Why they’re going for Gingrich

Kathlene M. writes:

I think that in this article at Redstate.com Eric Erickson pretty well nails it as to the overall message of Gingrich’s South Carolina win.

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.

- end of initial entry -

January 23

Clark Coleman writes:

Erick Erickson’s comments continue the intellectual infantilism of today’s GOP voter, who talks conspiratorially about how the GOP establishment has forced a bad slate of candidates on the beleaguered party faithful. We live in a free country. Just about anyone can run for President. As I pointed out in a previous entry, we needed a good conservative governor to run, and we did not get that in this election cycle. The reason is NOT that some mythical GOP establishment conspired behind the scenes to keep good conservative governors from running. The reason is that there are precious few such governors in the first place, and the only governors who ran were compromised candidates (e.g. Mexophiliac Rick Perry and liberal-state governors Romney and Pawlenty).

It is a sure sign of immaturity to speak of mythical forces in the world who somehow handed you some situation you don’t like. Such rhetoric contributes to an attitude of defeatism and bitterness among the voters.

KO writes:

Although I understand your criticisms of Gingrich, and I am writing as a detached foreigner—as a Catholic, I share Kathleen M.’s appreciation of Gingrich’s forceful denunciation of anti-religious bigotry. I have no direct experience of American capitalism, but I believe that the British variety is wrongly equated with meritocracy. In Britain, commercial success can depend on networking rather than skill and professional ethics. This may not be a bad thing, except that the networks do not seem to be built up through Church or a common code of honour, rather they derive from the kind of camaraderie that says “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

If Romney’s sole contribution to American values is the liberation of capitalism, then in the present moral climate I can see that benefiting Liberals more than Christians. On the other hand, if Gingrich has a genuine commitment to defeating anti-religious bigotry, it would be of more obvious benefit to Christians.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 22, 2012 08:30 PM | Send

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