The rise and rise of Newt Gingrich
For now we are witnessing, or should I say re-witnessing, the rise and rise of Newt Gingrich. As Cain implodes, Newt picks up more and more of his supporters.
The GOP rank and file likes this veteran prize fighter, who relishes the Washington arena. After Cain, the quintessential outsider, who was untarnished by beltway bile, they have come to realise the appeal of a candidate who can deliver political punches and not just promises as bland as a Godfather’s margarita pizza.
At this stage the number of Republicans who are prepared to forgive Newt his faults is rising. It helps that he found God after he found his third wife. He converted to Catholicism and made that journey from sin to redemption that American voters see as reassuring proof of humanity.
But the fact that Newt Gingrich, whose campaign was running out of money, people and the will to live in the summer, is now in poll position also illustrates the Republicans’ problem. The party still can’t find the right candidate in an election with huge stakes, which should be theirs to lose.
Mitt Romney, the Mormon who seems beyond sin and thus redemption, still can’t capture the imagination of more than 20 per cent of the GOP. He is too bland and as monogamous in marriage as he has been promiscuous in his policies.
No one knows what the real Mitt Romney stands for and that is a fatal charge in a presidential campaign. Just ask Senator John Kerry, who was branded a flip flopper in 2004 and lost against George W Bush. The fear is that Obama will make mincemeat of Mitt.
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And yet they may still end up nominating Romney next summer to lead the Republican ticket, having exhausted all the other possibilities. That includes Newt Gingrich … whose ego, excess and lack of an inner filter have always been his Achilles heel. It is not (personal) history that is likely to fell Newt but hubris.
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