I saw some of Gingrich’s speech afterward. What impressed me was that he actually talked about the Obama Administration’s anti-religious bigotry. He actually used those words: “anti-religion bigots.” He even stated that, if Obama wins re-election, he will become even more tyrannical. So Gingrich vowed to remove all the czars as a first step if he were elected President. This really resonated with the crowd and I’m sure many viewers. When does Romney ever talk forcefully like this about Obama, beyond economic terms? As far as I know, he hasn’t.
Here’s part of the Erickson article in which I’ve highlighted the key points:
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.
… If you read a lot of the Republican commentary coming out of Washington even before the polls closed, suddenly South Carolina is irrelevant and the hick rubes of the Palmetto state are just petulant children.
Actually, like with Iowa, it is a rather desperate scream to get another player on the field. It is a red flag. It is the giant “Danger” sign ahead for the general election.
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.
… People are mad as hell they are about to be stuck with another boring, moderate, uninspiring choice that has at best a 50/50 shot at losing to the worst president since Carter. They are flocking to Newt not because they think he’s a great guy, but because right now, he’s the only one fighting for conservatism and GOP voters are looking for a vessel to channel their anger with Obama and their complete disappointment with the GOP establishment which is now embodied perfectly by Romney. They want a conservative fighter because most conservatives look back at Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, and McCain and see only the ones taking a conservative path against the Democrats actually winning.
… In every way in the last two weeks, Romney has signaled he won’t fight for the base. He looks like a lost child when trying to answer the taxes issue. He couldn’t stand up to Santorum in the debate. He sounds every bit like Gordon Gekko, not Milton Friedman, when he talks Bain and free markets.
Basically, today’s vote is about Republican grassroots giving the Washington Republican establishment the finger. The base is angry, and right now, only Newt is left to fight for them, as imperfect as he is. We may still end up with Romney, but voters aren’t going to let him have it easily.
Party leaders who have invested so much in Mitt Romney might want now to ride on to a brokered convention and find someone acceptable to everyone. Because this most divisive and bitter primary in years is going to wipe out the GOP’s chances to win in November. And while few of the Romney advocates of the past four years will admit it, it is because they have tried to foist onto the base a milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts as energizing to conservatives as a dead battery.
Consider this related post by Ben Domenech a must read on this subject.