Patterico's Pontifications


Is Newt Gingrich suddenly the more electable candidate?

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 6:57 am

[Posted by Karl]

Yesterday, I ended up in part of a conversation with Ace and Lori Ziganto (among others) about electability.  Ace was soliciting comment on why people who did not take Newt Gingrich’s campaign seriously for so long suddenly find him electable.  Playing devil’s advocate, I hypothesized that maybe the campaign has not made Newt seem more electable, but has made Mitt seem less so.  But is that really what’s happening?  And how electable (or unelectable) is Newt?

If I understood Ace’s argument, part of it is that conservatives looking for a viable NotRomney are saying Gingrich is (more) electable now simply because he must be if Romney is to be defeated.  The Gallup tracking poll arguably contains some support for that theory.  From Jan 15-22, Romney lost 12% among conservatives, while Gingrich gained the same amount to tie at 28%.  Among liberal and moderate GOPers/leaners, Romney held steady at 33%, while Gingrich gained 6% to 15%.  From that angle, one can argue that Newt’s conservative surge does look like the Not Romney vote trying to gather, although his gains among moderates and liberals suggests a slightly broader shift is also at play.  Moreover, this is only one angle from which to view the poll, e.g., Newt’s surge is heavily explained by a shift in older voters from Romney to Gingrich (although this is likely correlated to the conservative shift, as the campaign was not focused on entitlements last week).

Of course, the Gallup tracker is limited to GOPers and leaners.  Broader polling may tell us a bit more about the current state of electability.  Although trial heats are not predictive this far from November, it’s notable that the RCP averages for Obama/Romney and Obama/Gingrich still show Romney as the more competitive candidate, even as his standing falls within the GOP race.  Indeed, Romney was also the more competitive candidate during Newt’s previous surge.  Does this tell us Mitt is the more electable candidate… or only that people know less about him?  We really cannot be sure.

During yesterday’s discussion, others raised Newt’s currently high unfavorable ratings as an indicator of unelectability.  Newt’s average from those recent polls is 55% unfavorable, which is certainly higher than Romney’s average of 42%.  Then again, Obama’s average unfavorable rating is 47% — and he’s not in the middle of a nasty primary scrum.  Thus, it’s at least possible that Newt’s unfavorables are high now because some on the Right (e.g., Mitt’s fans, or those who found Newt’s attacks on Mitt unfair) are unhappy, while Obama’s unfavorables have yet to be driven up by unified opposition.  As with the trial heats, it is also possible that Romney’s lower unfavorables are partially the product of people knowing less about him than they know about Gingrich.  Again, there is not solid data on this.  It would not be uncommon to have both party nominees carrying high unfavorables, but having one with unfavorables over 50% would be uncommon and possibly fatal.

The latest PPP poll from Florida — showing Newt up by 5% — has some interesting data bearing on these points.  On one hand, Newt’s favorability increased while Romney’s declined, suggesting that favorability can be a fluid thing (although likely less so in the general election pool).  On the other hand, 15% of primary voters say they would not vote for Gingrich in the general election, while only 9% say that about Romney, suggesting Mitt would be the stronger candidate against Obama (although we should be careful about assuming such attitudes hold after a nominee is selected; there were polls in 2008 suggesting Hillary Clinton supporters would not vote for Obama, but the level of defections was ultimately no different from any other election).

My conclusion from the data is that Romney currently remains the more competitive candidate.  His fumbling and stumbling over money issues — his tax returns, Bain Capital, gaffes real or imagined — has wounded him within the GOP electorate, but not outside it…yet.  If Romney does not get his act together quickly, he risks losing the mantle of electability among the broader electorate.

Conversely, Gingrich’s exposure of Romney’s weakness has not made Newt a stronger candidate outside the GOP electorate… yet.   Conservatives may like Gingrich’s fighting spirit, but Newt will need more support and an improved image outside that group to become the more competitive candidate.  Moreover, it is not clear he can achieve that simply by a Romney collapse.  In South Carolina, Gingrich appealed more to those in the GOP pool hurt most by our economic malaise; he needs to show he has the same appeal outside the base.


168 Responses to “Is Newt Gingrich suddenly the more electable candidate?”

  1. Ding!

    Karl (8cdbad)

  2. I have not always been a supporter of Newt, but I have become one (altho I will gladly vote ABO). As to Newt’s electibility, a commenter on another blog posited that it may be hard to see Gingrich WInning v. Obama, but it it really difficult to see Obama LOSING to ________ ?

    My primary concern is the rancor we currently see from many Repubs (Coulter, Romney and Santorum themselves—the list goes on). If Newt becomes the nominee how will they support him in the general election w/out looking like hypocrites and fools, or will they simply allow him to flail in the wind and create their self-fulfilling prophecy damaging the country for the right to say “I told you so”?

    T (400783)

  3. If Newt becomes the nominee, Coulter, Romney and Santorum can support Newt by saying he’s better than Obama.

    Sparks (d294ad)

  4. Gosh everything is volatile these days:

    This is prolly what used to happen when the King got a bad case of gout and started lopping heads as whimsy, fell off the throne once or twice, developed Tourette’s,..

    The court suffered a rash of poisonings, garrotings and blunt traumas in jockeying over the last furlong.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  5. neither Romney nor Gingrich are likable or respectable people they’re just the best Team R could do this time around

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. “If Romney does not get his act together quickly,”

    Perhaps post NV, when he regains some confidence.

    I fully expect him to bleed some undecideds nationwide for the duration in the current panic over FL.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  7. ” favorability can be a fluid thing”


    A person could see it coming this time, though. I don’t know what didn’t get measured but it was probably measurable.

    sarahw (b0e533)

  8. the faster Team R’s nominee gets nominated the less their favorables will erode

    this is dragging out it’s time for hopeless fringe candidates like Ron Paul and Santorum to go away

    Nobody’s favorable ratings are boosted by standing on stage next to the odious-as-he-is-fascist Santorum and the rabidly insane Paul

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  9. Polls on electability are going to be at least as volatile as polls on preferences. If I am down on a candidate I am going to view their electability poorly — after all if I’m not going to vote for them, who would? Conversely, if he’s my guy then he’s smack dab in the middle of the mainstream (me) and of course he’s electable.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  10. happy,

    I think that Paul will campaigning until either the Convention or he goes to the LP. I also think he’s not tossed off the stage because he’d immediately bolt. He’s also going to get a speaking role at the convention if he wholeheartedly endorses the nominee. Hopefully this will happen after the east coast has gone to bed.

    I do wonder if this is a wise strategy, since Paul’s exit polling suggests he’d harm Obama more than Newt or Mitt (young voters, disaffecteds, first time voters, etc, all of whom voted for Obama last time).

    Kevin M (563f77)

  11. let him bolt he’s a jew-hating wacko

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  12. What’s interesting is that you see many people saying “I would NEVER vote for Romney”, while the Romney backers are saying “yeah, Romney is bad, but he can win so I’ll vote for him” which follows that they will also vote for Gingrich if things shake out he can win: meaning, Gingrich is the more viable candidate, in that he has more room to grow.

    baby giraffes (d61aa1)

  13. whatever Romney’s favorable are now he’s far far more susceptible to president bumble’s media-approved hate campaign against rich white people than anyone in the field

    he’s the one they’ve been waiting for

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  14. *favorables* I mean

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  15. We should give Pelosi Galore the guillotine.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  16. What about Rick Santorum and Ron Paul? They are owed some respect, especially for the contrast between their willingness to take a stand for principle against the front-runners’ willingness to say anything. But Messrs. Santorum and Paul are two tedious men, deep in conversation with some country that’s not quite America, appealing to a devoted base but not beyond it. Sorry, gentlemen: You’re not going anywhere.*


    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  17. Romney is not necessarily the more competitive candidate. Under what definition? Certainly, his abilities in the primary is insufficient and rather laughable. He is not a figher.

    Gingrich is doing much better, but he is a flawed character. Gingrich must address his negatives. If he can parse his character away from his policies in the way that Clinton did, he can win.

    But we are way over Clinton. This is a new era. Clinton won’t win today. Gingrich must have a new fresh approach to address his character issues or people will stay home and not vote.

    Romney cannot be more bland. He is a complete nonentity. He is unrelatable. I cannot rally behind a man like him. Perhaps thats why I’m more drawn and repelled from Gingrich at the same time.

    MyOpinion (c1edfb)

  18. Gingrich is more viable in this sense: he is closer to the political center-of-mass of the Republican Party, so he can (personalities aside) unify the party. The real objections to Gingrich are not his politics, nor his commitment to the cause of small government but his temperament and gaffe affinity. That scares the daylights out of some, given the awful awful that a loss would bring.

    But if he’s our guy, we can get behind him gladly and know we’ll be very happy if he wins. Not so much for Mitt.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  19. As I’ve said for about 4 months now: It is Newt or Mitt. Pick one.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  20. How many times do we have to tell the useful idiots Obama is not cleaning up Bush’s economy.

    B-but it don’t take 15 years……………………..after Obama is through screwing around with the economy it will take 40 years to clean it up.

    B-but the Republicans are spending our money………….so were your precious Dems.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  21. I have a hard time reconciling the views of those who say they don’t believe Romney is conservative because they don’t believe what he says but turn around and say they believe Gingrich in his latest incarnation, as a small government outsider. I see no reason to trust on over the other under the circumstances.

    Gingrich has flip flopped on key issues just as much as Romney over time. As Karl has pointed out, his voting record in the House is more moderate than both Boehner and Hastert. He did not balance the budget in the 1990s by cutting federal spending, federal revenues skyrocketed and expenditure growth moderated slightly.

    Gingrich has been a big government conservative his entire career until this most recent incarnation. Making his living as a lobbyist/consultant/insider does not sit well with me or convince me he has changed at all. It’s great that he throws red meat to the base by attacking the media and Obama, but using faux outrage or professorial hauteur to avoid answering questions is a gambit that has gotten stale for me. The theater of Newt has not changed.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  22. ==Pick one==

    Can you honestly say that over the past months and weeks you are not gaining insight, that you are not observing new things about how both Newt and Mitt campaign, how they explain themslves, how they attack Obama, how they react to stress and pressure, and how voters respond to them?

    I for one am not ready to pick one yet. Plus the longer we wait to pick one the harder it is for the dems to focus on the target.

    elissa (e3d8ab)

  23. Obama has already started running against Romney. Why? Does his campaign fear Romney will get the GOP nomination? Or is Romney the candidate they most want to run against? Romney will be the easiest target to paint as a “1%’er”. His time at Bain Capital and the business units shuttered will become part and parcel of every Obama ad.

    Gingrich, on the other hand, scares them to death. They know he’ll carve Obama’s heart out in a real debate and attacking his “morals” doesn’t look so hot when he can tell them, “You didn’t think morals were so important when Clinton was President.”

    To me it comes down to this. Romney is a squish and there’s no vision being expressed. He’s bland and uninspiring. Gingrich may be a man of so many ideas you never know which one he’s talking about – but that’s what a staff is for. Newt is quite good at expressing his vision. Reagan was good at it, too. That’s what makes good leaders. Good leaders put a staff together to implement their ideas and visions. Newt has his warts but he’ll be a Hell of a leader.

    Mr. Sock (5ab3ea)

  24. “Gingrich may be a man of so many ideas you never know which one he’s talking about”

    Good summary.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  25. It really comes down to one thing. Voters are fickle. IF a candidate is not polling well, people tend to not support him. If he gets a small bump, people start to pay attention and momentum forms. So, for the most part, the opinion that people have of a candidate is strongly influenced by the momentum of the candidate. Romney led SC for a while because a lot of voters didn’t think anyone else was viable. When Newt surged at the right time, voters switched. All that means is that one candidate’s vote total is a combination of true believers and the people wanting to choose the winner. I know for myself that I was dismissive of Newt for a long time because he seemed like he had no chance. Now that he has a chance, I am paying attention. Rick Perry is a candidate I favor, but he appears to have no chance, so I am feeling like I have to choose between Newt and Romney, but if Perry were to get a boost, I would be back in his camp. Thus voters back the candidate who seems likely to compete or win even if they are not the one they might prefer over all.

    Eyago (864dc7)

  26. Don’t kid yourself, neither Newt or Romney is a Conservative. Actually, Romney is damn close to being an outright RINO, and Newt is at the very least a Republican Party establishment moderate, (don’t forget he supported Dede Scozzafava before she lost the GOP nomination, re-registered as a Democrat, and then endorsed the Democrat Party’s candidate).

    It’s only within the context of today’s stilted nomination process that one or the other seems more conservative than the evidence indicates.

    Both have serious flaws, either one could beat Obama. Hold your mud, let the process play out. We’re going to come out alright.

    ropelight (b214e1)

  27. I for one am not ready to pick one yet. Plus the longer we wait to pick one the harder it is for the dems to focus on the target.

    That’s probably true, and also it’s doing both Newt and Mitt some good to be vetted and ready to deal with these issues. Whichever one of these guys is nominated… he’s put a good effort into overcoming the best opposition research. Perry failed to to that (which doesn’t matter to me, but it would have when Obama beat him for the same reason).

    Can’t say I mind either of these guys having to sweat it out for a while.

    Beldar predicts Newt could implode, so I’d like to at least see if that is true before we nominate him, please.

    On the other hand, it’s going to take quite an implosion to outshine the issues. On the issues, I think Newt’s the guy. As new issues emerge, such as Bain, I think a lot of voters who care about that are moving from Romney to Newt (that does seem to explain much of the movement recently). I think a lot of folks are realizing that the free market is not the market we have now, and the way some of these deals work amount to burdens on society (FDIC bailouts, or Obama’s GM bailouts… they make some people rich, but that’s the opposite of a free market, because those profits come from my wallet and I wasn’t free to decline). Some of the free market defenses, as honest as they are meant, are ringing hollow. We don’t really think that when Goldman Sachs types get richer, that benefits us. some of us feel fleeced, even.

    A bold remorseless Romney being frank about the free market would probably be much more effective politically, but the problem is more than just spin and handling. There is something really wrong with our economic system. The financial product is twisted around and around until there is a huge catastrophe and politicians are talking about troubled asset relief. Which is paid for in so much red ink that our kids will have to work hard to emerge over that.

    Both these men were connected to Fannie, which makes it very difficult, because whether you’re investing in that kind of thing or you’re working for them, that’s one of the ways our market is so distorted and not free, in my opinion.

    Anyway, yeah, I agree with Elissa that we might as well let them continue duking it out. I, like Kevin, think I have enough info already and am unlikely to change my mind (just to be honest), but there’s no harm in keeping that option open.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  28. Don’t kid yourself, neither Newt or Romney is a Conservative. Actually, Romney is damn close to being an outright RINO, and Newt is at the very least a Republican Party establishment moderate, (don’t forget he supported Dede Scozzafava before she lost the GOP nomination, re-registered as a Democrat, and then endorsed the Democrat Party’s candidate).

    Oh yeah, my enthusiasm for Not Romney of the day was deflated real quick with all these flashbacks. Did you know Newt compared the Swift Boaters to Michael Moore? And he actually had his own national insurance mandate proposal mere months ago (with a self insure via bond option that doesn’t seem good enough to me by any stretch).

    Newt has the potential to be a truly great and transformational president, but he is not nearly as reliable as I’d like and could easily govern like an establishment moderate, to use your term. I personally think that’s Newt’s worst case scenario (other than imploding before the general election) and I think Mitt’s range is that his worst case scenario is being outright liberal, and his best case scenario is being an establishment moderate (though I grant Romney is much less prone to imploding).

    Lovely primary we have.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  29. Willard has run for elective office 25 times and won 9. That record would not get him into the hall of fame.

    Charles Curran (442739)

  30. Don’t despair, Dustin. I know you don’t like these nominees, but Republicans have the excitement and ideas this year. In addition, Newt’s and Romney’s dilemma is that the base is pressuring them to be more conservative and both are balking because they’re understandably looking ahead to the general election. (That was Perry’s problem, too, although his larger problem was his poor debate performances.) The point is this is a year when the conservative base is important philosophically and not just for funding, and that hasn’t been true since Ronald Reagan ran. I find it exciting.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  31. That’s well said, DRJ.

    I am hopeful for our congressional races to continue sowing a much better GOP in the future, but I also get lost in the in-fighting (which I am so easily provoked into joining).

    they’re understandably looking ahead to the general election.

    Yeah. I noticed the Dream act isn’t so controversial anymore, for some reason.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  32. To clarify, I don’t expect Newt or Romney to be committed conservatives but I expect the people who follow them in 4-8 years will be. It’s the trend I’m excited about.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  33. It seems we are over analyzing this. The Republican establishment is pushing Romney as they view him as more electable. The GOP is aware that registered republicans and Tea Party voters will pull the lever for Pee Wee Herman over Obama if need be. That leaves only a few crossover (undecideds) voter in the middle to decide this race. Washington home boys are betting everything that there will be enough of these voters unhappy with Obama to get the job done. No one loves Romney.

    Registered Republicans and Tea Party patriots understand they are being used by Washington insiders and resent the hell out of it. They would have preferred a REAL candidate. This explains the Gingrich bump going into Florida.

    tonynoboloney (245cff)

  34. Yes, the treatment of the Dream Act is ironic. It must keep Perry up at night. To me, this shows it was never about where Perry stood on issues, it was about his ability to communicate and connect with voters. He just can’t and to a lesser extent, neither can Romney. Gingrich can.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  35. The establishment!!! [[[[shakes fist in air]]]]

    MayBee (081489)

  36. Gingrich is far from perfect but i’d take him over Romney.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  37. By the way I think Romney paying 15% is unimportant.

    And I’m upset about Gingrich and Perry attacking Romney’s time at bain.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  38. It must keep Perry up at night.


    I suppose you’re right. It should also keep up those who were outraged and rejected Perry as I noted their rejection is going to lead to a more liberal outcome.

    But Beldar is right… that inability to name three agencies was the killer gaffe. Much of that was medical related, so hopefully Perry isn’t too hard on himself. Also, the truth is that being president is not the most pleasant existence.

    I suspect most of these guys have mixed emotions when they lose, with a great deal of relief mixed in. This should be doubly true for Perry, because if he’s a gaffe machine, his presidential experience would have been merciless.

    It’s the trend I’m excited about.

    Keep saying this stuff. Optimism is good.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  39. DaleyKos your mom called she wants you to get out of her basement.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  40. I for one am not ready to pick one yet.

    Understood. Newt or Mitt could still do something, good or bad, to make me change my mind. But, in the end it will be one of those two, not someone beaming down at the last minute to save us. Which was really my point. Not Santorum, not RonPaul, not Mitch Daniels on the 23rd ballot, etc.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  41. With the caveat that electability is only proven in hindsight, here is why I think Romney is (still) more electable: Obama’s strategy depends on his being able to convince moderate and independent voters that, however bad he might have been, the GOP candidate would be worse (Carter failed to do this in 1980, Bush succeeded in 2004). Despite claims to sit home if the GOP nominates a _________, Republican voters will turn out in mass for their candidate, the liberals will do the same, both sides will have an excellent GOTV effort, so it comes down to a fight for the middle (and in a handful of battleground states).

    So which of Romney or Gingrich makes Obama’s job easier?

    Romney may not excite people, but he doesn’t scare them. He doesn’t have a track record of speeches that can be twisted to make it look like he wants to blow up government. He doesn’t have a history of throwing temper tantrums. He can’t be accused of pomposity.

    Which of the two is better able to imitate Reagan’s defusing the attacks on him? Gingrich won’t parry the attack, he’ll insult the questioner (which is red meat to certain conservatives, but guaranteed to alienate those who believe the candidates should have a degree of civility).

    Put another way, and I forget who should get credit for this perspective, is to ask: are there any moderate voters who won’t vote for Romney but will vote for Gingrich? If so, who? What groups? I don’t think there are… but there are those who won’t vote for Gingrich who will vote for Romney.

    steve (369bc6)

  42. Dustin,

    I’m pondering another theory — that Republicans are so nervous about what the media did to Palin that it’s affecting their decision in this election. One would think Romney would be the natural beneficiary of that concern, because he’s an accomplished and cautious speaker. I think that caution is his appeal to some Republicans. However, his caution sometimes veers into a Perry- and Palin-like discomfort that worries voters. That’s why I wonder if Gingrich’s main appeal is that he seems comfortable with the media scrutiny in ways the other candidates aren’t.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  43. Honestly, Dustin, that was Perry and not his medications, pain, or any other excuse. There’s a reason he never did debates in Texas, but we don’t need a well-spoken Governor. We need a well-spoken Presidential nominee, especially running against Obama.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  44. or any other excuse.

    Oh, my perspective is that if I were in Perry’s shoes I would have been in desperate need of a lot of excuses too, so I’m going to help a brother gaffe machine out.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  45. Daley,

    While Mitt’s folks make much of Newt’s wanderings while he was on the beach, when he was in office he was pretty much clear on wanting and fighting for smaller government. He still displays the passion he had then. My observations of Newt now, and Newt then (and even Newt as a back-bench bomb-thrower, though that dates me) are consistent. I have watched this man for over 20 years, and I know which way he will jump on something.

    It is the 2005 Newt that is out-of-character not the rest of it. I chalk that up to someone trying to remake himself after his personal disaster 1998-2000.

    Mitt, on the other hand, talks conservative while seeking office and behaves like a liberal while in office. This may account for his lack of passion — he doesn’t believe in anything strongly. Not only don’t I know which way Mitt will jump, I don’t even know IF he’ll jump. The only thing I’m certain of is that he’s an incrementalist in revolutionary times.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  46. steve,

    The moderate voters who will vote for Gingrich and not for Romney are white blue-collar voters with no college who consistently say they won’t vote for a Mormon. It can impact the Midwest especially, a region the GOP has to do well in.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  47. you gotta figure that ignorant white trash anti-mormon bigots are most likely racists who hate black people too

    you know who this helps

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  48. DRJ: there may those who’d prefer the non-Mormon Gingrich over Romney… but would they really go for Obama if Romney were the candidate?

    And that’s why I recommended Romney go after Obama for denying waivers to Catholic organizations, to put himself on their side (hey, how bad can the Mormon be, he’s on our side on this issue?)

    steve (369bc6)

  49. The polls show the anti-Mormon vote has stayed consistent since 1967, when it was first polled. Maybe they will change if Romney is the nominee. I hope so, but that doesn’t keep me from worrying about it.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  50. It seems most people are left looking at other than their first choice on the Republican side at this point. My primary criteria has been a non-career politician who understood something about the private sector. Palin was my first choice although she did not fit the bill entirely she had a great ability to excite the base, rattle the opposition and exudes more sincerity than the career politicians in the race. Bachmann, with her training as a tax lawyer, was another possibility. I’m not a fan of gimmicky tax proposals. They sound great on the campaign trail, but never have a chance of getting implemented. Cain was a non-starter in my book.

    Of the remaining candidates, that leaves Romney, whose performance as Massachusetts governor gets unfairly trashed here and other places and conservatives have been reduced to attacking him from the left with myths about FDIC bailouts and shadowing connections to the Wall Street Meltdown in attempts discredit his candidacy.

    I have a hard time believing most anything Gingrich says given that supports banning gay marriage by defending the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman but was privately defiling the sanctity of two of those marriages. It’s great for him to claim to have been forgiven, but to me his actions put him in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama class of people who can look straight into a camera and lie to your face. I don’t trust him, but will vote for him if he is nominated.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  51. Newt’s only a candidate cause of the debates now he says he wants to divorce the debates if they don’t open them up to the crowd.


    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  52. steve,

    The question isn’t whether they would vote for Obama. The question is whether they would stay home.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  53. From my inbox

    Texas State Society Invites you to the ANNUAL SALUTE TO CONGRESS

    Yeah, 1000 days without a budget. I got your salute right here, buddy.

    Even the lone star state has its statists.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  54. he wants to divorce the debates if they don’t open them up

    ever the wordsmith. I’m jealous of this talent of yours.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  55. Newt’s only a candidate cause of the debates now he says he wants to divorce the debates if they don’t open them up to the crowd.

    I wonder how much of that is Newt talking and how much is the press playing it up. But yeah, that would be strange. And would result in dump-on-Newt night on CNN. I don’t see it.

    I do think that the lack of crowd participation affected not only Newt and Paul, but the tenor of the debate. Old GHWB would have been checking his watch.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  56. “Mitt, on the other hand, talks conservative while seeking office and behaves like a liberal while in office. This may account for his lack of passion — he doesn’t believe in anything strongly.”

    Kevin M. – I think this is the stereotype that has built up over time, but not based on an actual examination of the record.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  57. It is kind of funny that Southerners are being accused of discriminating in favor of the Catholic. Wasn’t always so.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  58. I think this is the stereotype that has built up over time, but not based on an actual examination of the record. Isn’t a stereotype built up over time THE RECORD?

    Kevin M (563f77)

  59. Steve (@ #41 above),

    I disagree with your assessment. Romney doesn’t defuse attacks at all. He responds to them by first answering (or at least acknowledging) the question, i.e., validating the premise from which the attack is made (liberal premise for the press, adversarial premise whent he attack comes from Santorum or Paul).

    What is over-interpreted as Newt attacking the press is, in reality an attack on the liberal premise of the attacking question. Newt’s response to John King is a case in point. He calls the issue trash (i.e., he invalidates the question) and then goes on to criticize how the press uses attacks on republicans to protect Obama (i.e., he criticizes the method).

    As to electability, keep in mind that the SC exit polling showed Newt drawing more voters than Romney from almost every demographic group. This cannot be dismissed simply because it was a Republican primary; it was an open primary in which Dems and Inds could vote. You are correct that electibiloity is only known in hindsight, however at this point, the early evidence does not appear to support the claim that Newt is un-electable.

    T (400783)

  60. “Newt’s only a candidate cause of the debates now he says he wants to divorce the debates if they don’t open them up to the crowd.”

    Mr. Feets – Mr. Newt knows where his bread is buttered.

    Tough question – Well, in 1822, Congress debated the ………

    Newt, stop filibustering and answer the question.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  61. _____________________________________________

    It’s only within the context of today’s stilted nomination process that one or the other seems more conservative than the evidence indicates

    And also against the backdrop of the ultra-liberal now occupying the White House.

    The electorate will have no excuse this November if they say the alternative to President “Goddamn America” is too conservative. OTOH, various voters will be able to say the Republican is so squishy that the gap between him and the Democrat is too narrow for comfort.

    Assuming people on the right will not boycott the upcoming election, that there is any doubt who becomes the next president implies this country has gotten far too liberal.

    Mark (411533)

  62. Daleyrocks, there’s a (perhaps apocryphal) story about how President Truman, on hearing of soon-to-be President Eisenhower’s election, commented “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike – it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

    I bring this up because I’m frankly puzzled at the notion that not being a career politician is a benefit in a Presidential candidate. I understand why people are frustrated with career politicians; I understand why it’s necessary to have outside-the-beltway vision. But it also really doesn’t seem reasonable to me to expect non-politicians to be good at working with politicians and getting them to do things.

    aphrael (5d993c)

  63. “Isn’t a stereotype built up over time THE RECORD?”

    Kevin M. – It’s like Newt trying to create “A RECORD” the his marital infidelity is irrelevant to his character and suitability for the presidency by attacking John King for a perfectly relevant question that was dominating the news.

    THE RECORD had Newt serving his first wife with divorce papers in the hospital on her death bed. We know that is false.

    The question answers itself.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  64. T #59:

    I discount the votes from any Democrats voting in a GOP primary, one can’t tell what their motivation is and what their votes mean.

    You’re right that Romney doesn’t do a good job of defending himself… but it’s in the primary, when he’s being challenged from the right, not a problem for him in the general election, and it’s on policy and not personal, when personal is far more important in the general election (unengaged voters are far more likely to vote on personality than policy, a bit like the non-football fan who picks based on a team’s name or jersey color).

    As for Gingrich, his attacks play well with the more-engaged primary voters than they would in the general election. remember Gore’s ‘sigh’? Gore won the debate in the eyes of the political pros, but lost it in the eyes of those more attuned to how something is said than what is said.

    Sad this is the case, but we fight a campaign with the way voters are, not the way we’d like them to be (yes, I stole that line).

    steve (369bc6)

  65. “But it also really doesn’t seem reasonable to me to expect non-politicians to be good at working with politicians and getting them to do things.”

    aphrael – I want the CIC to have ideas of his own and to be able to evaluate ideas on his own, not to be completely dependent on advisors for that function. The Obama Administration has the fewest number of people with private sector experience in 100 years and it shows. A Chief of Staff or VP can shoulder a lot of the burden of working with the Hill to get things done. Obama shows the danger of having someone in office who does not understand business or the economy.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  66. aphrael,

    What you are implicitly saying is that experience in business or academia doesn’t count — it’s only political experience that helps run a country. But Democrats routinely bring academics on board and welcome their talents and contributions. Why, then, is business the only background that doesn’t matter? Do you really think businessmen and women don’t have to work with people to get things done?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  67. steve,

    Romney will only succeed in the general election if he gives voters a reason to think he will be a better choice than Obama. His best argument is that he’s a better manager than Obama because he understands business. His problem is that voters may decide he’s Obama-lite, and go with the incumbent over a more cautious version of Obama.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  68. DRJ – I’m perfectly happy to say that businessmen should be brought on board and their talents should be welcomed, as well as their contributions.

    What I don’t understan, and don’t agree with, is the concept that someone who is good at running a business would be good at running a state or country. They’re different skill sets entirely.

    aphrael (5d993c)

  69. Obama is a career politician. Do you think he has done a good job dealing with the economy?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  70. What about diplomatic protocol? That is obviously a political skill set. Has Obama done a better job than other Presidents?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  71. Finally, if governing is a unique skill set, shouldn’t we always favor Governors over legislators and other politicians?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  72. But it also really doesn’t seem reasonable to me to expect non-politicians to be good at working with politicians and getting them to do things.

    People who work in business and people in politics realize that in order to get things done, you have to find a way to allow someone to agree to do something they really don’t want to do. You can’t make their acceptance of your idea appear to be their own failure.

    ps. How did Eisenhower end up doing? Seems to me he got some some done, despite Truman’s concern.

    MayBee (081489)

  73. ps. How did Eisenhower end up doing? Seems to me he got some some done, despite Truman’s concern.

    Comment by MayBee

    Indeed, this is very true. Ike relied on his vice president, Tricky Dick, for a lot of political machinations, such as making a lot of steps to resolve the Red Scare. The economy was pretty strong, and his administration was actually one of the smoothest of the 20th century. Ike is ranked as among the best presidents in American history (as is Truman). Ike did what generals do: delegate.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  74. Steve #64,

    I don’t discount what you write. I suggest however,that assuming a national campaign will be run like a primary is inherently a dangerous assumption. Both Newt and Mitt are smarter than that. My concern about a general election is that Mitt’s campaign structure seems (at this point) less able to adapt and change, while Newt’s seems more agile and facile.

    Again, those are judgements based upon my take of present conditions, whether either transfers into the general election can, like electability, also only be confirmed in hindsight.

    In either case, as I noted above (#2), I will be enthusiastically voting ABO whether for Newt, Mitt or a yet-to-be known dark horse.

    T (400783)

  75. Romney is no conservative.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  76. DRJ: I think you have it backwards. Romney doesn’t have to prove he’s better. Given Obama’s terrible ratings, a not-good economy and the fact that Obama’s ‘accomplishments’ are opposed by a good chunk of the middle, Romney simply has to convince these voters he’s not the scary monster that Obama claims he is.

    In 1980, voters didn’t go through an item by item comparison of Carter and Reagan’s policy ideas, they voted Reagan because they were sick of Carter and weren’t scared of Reagan.

    steve (369bc6)

  77. I hope you are right, steve, but if you are then any Republican can win.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  78. Except Ron Paul, of course.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  79. My point in #72, btw, is one of Obama’s big failings. I believe it comes from only being a low-level politician and never an executive in either politics or business.

    Two examples:
    1- the 2010 tax rate extensions. That could have been a moment where he said he and the GOP had decided together that the rates would be extended. Instead, he had to throw in the rhetoric about the GOP holding the government “hostage”.

    2-the recent payroll tax cut debate. Obama *could* have thanked the House GOP for trying to extend the rates for a year, and then asked them to instead give him the 2 months the Senate had given him for now, then they could all work to extend them for the full year. Instead, he lambasted the GOP for being obstructionist, which isn’t really an invitation to work with him to their mutual benefit in 2012.

    MayBee (081489)

  80. Some say that Mormons drink the blood of Catholic babies, but I don’t think that’s fair. But, it’s still troubling, if there’s a chance that voters latch on to that notion.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  81. Maybee @11:33,

    Your examples are so true. I’ve noticed with Obama (and many current Washington dems) there’s always got to be a winner and a loser. The maturity and beauty of seeking even an occasional Win-Win as an optimal outcome seems simply not to be in their limited vocabulary.

    elissa (e3d8ab)

  82. “Some say”. Say, isn’t that a favorite Barry Obama rhetorical tic?

    elissa (e3d8ab)

  83. I still like Pawlenty – As gov of MN he handled the democratic controlled legislature quite well.

    Romney – far to liberal,romneycare etc, Wont be able to articulate/defend, wont be able to articulate/defend his wealth, wont be able to defend/articulate his tax returns – wont have the msm covering for him like they did for kerry.

    Gingrich – Far better to articulate conservative ideals. However, will have difficulty explaining house ethics probes during time as speaker, will have difficulty explaining fannie mae, freddie mac, etc probably has other skeletons in closet.

    Joe_dallas (87b4dc)

  84. Gingrich promises JFK-like space speech –

    “Ask not what your lobbyist can do for you… ask what you can do for your lobbyist.”

    “We will use mirrors attached to satellites to use moonlight to illuminate every city street in America… and we will do it within 5 years of my election.”

    “ich ein jelly donut!”

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  85. Joe, T Paw is like Perry. A superior record, but just couldn’t get off the ground because of his skill as a politician (as opposed to his skill as an executive).

    Would he have been a good president? Personally I think so.

    Unfortunately, I have to concede it’s reasonable to fear that Newt does have more skeletons in his closet that might turn up in October. Even if there aren’t, the dishonest political tools out there will be able to fabricate one, and Newt will not have an easy time insisting it’s untrue because of his baggage. This is something Mccain and Bush could simply look you in the eye and deny, and Newt probably will be at the mercy of the MSM. So good point.

    Dustin (7362cd)

  86. #84. Why not?

    Romney’s response on NASA Monday was beyond pathetic, and Newt ridiculed him pretty mercilessly for it. Again, Mitt has a process and Newt has a plan. No shock there.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  87. Newt Monday, talking about prize-driven space development (versus Romney’s idea of talk-talk and studies on how best to direct NASA):

    “There’s every reason to believe that there’s a lot of folks in this country and around the world who would put up an amazing amount of money and would make the Space Coast literally hum with activity because they’d be drawn to achieve these prizes: going back to the moon permanently, getting to Mars as rapidly as possible, building a series of space stations and developing commercial space,” Gingrich said. “There are a whole series of things we could do that could be dynamic that are more than just better government bureaucracy.”

    Kevin M (563f77)

  88. MayBee and elissa,

    Also, Obama could have authorized the Keystone pipeline — which would not only have contributed to our nation’s future energy security but also would have provided thousands of jobs. Having said that, I’m glad he didn’t do any of these things because they help reveal how partisan and corrupt he really is.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  89. DRJ: I don’t think that applies to any republican. If I were scripting Obama’s campaign, I would be salivating at the chance to go against Gingrich. (fyi, Santorum is second, Romney 3rd)

    NOT on policy per se, but personality and temperament. I would paint him as such a loose cannon that Obama would win in a landslide.

    Please let’s not let it come to that.

    steve (369bc6)

  90. steve,

    Gingrich has flaws like all candidates, and he may not survive them, but the Romney campaign also has its share of loose cannons:

    Mitt Romney adviser Norm Coleman, a former senator from Minnesota, predicted the GOP won’t repeal the Democrats’ healthcare reform law even if a Republican candidate defeats President Obama this November.

    “You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week television in an interview that aired on Sunday. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”

    The Romney campaign has already responded that Coleman is wrong, but is he?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  91. Furthermore, I wish Romney would be a little more of a loose cannon and a little less like Obama, trying to please everyone all the time. I understand the desire to emulate what works but it grates on me.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  92. As Gingrich’s fate rises, so does Obama’s

    I question the timing.

    “As he prepares for his third State of the Union address–and, he hopes, not his last–Barack Obama’s likelihood of reelection has soared in the last few days to 56.8 percent, the highest it has been since last July. This movement correlates with Newt Gingrich’s increased likelihood of gaining the Republican nomination, now at 29.7 percent, up from about 5 percent.”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  93. That’s true, or it could be that Obama is not the focus of the news while Republicans are attacking each other.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  94. Actually, Coleman’s stance will play well with middle voters. They don’t like Obamacare in the entirety, but they do like aspects of it (depends from voter to voter). Saying that you’ll replace the bad and keep the good keeps Obama from saying repeal will lead to people dying in the street.

    In gauging electability, you have to stop looking at the specifics of the policy and start looking at the politics of the policy.

    steve (369bc6)

  95. In the long run, greater focus on a more limited number of GOP candidates may help all of them, because it will increase their name recognition and voters will get to know them better.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  96. steve,

    I agree, but Romney isn’t running in the general election right now, nor is he close to solidifying the base. Stories like this turn them off and it’s the definition of a loose cannon, which is why the Romney campaign had to deny it so quickly.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  97. steve,

    Since you think it will play so well with moderates, do you think Coleman has stated Romney’s real position on ObamaCare?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  98. true. from day one, Romney has been trying to do just enough to get the nomination and without doing anything that will haunt him in the general election.

    I don’t worry about the base, they hate Obama so much they’d turn out for just about anyone. Yes, that’s taking them for granted and they don’t like that, but it is reality.

    steve (369bc6)

  99. I don’t know that Romney has a final position on Obamacare. What he would like to do and what he can do are two different things, and it depends on how the Senate turns out and whether the GOP holds the House.

    If, for example, the GOP scores big in both chambers, Romney would probably sign a Congressional-led repeal effort. But if there aren’t enough GOP votes to overcome a Democrat filibuster, then he’s not likely to waste capital demanding repeal. Rather, he’d settle – as I would – for making whatever changes he could muster the votes for.

    That’s why I think so much of the primary campaign is silly. There is only so much a President can do without the votes… so listening to Perry recite the cabinets he wants to get rid of is at best a theoretical exercise.

    steve (369bc6)

  100. Romney claims he will grant ObamaCare waivers on Day 1 and repeal it on Day 2. It didn’t convince me, either.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  101. steve,

    I understand your point about the base but there’s a point where they won’t turn out. I don’t think they would have turned out for McCain without Palin, and I’m afraid that hating Obama isn’t enough. I’m hopeful that if Romney wins, he will follow McCain and pick a VP that makes it a little easier for conservatives. But his political instincts seem so moderate that I’m afraid he won’t even do that.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  102. my feeling is we need to know which candidate will be tough on the immigration so we need more debate questions on the immigration cause this is a very important issue and immigration is not getting the attention it deserves

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  103. DRJ: you’re right about McCain but there wasn’t the level of hatred towards Obama in 2008 as there is now. Remember Obama had some very high approval ratings at the beginning of his term that he could only have had with support from the right side of the aisle. Even today, there are those who wonder if McCain wouldn’t have been just as bad (but perhaps in different ways). That isn’t the case now. Why else is electability such a concern?

    steve (369bc6)

  104. And why wouldn’t he pick a VP that had appeal to conservatives? (without picking one who was so unprepared as Palin). It isn’t as if the VP does anything.

    steve (369bc6)

  105. 98-what about the unenrolled conservative? A lot of us have been holding are nose since R.R. And are tired of the pre picked progressive candidate.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  106. You’re still going to show up and vote against Obama… because you know that even a RINO is better and because you can’t bear to suffer through having to listen to Obama for four more years. Yeah, I’m taking you for granted, but sorry, that’s just the way it is.

    steve (369bc6)

  107. Take me for granted. Get in line.
    You can blame the loss on me, it’s the progressive thing to do.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  108. Direct answer to Karl’s question: NO

    Icy (b81cd2)

  109. sickofrinos – this discussion has taken place on this very blog more than once …

    I do not look on it as being taken for granted … I look on it as being granted the respect that we will make the sensible decision, and, as in any democratic process, vote for whichever eligible candidate best will carry out the duties of President, warts and all …

    I do not want a President who is a perfect saint … I prefer a President who has shown he is human and can learn from mistakes … and I believe a lot of people are realising that by not turning out to vote for the 2008 GOP Presidential candidate, a lot of us made a big mistake which handed the White House to Teh Won …

    Our First Occupant has confirmed and reinforced the Wisdom of the Founders, where they put in place checks and balances …

    A RINO with a GOP House and Senate is not going to be able to do the “recess” appointments the way Teh Won is trying to do … nor would he create czars … and he’s not likely to veto good legislation from Congress …

    Our First Occupant, on the other hand, can be relied upon to do both, unfortunately …

    Alasdair (98b18f)

  110. ABO people, ABO.

    DV1252x (045cef)

  111. Yes DV.

    And isn’t it telling that democraps think the will of the people is stifling their freedom to say screw you to the voters.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  112. DV – that is not consistent with your prior Romney knob gobbling.

    Steve – intentionally giving the finger to the base is a craptacular strategy.

    JD (804644)

  113. This could be the time the establishment hears the country folk.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  114. Contempt for the base is the base’s fault, I presume. The base is just a monolithic bunch of knuckle dragging mouth breathing rubes.

    JD (804644)

  115. my feeling is we need to know which candidate will be tough on the immigration so we need more debate questions on the immigration cause this is a very important issue and immigration is not getting the attention it deserves

    And the candidates have been so unclear about it, too.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  116. Romney’s a Ted Kennedy Republican.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  117. Republicans have lost the base. And will continue to blow up.
    Hope they know how to reload.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  118. JD: nobody is giving the finger to the base*. But neither is there a need to pander and suck up to them.

    * unless you define giving the finger as not pandering and sucking up.

    steve (254463)

  119. Let’s see… Romney gives 42% of his 2011 income back in the form of taxes and charity.

    Speaking of charity…

    Romney – 15% of his income to charity

    Gingrich – 2.6% of his to charity

    Barack Hussein Obama – 1% of his income to charity

    Slow Joe Biden – $369 to charity

    Same old story… Democrats are always willing to take your money and spend your money, but are real hard-hearted when it comes to helping the less fortunate with their own money.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  120. steve,

    That’s another reason I’m leery of Romney. If he wins, he won’t owe the conservative base but he will owe moderates. Thus, it will be hard to pressure him if his instincts and obligations tell him to “reach across the aisle.”

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  121. Does anybody see a reason why Romney released his tax returns today? The same day as the SOTU? When the president will no doubt manage to mention Mitt’s specific wealth during the class warfare section of the speech? When the media will be all together on every channel discussing politics and “fairness”? When poor overtaxed Buffet’s secretary will be sitting in the presidential box? Why did Mitt’s team decide to release it today? Am I missing some grand strategy?

    elissa (e3d8ab)

  122. The way Gingrich makes his money (and will go back to making it the same way) creates humungous liabilities for American taxpayers, because his work helps to turn specific private sector entities into extensions of the federal government.

    Here’s an interesting take…

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  123. If you’re going to discuss general-election electability, you should include Santorum in the analysis. He could still win the GOP nomination, something that can no longer be said for T-Paw, Gary-from-NM, Cain, Bachmann, Huntsman, or Perry.

    The electability equation is very different for Santorum, I respectfully submit: He carries comparatively less personal baggage than Gingrich or Romney. But he still sparks very intense negatives by those most opposed to, or threatened by, his very vigorous and prominently emphasized social conservative positions.

    These aren’t simple, linear calculations, either. They spin off into at least six or eight dimensions (certainly including one crazy axis just for the delta-over-time). And I scoff at polls and those who put very much credence in them. At this stage, with this number of variables and this far from the election, the margins of error swamp any set of supposedly empirical opinion-polling numbers.

    Beldar (88eab4)

  124. Good point, elissa. I have no idea.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  125. Elissa – have you taken a look at the two returns? If you have, what specifically do you find compromising, or unpalatable?

    Romney’s real federal tax rate on his investment income was greater than 40% since that revenue stream was subject to both a personal tax rate and the corporate tax rate. When you add state taxes we’re talking about an income tax rate on his investment income that rises to 50%plus.

    This is what people need to remember when they start hearing Obama and his lapdog media come on with the “fairness” bullsh*t. Same goes for Gingrich, the Man Who Never Lobbied.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  126. The way Gingrich makes his money (and will go back to making it the same way) creates humungous liabilities for American taxpayers, because his work helps to turn specific private sector entities into extensions of the federal government.

    From a supporter of the creator of RomneyCare, this is rich.

    JD (318f81)

  127. Obama needs to be pounded on his failures and when you think he’s taken his “fair share” of pounding, pound him some more. Every single day. And twice on Sunday. No let up. Take no prisoners.

    It’s only fair.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  128. Do some research on what Gingrich has lobbied for, JD. Put Romney aside. You say you’re a conservative. Please tell me what you see in what Gingrich has done since he left Congress that is the least bit “conservative”.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  129. “New details from Newt Gingrich’s $35,000-a-year contract with Freddie Mac show that the Republican hopeful wasn’t just a boardroom consultant, but served as a high-profile booster for the beleaguered organization. He even gave a rallying speech to dozens of the group’s political action committee donors in the spring of 2007.

    Shortly after the “rah, rah” speech, as one source described it, Gingrich gave an interview for the Freddie Mac website, where he supported the group’s model at length. The interview is no longer on Freddie’s site.”

    “… Meanwhile, Reuters reported more details about the lobbying expert who Gingrich says advised him back in 2000:

    “He hired me to give him advice on state and federal lobbying requirements,” [lobbying expert] Thomas Susman said.

    “The subject matter,” he added, “was simply to advise him and his associates in his business what the lobbying laws were because he did not want to have to cross the line to register as a lobbyist in any of those jurisdictions.”

    Which sounds like confirmation that Gingrich hired an expert to avoid crossing the 20 percent threshold that would require him to officially register as a lobbyist.”

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  130. DRJ wrote (#101 — 1/24/2012 @ 1:24 pm):

    I’m hopeful that if Romney wins, he will follow McCain and pick a VP that makes it a little easier for conservatives. But his political instincts seem so moderate that I’m afraid he won’t even do that.

    I share your hope that if Romney wins, he’ll pick a strong and inspiring conservative. I’m a bit more optimistic, perhaps, than you about this, and it’s one of those occasions when I think pragmatism will push in the same direction as might be wished by strong movement/ideological conservatives (perhaps a/k/a “constitutional conservatives”).

    Unless we credit the newcomer/brokered convention scenario, which I (wistfully) think remains improbable, whoever wins the GOP nomination will almost certainly have taken more friendly-fire damage during the primaries than John McCain had, and vastly more damage than, say, Dubya had incurred. Unlike Dubya (whose early nomination gave him a rare and almost perfect freedom to choose a Veep for non-electoral reasons), McCain badly needed to bind wounds and rally the party. Picking a counter-balancing Veep nominee is actually much more the tradition and the norm. (See, e.g., Reagan-Bush ’80, Kennedy-Johnson ’60.)

    And from the pragmatist nominee’s point of view: The Veep pick is something of great value when given away, but no guaranteed value (or cost to the POTUS) when and if it turns into an actual vice presidency. Again, the example is LBJ, whose inclusion on the ticket did wonders to get JFK elected despite the revulsion that northern and especially eastern Democrats felt for LBJ. Jack Kennedy just winked at all those who told him not to pick LBJ because Kennedy already intended that the de facto #2 in the Administration was going to be Bobby, no matter what. And until November 22, 1963, LBJ’s vice presidency was mostly inconsequential, even compared to his immediate predecessor’s (Nixon’s).

    In Harvard Business School terms that I could imagine Romney using: “Other than opportunity cost, it costs us nothing to pick a Veep who will rally and excite the GOP right, and does us the most good in nailing down what needs nailing before starting the general election campaign.”

    Self-interestedly, there are lots of good reasons to expect that Romney would pick an impeccably conservative, and very exciting, Veep.

    By contrast, what would, or should, a nominee Gingrich do with his Veep spot? I don’t have a clue. But worse, that’s exactly the kind of judgment call that I lack confidence in Gingrich’s ability to make wisely.

    Beldar (88eab4)

  131. Col. H, I don’t fault Gingrich for hiring an expert to help advise on how to keep him from having to register as a lobbyist. Indeed, I hope Gingrich got, and followed, such advice. The governing laws and regulations are onerous, confusing, sometimes harsh, often ridiculous. It would be imprudent not to get such advice, and yes, it’s also done very routinely as part of systematic and institutional ass-covering.

    That part, in other words, is just business as usual in Washington for everyone there whose employment depends upon, but isn’t directly with, the federal government.

    Beldar (88eab4)

  132. Col.–Why so defensive?

    I did not say, nor did I imply that I find anything compromising, specifically unpalatable or shocking in the returns. Rather I questioned both the strategic merit and the political wisdom of Mitt’s team timing the release for today. Do you have special inight or an explanation for any of that? Frankly, if you don’t see that at least possibly tomorrow or Thursday could have been slightly less electrifying days to show the country how rich Mitt is, then maybe you are not as savvy as I have given you credit for all these months. Chill, friend.

    elissa (e3d8ab)

  133. Imagine how the race would be instantly transformed if tomorrow morning’s headline, a week before the Florida primary, just happened to be: “Romney, Rubio announce they’ve agreed to run as GOP ticket if Romney is nominee.”

    Now that would be counter-programming against the SOTU address!

    Beldar (88eab4)

  134. Lobbied for who? That is such a BS charge. 1, lobbying is not inherently wrong. 2) other than insinuation, there is no evidence of him having done so. Lobbyists are required to be registered, no? Are you suggesting he broke the law?

    JD (318f81)

  135. Col. H, in fact, I hope Gingrich hired a better advisor on how to avoid technically becoming a lobbyist than whoever’s been (mis-)advising Chris Dodd. (But of course, it should be a moot point in Dodd’s case, since he ought to be in prison.)

    Beldar (88eab4)

  136. Elissa… they released it today to either a) bury it or b) bait Obama with it, for some of the reasons I pointed out in posts #119 and 125. If they are a competent campaign, it will be “b”.

    That’s my $.02. These Dems loved JFK and FDR, who were wealthy men. Bill Clinton makes twice as much money as Romney, as they’ll kiss his lying, adulterous behind until the end of time.

    I’m not savvy at all, so fear not, lol. I am curious to see which of our fellow posters believes tax returns should be an issue for any of the candidates… as long as tax laws are adhered to.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  137. “Because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, I’m such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a unique campaign that fits the way I operate and what I’m trying to do.”

    “I am the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson.”

    – Newt “Mack Daddy” Gingrich


    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  138. 136… as and

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  139. But he’s not,they promoted him, to the MPAA,

    narciso (87e966)

  140. 135… About Chris “Mr. Waitress Sandwich” Dodd, truer words were never spoken, Beldar.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  141. 134… so, you don’t believe Gingrich has been peddling influence for the better part of the last decade, JD? Is that what you are saying?

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  142. Beldar,

    I know you’re engaging in positive thinking but, for the record, picking a VP now would be wasting one of a Presidential candidate’s most valuable PR benefits on a meaningless campaign month. Romney needs to save what would be a sure-fire Rubio bounce for after the Convention and the period leading up to the general election.

    I expect most of the GOP candidates to pick Rubio, in part because Rubio appeals to conservatives and in part because he may appeal to Hispanics. But if Romney wins, I think he should pick Rubio for his charisma and excitement. The Romney campaign surely needs it.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  143. Did Gingrich work as an historian for Freddie Mac, or didn’t he? He claims he did. Why has he made only the contract for 2006 available? He claims the campaign can’t find the remaining years, of which there are many. Does anyone find that plausible?

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  144. No, epwj, that is not what I said. Politicos dealing influence. I find it shocking that Fannie Freddie wanted him involved in their efforts. Shocking. I also find it shocking that you seem to think I am a champion of his, or that refuting one of you flies, makes someone a proponent of someone else.

    JD (318f81)

  145. IMHO, Newt Gingrich does not possess the moral fiber, ethics, character, or sound leadership skills to be the Republican nominee for POTUS. It would be like trading one classic narcissist for the Republican version.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  146. DRJ, you’re right, of course. And I didn’t say he should pick now, I was just chuckling at what might happen if. But oh: it would be a mighty kick to the anthill!

    Beldar (88eab4)

  147. What’s shocking, JD, is that at that late date – 2007 – when the alarm bells had been sounding for a few years, Newt dug deep to give what was a, by all descriptions, rousing, rah-rah speech for Freddie Mac.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  148. ==No, epwj, that is not what I said==

    That cracked me up JD. You have to know I was thinking exactly the same thing.

    elissa (e3d8ab)

  149. Shocking. He also sat on a couch preaching about AGW with Pelosi, and endorsed Scozzafava. But this wailing from a Romney Fanboi is rich.

    JD (318f81)

  150. In other news, the wisdom of Steve Benen, will be shared on the Rachel Maddow show, as producer.

    narciso (87e966)

  151. “one of you flies”… I think I better understand the allure that Newt must hold for some.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  152. Colonel Haiku:

    It would be like trading one classic narcissist for the Republican version.

    Frankly, there are moments when it’s that part of Newt that appeals to me most.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  153. okay then…

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  154. To be compared with PeeWee… et tu, JD?


    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  155. I guess we’ll see if that grandiosity plays well in the rest of America.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  156. Elissa 😉

    JD (318f81)

  157. Gingrich was on the payroll of one of the GSE’s who’s risky business practices were a major contributor to the near total collapse of our financial system. Some may find that troubling.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  158. Nice rhetorical device, Barcky,

    JD (318f81)

  159. Romney was an energetic child who enjoyed pranks.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  160. Frankly, there are moments when it’s that part of Newt that appeals to me most.

    Comment by DRJ — 1/24/2012 @ 5:28 pm

    okay then…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku — 1/24/2012 @ 5:31 pm

    Yes, because if Obama loses, Democrats and the media will be more hostile than anything I think we’ve ever seen. The Republican President who will have to deal with that must be strong and, frankly, have a huge ego — an ego as big as Mt Rushmore or Barack Obama. Romney is strong but he’s a mild-mannered man, and you said it yourself: Newt has that ego.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  161. We’ll see how that ego serves us when there are riots in the streets.

    Colonel Haiku (b486eb)

  162. Am I the only one who thinks that the Dem Senate Caucus deserves a 21-gun salute for their 1000 days of NO BUDGET –
    signaled with live ammunition?

    AD-RtR/OS! (92f1aa)

  163. riots in the streets

    Put down a riot – flush defective genes from the gene-pool.
    Works for me.

    AD-RtR/OS! (92f1aa)

  164. Colonel Haiku – I find that I am curious as to how old you are – how long ago you became politically aware …

    Those of us who have been politically aware since the 1970s or so – we are painfully aware of the patterns of US politics … we are aware of the 4+ decades during which the Democrat party *owned* the House of Representatives up until 1995 … we are aware that in that final decade the Dem arrogance and sense of entitlement got to be so bad that then-Speaker Wright gained the dubious distinction of being the first Speaker of the US House of Representatives to resign in disgrace (1989) … some Dems will try to pin that particular first on Gingrich, but it ain’t so …

    The 1994 campaign was the final straw for me as far as the LA Times was concerned … I already knew that, as a Journal of Record went, it was embarrassingly biased, and in ways that Scots kindergarteners would have been too proud to use … (I did keep subscribing to it for the Comics section and the coupons – apart from that, one had to actively hunt for any good reporting in it) …

    The LAT spent months trying to scare people with stories how a Gingrich-led House would have “Prayer in the Schools” as their first piece of legislation, if they didn’t repeal Roe v Wade first …

    The reality is that 1995 HR1 was “Congressional Accountability Act of 1995” which was quickly passed … 1995 S2 was also “Congressional Accountability Act of 1995” and it was signed into law … the gist of this Bill was to make Congresscritters subject to the same laws as the rest of us in all sorts of ways – something from which the arrogant Dems have been exempting themselves … (sorta like Obamacare and waivers for Friends of Teh Won) …

    You are likely to find that the Gingrich who got that Bill passed is what he would be like as President … the Gingrich to whom *you* keep responding is the one portrayed by the LA Times and the rest of the majorly-biased media …

    He’s no saint … he *is* smart enough to get things done … and the checks and balances built into the US political system will keep him firmly grounded where he can do the most good …

    The same biased media which paints Gingrich in such a bad light will spend a lot of effort to find every flaw they can in him, now, and in office … just as they have done their level best to *ignore* and gloss over any flaw in our current First Occupant …

    Please try not to be suckered in by the current major media efforts … from your skill with haiku, you are capable of being *much* smarter than they give you credit for … even though, in this comments section, you have been hiding it well …

    Alasdair (1b11af)

  165. York gives some detail to the Ethics charges against Newt, determined entirely baseless by the IRS:

    Analysis by that rare animal an honest lawyer:

    The politics of personal destruction, a Democratic party invention, perfected by the GOP.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  166. Coming to venue near you:

    ” if he should somehow become the GOP nominee it would not signal certain disaster in the general election or mark a fundamental shift in the nature of the party. Indeed, it might say nothing more than Republican voters looking at the political environment of 2012 and deciding — rightly or wrongly — that “abrasive loose cannon” is a marginally better brand than “animatronic plutocrat.””

    The GOP could virtually double its reach if it simply gave in to inertia, reached out to the TEA demiurge and renewed itself lead by the young Turks of WI, Ryan, Walker, Johnson, Duffy, et al.

    Return to your roots in Ripon, WI, dinosaurs, all you risk losing is Joyner, Powell, Rove, Frum, Coulter, Rubin,.. and assorted flotsam.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

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