COMMENTARY | The results of last week’s debate have jockeyed longshot Newt Gingrich right between Mitt Romney and Herman Cain at the quarter mile nomination “poll.” Will he have what it takes to continue his charge through the field, or will he proved to have peaked too soon and the mud he once had to deal with as the former Speaker and former “whip” again slow him down during the stretch run? One thing is certain: Newt Gingrich is finally in a good position for the “race for the nomination.” What did he do right? Or what has everyone else done wrong?
So far it has been the other candidates that have “stepped in it,” hurting their own chances. Accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain and Rick Perry’s “Oops” meltdown have narrowed the gap from the top spot in the polls to the third spot where Newt currently sits. More importantly, people just haven’t warmed up to Romney, although lately the less said by Romney the better he looks. Ron Paul, as usual, says 99 things right but then blows it with a wild statement – for example his 1992 statement about riots in Los Angeles that “order was restored after the blacks got their welfare checks.” Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann just can’t muster the necessary interest in their arguments or suggestions. They should both start positioning themselves for a vice presidential slot. Huntsman is a non-factor, so it looks like a three-horse race going forward.
Make one thing certain: Newt has what it takes to win the presidency. The question I have is can he carry the extra weight of personal baggage? The same moral baggage dropped him from Time magazine’s Man of the Year to a painful resignation from the House Speaker position. To his credit, he certainly is not afraid to still use religion as a campaign issue. Recently, Gingrich demanded that U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of Texas step down after he ruled in May that high school students could not say prayers or make religious references during a graduation ceremony. So the conservative vote hasn’t written him off yet. Newt has been divorced twice and married three times. One of his divorces was very messy (affair etc.). You can be assured these issues will be brought up again and social conservatives will find this hard to swallow. However, with what happened to Cain and Perry the past week, Newt seems attractive as the lesser of three evils. Or as they say, it will be a two-handed primary: one hand on the lever the other holding your nose.
There is no doubt to many that Newt is the smartest guy in the room. America is in need of some radical changes that can be voted through this logjam we call the legislative branch of government. It doesn’t work when a president just yells from a podium to “pass this bill.” We need legislation that makes sense. Newt was able to pull that out of his hat once before with his Contract for America in 1994. Clinton signed it, and it worked. We saw Democrats and Republicans working together. Imagine that.
Newt has a new Contract for America 2012. I looked it over. It’s not complete yet. There are some sound ideas in it. Look for it on Newt’s website listed below. At this juncture I’m feeling better about Newt’s kind of leadership rather than Rick Perry’s “Oops” and Cain’s “half mushroom and keep your sausage to yourself” orders of the day. I think that voters will look pass his past moral failures if he has good answers on how to put this country on the right track again. The only other winnable choice for conservatives is Romney. Many feel his Mormon faith unfortunately will cost him votes. All this being said, there are more debates to come. The way Newt has been pushing around the moderators; he might have to ease up on the reins a bit before people label him as too brash.
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