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Monday, January 23, 2012

Was Newt’s South Carolina Massacre A Message To GOP Elite?

Was Newt’s South Carolina Massacre A Message To GOP Elite?

“The base is revolting because they swept the GOP back into relevance in Washington just under two years ago and they have been thanked with contempt ever since” - Erick Erickson

By Dell Hill & Guest Blogger Richard Falknor

Richard Falknor has a follow-up for us on the South Carolina massacre meted out by Newt Gingrich.  I have a couple of comments after Richard’s report.

President Gingrich?

Last month we expressed some reservations about Speaker Newt Gingrich as GOP presidential nominee in The Green Newt: Going to War With the Army We Have?

However we also wrote

“The former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, can hit breathtaking home runs — as he did with his exposure of the invented history of Palestine, and he articulates our coming defense needs better than the other GOP candidates. . . .Certainly many Republican primary voters are at their wits end as they view the destruction wrought daily by the profoundly radical Obama Administration from illegal immigration to national defense.  They sense the GOP Establishment candidates’ lack of stomach for fighting tough enough politically to stop the Chicago Way.  But these primary voters certainly grasp that the former Speaker relishes the ‘sting of battle.’”

Tonight RedState chief Erick Erickson explains “Newt Gingrich Wins.  What It Means: Mitt and Newt will both have trouble beating Barack Obama.  Mitt’s trouble will come from Obama.  Newt’s trouble from himself.  But right now, the base doesn’t care.

Influential conservative voice Erickson continues

“Newt Gingrich’s rise has a lot to do with Newt Gingrich’s debate performance.  But it has just as much to do with a party base in revolt against its thought and party leaders in Washington, DC.  The base is revolting because they swept the GOP back into relevance in Washington just under two years ago and they have been thanked with contempt ever since.

Adding insult to injury, the party and thought leaders now try to foist on the base a milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts.  Newt Gingrich can thank Mitt Romney and more for the second look he is getting.  Base hostility will now be exacerbated by Mitt Romney’s backers now undoubtedly making a conscious effort to prop up Rick Santorum to shut down Newt Gingrich.”  (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Erickson then points us to Ben Domenech’s “Why Newt” (Ricochet) where the Transom editor finds –

“And as much as people cited the positives from Gingrich’s performance, there was much more concern expressed about Romney’s negative performances.  The rationale is simple: what if Romney can’t hack it in a debate with Obama?  Failing to mount a defense of conservatism on the debate stage and in the public square - a failure that reminds conservatives of much of the worst moments of George W. Bush’s tenure – was one of the most significant reasons Rick Perry is back home in Texas today. [Underscoring Forum's.]  Conservatives have no interest in people who become shrinking violets on the stage.  Consider this quote from an evangelical voter in The State, the largest newspaper here:
‘No one does not have baggage.  Newt’s was just exposed more because of his time in politics,’ she said.  ‘I think it’s time for a bulldog president.  Grab ‘em by the pants leg and don’t let go until you draw blood.  That’s Newt.’”

Writes Domenech – -

“In sum: South Carolinians are wary of nominating another uninspiring moderate guy who can’t defend himself or conservatism in the public square.  They’ve seen these candidates, and their ads, for more than a week now.  And with a field down to four, the momentum is swinging Newt’s way because of his ability to defend himself, his record, and conservative ideas in the debates and the public square.  This is something the voters I spoke to believe is essential for any nominee – and it is something that, at least in this state, Romney has failed to do.”

Readers are encouraged to visit both of these meaty reports on the South Carolina primary here and here.

And if Newt Gingrich becomes president?

As we earlier counseled --

“A realistic conservative goal then must be to ensure that the GOP leadership in both chambers of the next Congress fully understands the Green [or any other statist] menace and keeps the next GOP president right with wise conservation not Green corporatism; and when the president goes wrong, acts to set him right.

And enough of undiscerning Congressional GOP “team playing” with a Republican White House – we saw the fiscal costs of that during the previous administration!”

Dell’s Bottom Line:

I certainly agree that the Republican base sent a very loud and very clear message to the Republican elites by destroying Mitt Romney at the polls in South Carolina.  They’re going to do the very same thing in Florida.  Romney HAD a 20 percentage point lead a week ago.  Today he trails Gingrich in most polls in the Sunshine State.

Romney’s well-organized campaign will fare much better after Florida, but the fact remains that - despite his baggage - the conservatives are sick and tired of the “go-along-to-get-along” attitude from the top is NOT what we want.  And they may be starting to understand that message.

Gingrich is a fighter.  Romney is an empty suit.  Santorum is hanging on in hopes of moping up after the mud, blood and beer have been spilled and both Romney and Gingrich have taken turns ripping each other to shreds.  Ron Paul is hanging on because....Well, just because. 

Paul’s not stupid.  He knows that if he hangs around long enough a third party wave will be initiated by his supporters and then he can tell both Democrats and Republicans to go to Hell as he embarks on that third party effort.  Something that would almost certainly guarantee an Obama second term.

The difference in political philosophy between Gingrich and Ron Paul is wide enough to steer an aircraft carrier through it.

Conservatives let it be known long ago that Mitt Romney was not their man.  They don’t want the Republican elite picking the party candidate.  If the Republican National Committee hasn’t figured that out yet, just stay tuned.  Your going to keep hearing it until you do.

Right now, Gingrich is trying to concentrate his attack on the real target - President Barack Obama.  Every day he challenges the failed actions of the President’s first three years in office. That’s what conservatives want to see and hear.  We don’t want “Obama Lite” and Romney is most certainly Obama Lite.

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