s and is 70 years old, just the type of guy the young and vigorous Obama would love to run against. From his role in the shutdown and admitting he caused it because he was upset about sitting in the back of air force one to resigning in disgrace after even his own party lost confidence in him, we all know the story.

If he didn’t have all that baggage he’d be great. But he does.

That said, for someone who considers Romney not an acceptable choice, there isn’t much out there. Cain just doesn’t measure up in terms of being informed and ready. Perry had his moments and has a good record, but that debate moment was painful. It’d be tough to chance him against Obama and I think that moment may have cemented him with the public. Bachmann has her plusses, but that lack of experience, of leadership, etc… worries me.

Newt is a historical figure in the conservative movement and the GOP. He’s already done more for it than just about anyone living. When Newt was leading the conservative revolution in 1994 Mitt Romney was proudly boasting that he wasn’t even a Republican during the Reagan era and didn’t want to return to the Reagan era. That’s all you really need to know.

I’d love to see Newt challenge Obama to those 7 Lincoln-Douglas debates and then see Obama demur and come off looking scared.

It’s a tough quandary. I just wish he didn’t have the baggage and had more of a chance vs Obama. I think if the economy remains bad anyone will have a good chance. I don’t think anyone will do a better job of making the conservative argument than Newt. If he loses at least he’ll have the case, the people will have heard it, and if they still want Obama and his failed policies…well, that’s democracy. I don’t think they will after Newt gets through with him.

Lets see how he handles being in the lead, and the latest issue over immigration. Lets wait until Dec 15 or so. If he’s still in the lead at that point nationally and in IA, I think he has a very good shot.

If beating Romney is important, though, I think by that point anyone not at 10% in IA or in 4th place or below in IA or nationally should drop out. Romney has a chance if conservatives split their vote. If it comes down to Newt vs Romney in IA, Newt wins(as would Perry, Bachmann, Cain, etc…) But if by mid Dec Newt is clearly ahead, the others should step aside and ensure that Romney loses.(Same for Newt if one of them emerges as the frontrunner)

PS: Re his comments on Ryan/ I think they were mischaracterized somewhat. He was just saying that the dems and Obama paid a huge price because they enacted a huge social policy that the majority of the country opposed and did it without GOP support. He was warning the GOP that to just go ahead and push through Ryan’s plan on a party line vote without dem support, without public support, would be just as dangerous for the GOP and lead to the same result. Which is true, I believe.

    The issue of Newt’s personal baggage is always brought up as a problem. While it may be a problem in calmer times, I don’t think it is now. I honestly believe that if Obama is reelected the nation is politically doomed. If that is the view of many people, balancing Newt’s personal shortcomings against ruination of our country, the personal baggage will be of little consequence. Several polls have Newt in front in IA. I’d always heard that Iowan conservative Christian caucus goers are the most influential block, e.g., Huckabee. It looks like they forgave and forgot.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 26, 2011 at 11:02 am

Check out the recent Huntsman surge on Intrade. He was only about a 2% longshot a couple fo weeks ago. Now he’s up to 8%. It’s a thin market. Perhaps is somehow being manipulated, not sure. But when people are backing their opinions with cold hard cash, it’s worth noticing.

Similar story with your boy, Newt. Big surge the last couple of weeks. The Intrade betters put his probability of winning the presidency at 16% as of today.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | November 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

    So have you placed your bets on Hunstman? Btw, I put little stock in Intrade, while many people claim it is a leading indicator, I’ve always found it to be a lagging indicator. It can move very quickly.

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to William A. Jacobson. | November 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      No, I have made no bets. Intrade is just another data point that I periodically track, just like the polls.

      I figure the people who bet on Intrade fall into one of two broad categories: 1) degenerate gamblers who will bet on almost anything because they crave the action; and 2) staffers, pollsters, strategists, and other experts who think they have an edge on information that the general public does not have. I don’t fit into either category.

So, with 26 states taking ObamaCare to the Supreme Court over the mandate, Newt sides with the opposition in favor of a mandate?

So, how much of a “not Romney” or “not Obama” is Newt?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to mdw9661. | November 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Not quite. He and Heritage Foundation and other conservatives at one time considered a mandate, but then moved away from it long ago. Romney stands by it on the state level.

      If you recall, Romney reminded Newt of his interest in the mandate in a recent debate and Newt sheepishly acknowledged it.

      Heritage moved off the mandate years ago, but Newt supported his position for a mandate for those earning over $50,000 during his May 15, 2011, appearance on Meet The Press:

      MR. GREGORY: What you advocate there is precisely what President Obama did with his healthcare legislation, is it not?

      REP. GINGRICH: No, it’s not precisely what he did. In, in the first place, Obama basically is trying to replace the entire insurance system, creating state exchanges, building a Washington-based model, creating a federal system. I believe all of us–and this is going to be a big debate–I believe all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care. I think the idea that…

      MR. GREGORY: You agree with Mitt Romney on this point.
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      REP. GINGRICH: Well, I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay–help pay for health care. And, and I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond…

      MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

      REP. GINGRICH: …or in some way you indicate you’re going to be held accountable.

      MR. GREGORY: But that is the individual mandate, is it not?

      REP. GINGRICH: It’s a variation on it.

        William A. Jacobson in reply to mdw9661. | November 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

        Listen to the debate carefully, Newt was cut off in the middle of his answer. As to Newt’s position on a mandate, the “variation” would be that people accept responsibily to pay their own bills if they choose not to have insurance and could have afforded insurance. Why should taxpayers pick up the bill for people who could have afforded insurance coverage? Is that so wrong? That’s a far cry from the Obamacare or Romneycare mandates..

          Good grief, professor. Next you’re going to have me play the Beatles song backwards to hear that “the Walrus is dead”

          “accept responsibility” is that mandatory?

          “Newt Gingrich has had a tough time during this presidential campaign discussing the individual mandate. Republicans—especially tea partiers—tend to consider the individual mandate (which compels people to obtain health insurance) the worst part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. For them, it is a symbol of Obama’s big-government, anti-freedom, socialistic ways. And Gingrich has been tap-dancing around this issue for months. Last May, he said he supported “some requirement” to “have insurance,” but quickly afterward issued a campaign video declaring he was “completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals.” In a recent debate, he acknowledged that he had endorsed the individual mandate in the early 1990s, but claimed he had done so only as a tactical maneuver in opposition to Hillary Clinton​’s health care proposal at the time. The clear implication: that was then, now I don’t. But yesterday, I reported that his for-profit health policy outfit, the Center for Health Transformation, has for years pushed a health care plan that would, according to the group’s website, “require that anyone who earms more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond.” In other words, an individual mandate.”

          Dancing on the head of a pin?

          William A. Jacobson in reply to mdw9661. | November 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm

          You can keep repeating yourself, but it doesn’t change the difference between (1) what a Newt affiliated think tank says might work is not necessarily his position as to what he would advocate as president, and (2) his concept of individual responsibility is not the same as a mandate wherein the government uses its police powers to punish people. Now it’s time for you to call me names again. I’ve made full disclosure on who I support, how about you explain who you support since every time there is a Newt post you try to dominate the comments. Enlighten us.

        Milhouse in reply to mdw9661. | November 27, 2011 at 2:06 am

        “Or post a bond” is not a mandate. It’s just a guarantee that you’ll pay your bills. Accepting responsibility for your own bills is of course not a mandate! How can you make that comparison with a straight face?

        “require that anyone who earms more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond.” In other words, an individual mandate.”

        Just because some idiot journalist says “in other words” doesn’t make it so. Where’s the mandated purchase of insurance if you have the option of not doing so?

      As CNN host Anderson Cooper noted the time had expired, the crowd began to boo. Romney was given a few more seconds to respond, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich added his voice to the criticism of Romney’s health care plan.

      “Your plan essentially is one more big government bureaucratic high cost system which candidly could not have been done by any other state because no other state had a Medicare program as lavish as yours, and no one got a grant from the Bush administration for this experiment,” Gingrich charged.

      “Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you,” Romney replied.

      “You did not get that from me,” Gingrich insisted. “You got it from the Heritage Foundation.”

      “And you never supported it?” Romney asked.

      “I absolutely did — with the Heritage Foundation — against Hillarycare,” Gingrich admitted.

      “OK, that’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation,” Romney concluded.


      In that 11th Circuit appeal, which is almost certainly headed to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department cited Heritage as an authority in support of its position. Heritage responded with an amicus brief explaining that its view had changed:

      If citations to policy papers were subject to the same rules as legal citations, then the Heritage position quoted by the Department of Justice would have a red flag indicating it had been reversed. . . . Heritage has stopped supporting any insurance mandate.

      Heritage policy experts never supported an unqualified mandate like that in the PPACA [ObamaCare]. Their prior support for a qualified mandate was limited to catastrophic coverage (true insurance that is precisely what the PPACA forbids), coupled with tax relief for all families and other reforms that are conspicuously absent from the PPACA. Since then, a growing body of research has provided a strong basis to conclude that any government insurance mandate is not only unnecessary, but is a bad policy option. Moreover, Heritage’s legal scholars have been consistent in explaining that the type of mandate in the PPACA is unconstitutional.

He ultimately resigned his congressional seat in November of 1998, after the GOP lost five House seats and he faced a leadership challenge.

“His tenure as speaker was turbulent, to put it mildly,” said Jack Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College who grew acquainted with Gingrich in the 1980s. “You’re not going to get a huge number of endorsements from people who actually served under him. Their memories are very mixed.”

Gingrich became Speaker in 1994 after Republicans won 54 seats in the House and took control of the lower chamber for the first time in 40 years. But his tenure only lasted four years.

His leadership style and personality helped lead to the coup that ultimately resulted in his resignation. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that those traits could hurt him going forward.

“He’s a guy of 1,000 ideas, and the attention span of a one-year-old,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told The Hill in April, before saying he would not endorse Gingrich. “His discipline and his attention to any individual thing is not his strong suit.”

Former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.), one of the members of the Republican leadership who tried to push Gingrich out, said the former speaker was better at coming up with ideas than implementing them.

“I don’t think that the skill set he brings to the table is the skill set of a successful presidency,” Paxon told The Hill in April.

    JayDick in reply to mdw9661. | November 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

    As I recall, the allegations that led to his resignation were not sustained.

    Newt is controversial, no doubt. But, I think he handles the controversy and adversity better than other candidates.

    In any event, the only alternative that seems capable of beating Obama is Romney. Is that who you prefer?

      mdw9661 in reply to JayDick. | November 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      “allegations where not sustained” — What is that?

      There was no adjudication process where the allegations went through any type of sustain or unsustainable procedure.

      The article pertains to why Newt is getting no love from those who previously worked with him in Congress while Romney gets a number of endorsements (for the record, I would vote to nomination Newt over Romney for the nomination and ABO in the general).

      Newt handles the controversy by saying what each audience wants to hear. While in Naples FL he touts his being a grandparent at a location known for grandparents. On CNN, known for a more liberal viewership, he touts his amnesty plan, etc.

      He is as much a shape-shifter as Romney.

        holmes tuttle in reply to mdw9661. | November 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        I wouldn’t call touting being a grandparent in Naples, FL being a shapeshifter.

        He is a grandparent. Naples has a large senior population and lots of grandparents, as does the state of Florida as a whole. They are a key voting bloc both in the primary and in the general.

        Newt was simply identifying with the audience and crowd, something any good politician does. He was also making a joke and playing off one of Bill Clinton’s famous lines when he called himself the Comeback Kid in NH and used that to propel himself to the nomination.

        So, Newt was showing he has a sense of humor and a good memory in tying himself back to Clinton, his old nemesis and tormentor.

        It’s not really a big deal, just a cute throwaway line.

        If Newt is going to win the nomination and win FL he’s going to need strong support among seniors and if he’s going to beat Obama he’s going to need even stronger support among them. Seniors are the most anti-Obama bloc out there. So, telling them he’s one of them, as opposed to the younger Obama, is perfectly normal.

        His immigration plan isn’t amnesty. It’s not 100% in line with Tom Tancredo, but it’s not amnesty. It’s further to the right than either Bush or Obama have gone, further than any GOP nominee has gone. Amnesty is never passing Congress anyway regardless of who the President is so there’s really no need to worry about it. Newt will sign whatever tough border security measures pass Congress.

        He supports the fence, everify, troops on the border. all the tough measures out there. He doesn’t support citizenship or a path to citizenship. He supports requiring every illegal alien to leave the country before they can apply for worker’s permits. He does support some form of legalization for those hear for 25+ years but of the 12M currently here the vast, vast majority don’t fall within that. So, in effect, he supports the deportation/removal of millions of illegals, of the vast majority of them. Far more than Bush or McCain ever supported. Far, far more than Obama supports.

        No, he’s not pure on the issue, but he’s an improvement over the current policy. Also, as I said, given the Congress no real immigration bill will ever pass so this is all a waste of time. The dems will always filibuster any really tough bill. We’d need like 65+ Republicans to make up for the McCain types, and that won’t happen. Likewise, the GOP will always filibuster any amnesty bill. If Obama couldn’t pass immigration with 60+ dems in the Senate, 260+ in the House, and 60% approval ratings, it’ll never pass. So, don’t worry about it. Amnesty or anything close to it will never happen.

        JayDick in reply to mdw9661. | November 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm

        There were official ethics complaints. Upon investigation, only one very minor one was sustained; the others were not.

Barak Obama is no spring chicken. He’s just a red diaper baby that never learned how to think for himself.

Newt Gingrinch looks good for 68. When I read his age, I thought it was a typo. He doesn’t come across as “old” at all.

I don’t know if it would work as campaign strategy, but maybe Gingrinch pat should himself on the back a little in getting Clinton to rein in government spending and help the economy grow. That’s the only way I could see him getting somewhere.

Right now, the economy is the most critical issue, but none of the candidates seem able to speak directly to it, aside from Cain who got the ball rolling.