Why Newt could win

Dave Weigel at Slate:

They like the idea of Gingrich facing Obama, and they think he provides a stark contrast. He says so. His last full-on grapple with Romney came when the former governor attacked him, in a sort of more-in-sorrow-than-anger way, for saying that the Palestinians were an “invented people.” That, said Romney, was complicating things for Israelis.

“The Israelis are getting rocketed every day,” snorted Gingrich. “We’re not making life more difficult. The Obama administration is making life more difficult.” Plus, he sounded like he was right on the facts. “Palestinian did not become a common term until after 1977.” That’s the sort of knowledge-bomb that Republicans dream of dropping on Obama—they feel like this is right, but here’s a candidate who can say so.*

And then Gingrich closed the loop.

“I’m a Reaganite,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Reaganite. Even at the point of causing some confusion with the timid.”

Who was “the timid?” Whoever viewers thought it should be. Obama. Romney. The media. All of them, as far as they’re concerned, would lose in a showdown with Newt Gingrich. And this is how he won the debate.

There are basically three modes of thought on the Israel/Palestine issue in this country. Some people are strongly pro-Israel. This group includes both Jews and fundamentalist Christians.

There are some people who are strongly pro-Palestine (or anti-Zionist). This group is the smallest and tends to be left-wing. Then there is the group I belong to – the people that either don’t care about the issue or give it a fairly low priority on their personal care-o-meter.

So a couple days before the debate Newt drops a bomb and refers to the Palestinians as an “invented people.” (If you want to debate whether that is true or not go ahead but that’s not the point of this post.) This was not an accident or coincidence. This statement guarantees he will get questioned about it during the debate. He is prepped and ready when it happens.

Your reaction to his statements depends on which group you belong to. You will either agree, disagree or not really care.

If you don’t care then it’s “no harm, no foul” as far as Newt is concerned. He didn’t gain anything with you but he didn’t lose anything either.

On the other hand, if you are pro-Palestine you probably object rather strongly to what he said. But then you’re probably a lefty and weren’t going to be voting for Newt anyway.

There was only one group where Newt could hope to win votes using this issue, and his statements were directed at them. And he knew what he said would be controversial, thus guaranteeing lots of replay and discussion. He set himself up for a fat pitch over the plate and then hit it out of the park.

Well planned and well executed.


This is not an endorsement of Newt Gingrich. This is an assessment of his political skills. If you held a gun to my head and told me to choose between Newt and Obama, I would tell you to pull the trigger.

This entry was posted in 2012 GOP Primary, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Why Newt could win

  1. votermom says:

    It cements his anti-Obama image since Obama is pretty much viewed as the most anti-Israel POTUS ever by the right. (Can I throw a few more anti’s in there?)

    • While Romney is pretty much an Obama clone (or the other way around), I think Newt being the most anti-Obama is the main reason he’s where he is today. And in a funny way, Newt is actually more of an outsider given that both party machines will be against him. Now that’s funny.

  2. DandyTiger says:

    I’m not sure the little kids that run Otown know what to do with that. I think they’ve been too busy laughing at the idea of running against Newt to notice he has talking skills. And their blindness to Obama’s inability to talk without TOTUS is embarrassing.

    Chances are, just like in ’07/’08, even when Obama falls on his face in a debate, the media will spin it otherwise. Worked for Bush as well. But that can only go so far. And I think Obama has the very same problem as Romney. If you poke him, he’ll cry. Or bet you 10K he won’t.

    Well, it won’t be boring.

    • I see a lot of cheering and happiness among the obot crowd. They may be right, perhaps Newt will self destruct at just the right time. With both party machines working to make that happen, Newt will have his hands full. But I can easily see Newt staying on game too. If the I/P set up and the subsequent slam dunk in this debate is any indication, we might have to say it’s Newt’s race to lose.

    • kc says:

      ‘the little kids that run otown’–that is a good one. I think they see Newt as an old, chubby white guy–non-threatening to their spiffy, sleek metro guy. Let them keep thinking it.

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Let’s assume for a minute Newt is the nominee. Then what VP picks would be his best bet? Let the speculations commence. 🙂

    • Romney would be the obvious choice. Covers the middle, the party machine, and he could out creep Biden.

      Palin is probably a non choice because she probably wouldn’t want it for the same reason she didn’t run, and she would take attention away from Newt. 🙂

      And of course Rubio is an obvious choice as discussed before.

      • myiq2xu says:

        My money is on Susana Martinez.

        • That would be an interesting choice.

        • LandOLincoln says:

          Martinez? That’s interesting, myiq. Why?

          Btw, as a proud Librul I was fully prepared to hate her guts, assuming as I did that she’d immediately nuke the Rail Runner and gut the Film Commission, among other things.

          But I’ve been pleasantly surprised. She trimmed ’em a bit, but they’re otherwise intact, and she’s done some other things that I’ve liked–such as visiting schools (including kindergartens)–that I don’t remember either slimy Richardson or Governor Doofus (Gary Johnson) doing.

          And while I’ve not personally met any of our governors, she comes across on the tube at least as the most personable and genuine, making even the big cowboy Bruce King look like a glad-handing phony.

      • foxyladi14 says:

        Romney would be the obvious choice.agree. 🙂

  4. Ditto on the pull the trigger if I had to decide. Such a lovely predicament the two parties have gotten us into.

    The funniest thing I’ve noticed over the weekend are various prominent press people exclaiming in disbelief: is Newt for real? This just can’t be who will get the nomination. They laugh as if it’s a big joke. Reminds me of 1979 for some reason.

    • Mary says:

      Me too.

      They sycophantic press can spin all they want to—I just don’t think the public is listening to them anymore.

  5. Zaladonis says:

    Thing is, Gingrich acts like a bully and today’s Americans like bullies.

    Oh, they piss and moan with YouTubes about how It Gets Better, and Occupee about how unfair everything is, but truth is people today feel more secure with scammers and bullies in charge.

    And even though Obama’s a scammer and bully, he doesn’t want to rumple his suit; Newt seems very jolly about being a total asshole.

    I don’t much care who wins because I think they’re both navigators to hell, but Newt versus Barack could be a fun show.

    Invented people, what a hoot!

    • I think you’re right. Either way we’re screwed. But it will be entertaining to watch. And if you step back and don’t care because you knew better and voted for Hillary, then it’s all rather a fun show.

      Might as well have a good time while riding the bomb down. Yeeee haaaaa.

      • Here’s an interesting thing to think about, if it were Hillary at the helm, I wouldn’t have a worry about how she would handle herself against Newt. Interesting difference to think about.

        • Mary says:

          Newt respected Hillary. Not so, for Obama.

        • OldCoastie says:


          I think if Newt gets it… I’d suspect he’d win the presidency… then the table will be well set for an EXCELLENT and EXCEPTIONAL Democrat in 2016.

          IF we survive that long.

          for some reason, it really rather tickles me that everyone hates him (including me)

    • myiq2xu says:

      Newt seems very jolly about being a total asshole.

      He looked pretty jolly when he told Mitt “The only reason you spent your life in the private sector is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy 17 years ago.”

      The audience gasped the way people do when they see a QB get hit from the blindside and wonder if he’ll ever get up again.

      Dayum! Point-blank in the balls. Both barrels at once.

      • elliesmom says:

        I don’t think Romney would survive the onslaught that’s sure to come if he gets the nomination. It’s not that there’s anything horrific in his past. It’s that he doesn’t handle criticism well. I think we would see him get rattled pretty quickly. He didn’t even put up a fight to get a second term as governor when he stopped feeling the love. So contrary to what the pundits might be saying, whether he gets the nomination or not, I don’t think we’ll see a President Romney. Newt, on the other hand, seems to enjoy mud wrestling. If he can choose his battles, he has a chance of bringing Obama down. My problem with electing Newt Gingrich is that I think we’re going to have Republican majorities in both houses.

    • elliesmom says:

      I think the key to what comes after the election is what the make-up of the House and Senate looks like. Either candidate, Obama or a player to be named later, with an oppositional legislature will face at least some gridlock. We already know that Obama doesn’t know how to take advantage of significant majorities in both houses, but we don’t know if the Republican to be named later would use similar majorities to more successfully push his party’s agenda. The more important elections in 2012 are actually the congressional races.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      Newt seems very jolly about being a total asshole.
      that’s because he is so used to being one 😆

  6. DeniseVB says:

    I wouldn’t pull the trigger !

    If these are our choices, what fun blog world will be the next 4 years!

    My fear, if Obama loses, that “blood in the streets” threat from the unions and professional owies may become true (losers HATE losing). Who better to deal with that? We’ll need a bully.

    If Obama’s rehired, we’ll have a lot more problems since those same unions and owies can walk all over him 😦 And BO will lead like a lame duck the entire second term, he’ll care less about us than ever.

    • Zaladonis says:

      For us Democrats who voted for Giuliani for Mayor the first time, that was our reasoning. We needed a bully. And we got one. Have to say, he pretty much did what we wanted — but then there’s always those unintended consequences.

  7. yttik says:

    Off topic, but I thought this really captured the spirit of the season:

    U.K. parent’s finger bitten off in Nativity fight


    • Lulu says:

      This is why the damage Obama has done will affect Democratic congressional members for decades to come. They appear to be nothing more than cannon fodder to protect him so far. Some are going to have to join the R’s to investigate or kiss their asses good bye.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Peggy Noonan muses on Newt…..


    ….exactly what I’ve been hearing from Newt supporters who do not listen to talk radio. They are older voters, they are not all Republicans, and when government last made progress he was part of it. They have a very practical sense of politics now. The heroic era of the presidency is dead. They are not looking to like their president or admire him, they just want someone to fix the crisis. The last time helpful things happened in Washington, he was a big part of it. So they may hire him again. Are they put off by his scandals? No. They think all politicians are scandalous.

    • Mary says:

      She has a point, ya know. Public has had enough.

      • Lulu says:

        MIKE BARNICLE: I think he is stunned, given his gifts, at his inability to get anything really done in Congress. I think he’s stunned by it.

        JOE SCARBOROUGH: But he doesn’t look at it as his inability. Jon, he is stunned that those that are fortunate enough to work with him are not helping him pass legislation to make history.

        JON MEACHAM: I think it’s, if you think about it from a biographical point of view, it’s his thinking the system, and really the country, is not commensurate with his gifts. That’s a harsh thing to say, but I have a feeling that in the dark night of the soul, that’s what he feels. I think he thinks that this is a 18th-century constitutional republic that needs significant updating. I think he sees the reflexive opposition—a culture that Gingrich helped build—as one huge stumbling block. He sees all of us [Ed.: presumably a reference to the media] as another huge stumbling block.

        SCARBOROUGH: And let’s just say, he sees elected leaders from across the country as a stumbling block. He sees democracy, he sees this version, as you say, this government as a stumbling block that’s getting in the way of his greatness.

        The link is from a righty site. The quotes are from mostly lefties from a lefty propaganda network. Holy crap. They are finally seeing what the problem is and it is not the public.

      • elliesmom says:

        That’s sort of where I am and my husband, too. We’ve given up on the Democrats, we’ve experienced Romney first hand, we don’t take Ron Paul seriously, so there’s only a short list of contenders left. It would be great if the Clinton-Gingrich tug of war could be duplicated again, but what Democrat in the House could play opposite a President Gingrich? And if such a person existed, would a House controlled by the Democrats elect him or her? My district will send a Democrat to congress. I can vote for Warren for senate. But I have no faith that it will matter one iota.

    • djmm says:

      Those “older voters” should recall that “the last time helpful things happened in Washington,” it was not because of Newt, but because Bill Clinton was President. Newt’s mistakes were helpful only because his over-reaching allowed Bill Clinton to play him like a violin (which I enjoyed immensely). That plus the former Senate Majority leader’s ego and ethics problems are why even the Republicans who worked with Newt do not respect him, as Ms. Noonan points out.

      “What is striking is the extraordinary divide in opinion between those who know Gingrich and those who don’t. Those who do are mostly not for him, and they were burning up the phone lines this week in Washington.”

      Is this really the best the Republican Party can do? Pitiful.


  9. votermom says:

  10. catarina says:

    Are we ready for the Callistasmirror blog? 😦

  11. votermom says:

    This is why Michelle keeps getting compared to Imelda:


    Mrs. Obama took another tack, however. She said the massive holiday displays in her White House are designed to make others feel better, especially military families.

    “I know for some of you, this holiday season will be tough,” she told some visitors. “But hopefully, it’s times like this that make you know that you live in a grateful nation, and that we are just so inspired by your sacrifice. And hopefully, this is a memory that will stay with you every holiday season.”

    It’s all for the sake of the little people, as Imelda would say:

    “I am my little people’s star and slave. When I go out into the barrios, I get dressed because I know my little people want to see a star. Other presidents’ wives have gone to the barrios wearing house dresses and slippers. That’s not what people want to see. People want someone they can love, someone to set an example.” –Imelda Marcos, Los Angeles Times, October 1980

    Or as IowaHawk says:

  12. foxyladi14 says:

    her house ?????????

  13. kc says:

    they are both tone deaf.

  14. Three Wickets says:

    On the three camps you’ve defined (and please push back and correct me as warranted), American Jews are not only in the “strongly pro-Israel” camp. They are in the other two categories you define as well, though the delineations are somewhat simplistic. Historically 70-80% of American Jews vote for the Democratic Party. The “pro-Palestine” agenda within the Progressive Movement has very strong support and leadership from Jewish activists. J Street and even Journo-lister activism provide aggressive counterpoints to AIPAC activism. The impact of the “Juicebox Mafia” in the Progressive blogosphere is significant.

  15. DeniseVB says:

    Down Twinkles 😦 Port shutdowns getting no support from the 99%…


  16. Dario says:

    Newt is the Democratic Party’s worst nightmare because he might just win. And the Democratic Party has no one to blame but itself for first stabbing in the back the best candidate the party had to win in 2008 and future elections. Second, the Democrats continue to support Obama, instead of telling him to go back to Chicago. And third, the Democrats have been demonizing Romney, never looking at the big picture, and elevated Newt.

    • 1539days says:

      Newt is like Bill Clinton in one respect. There is no plan B. Running for the presidency is the big show. There’s not chance for a do-over in 4 years. There’s no backup position to worry about. Newt can go 100% at Obama, because his bridges are all burned. McCain was concerned with his version of integrity. Kerry didn’t even give up his Senate seat to run. Newt doesn’t give a crap about annoying the Republicans. He can go home and write books if he wants, but he’s not beholden to the establishment.

      • DeniseVB says:

        Obama didn’t resign his Senate seat til after he was elected, which begat the Blagho mess. McCain kept his seat too.

        I’m still miffed at Tim Kaine for taking the DNC chair, and stay Gov of Virginia for 2 years of his term. But we have one term limits for our Govs, he could care less. Now he’s running for Senate (Jim Webb’s seat). Our other choice, Macaca Allen 😦 Ergggh.

        • 1539days says:

          You can win without being hungry. GW Bush did it. However, being willing to go all in is a big advantage. Mitt knows he may need to hang back and wait until 2016 if Obama wins. Newt knows this is a total fluke and he’ll never have this chance again.

          It’s the same with Clinton. He was a little known Southern Democratic governor who ran for the White House in a year where other major candidates decided to sit it out because GHW Bush was considered safe. Clinton was also never going to have a chance like that again.

    • DeniseVB says:

      The Dems should have primaried Obama. I noticed an early movement to Draft Russ Feingold, but he declined 😦

      So where are the rising stars? They should start dragging them out like show ponies by now 😉

  17. DeniseVB says:

    Well crikesy, a Lincon-Douglas-Newt-Huntsman Debate on Cspan tonight? Sounds like it was already held….re-air for the rest of us 🙂


  18. OldCoastie says:

    My dream is that it becomes clear that Gingrich is going to be the nominee. Gringrich takes a solid shot at Obama and smacks him right in his glass jaw…. Obama crumples to the ground.

    And Obama’s numbers continue to tumble, only faster…

    When the Democratic convention rolls around, it is so obvious that Obama cannot win, that Hillary is simply declared the winner.

    Hillary could take Newt with one hand tied behind her back.

    Nice dream, eh?

Comments are closed.