Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 23, 2012
POLITICS: Rush Limbaugh: "Newt is a vessel"

If you want to understand what Republican primary voters are thinking in flocking suddenly to Newt Gingrich, nobody is closer to those voters than Rush Limbaugh. I highly recommend you read Rush's explanation of what the voters are seeing in Newt right now and what he has to do in order to seal the deal with them going forward. Sample:

Let me tell you why Newt Gingrich won South Carolina. Let me tell you why he's coming on. It is 'cause he is able to articulate conservatism, nothing more. John King, Juan Williams, could have asked any other Republican the same questions they asked and they would have shriveled away in abject fear and defensiveness. If any of the Republican candidates had the same life story as Newt, or had said the same things about food stamp president and all that, Juan Williams' question to Romney wouldn'ta helped Romney. John King setting up Romney, if Romney had three ex-wives and one of them was saying he wanted an open marriage, would not have mattered. It wasn't those questions. It was that they asked somebody who can articulate conservatism.

To those of you in the Republican base, this isn't complicated. Newt is winning. He is on a momentum roll here because he can articulate conservatism, that and he's willing to take it to Obama.

Which is a large part of why my preferred candidates - Pawlenty and Perry - fell by the wayside; Pawlenty wasn't willing to take the fight to Mitt Romney face to face, and Perry was seen as unable to properly communicate. Of course, Newt doesn't just have rhetoric; he has a record, with real accomplishments both political and legislative, and the scars to show for it. That's a point I've made repeatedly: voters can and should want candidates who have proven the willingness and ability to put themselves out there and take heat for their positions. Newt's record has - as Rush notes - plenty of flaws in it as well, but as Phil Klein neatly summarizes, the difference between Gingrich and Romney is that Romney really has no such earned good will to fall back on.

UPDATE: Ace has some wise words for Romney.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:54 PM | Politics 2012 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Even if Romney would articulate conservatism well, I don't see the conservative base trusting him over Newt. No matter what Romney says or how hard he is willing to go after Obama, he was a governor of a deep blue state who instituted a government health care program.

Conservatives will go with Newt unless they believe that Newt's scars are so ugly that he couldn't beat Obama in a general election. Also, Newt has to restrain his penchant for airing his more speculative ideas, such as preparing the US for an EMP attack.

Posted by: MVH at January 24, 2012 9:56 AM

Newt is quick on his feet and can feed the red meat the GOP base hungers for.

That said, he is a gasbag of the highest order. Ron Paul pwned him last night w/r/t his claim that he stepped down as Speaker voluntarily and it represented him taking responsibility for the GOP not doing better in the midterms that followed the irresponsible Clinton impeachment proceedings. He is a serial liar and adulterer with an ego the size of the ocean. I assume you consider his time as speaker to be the requisite "executive experience" you value so highly. If so, that experience resulted in his own party turning against him.

Have fun with his run as a protest candidate, because that is all he is.

Posted by: Magrooder at January 24, 2012 3:02 PM

America needs a conservative now.

Obama and his liberal friends have damaged America like never seen before.

Romney can not be trusted, he will move further and further to the left every chance he gets. He wants to get along with the other side.

That is exactly what America doesn't need for 4 years, she needs a strong conservative to undo many of the wrongs brought now by Obama.

Newt is not perfect, but he's just what we need right now...a rough and tumble conservative, ready to stand up and demand conservatism.

Posted by: JoEL at January 24, 2012 4:46 PM

Ah, being suckered in by Newt. What a sight. Mr. Morality here is beginning to love himslef a serial philandering, lying, ethically challenged narcissist. Newt, I'm not sure is a real conservative (whatever that means these days) and I'm definitely sure he doesn't give a rats butt about the GOP. Newt is in it for Newt and only Newt. Go right ahead. Fall for his jiggly, sorry ass. Yes, he can get down in the mud and say more outrageous things than Mitt and seem more credible doing it because Mitt is a worse liar than Newt. Newt is compulsive so it seems legit I guess. Saddle that pony up and hitch him up with Crazy Christine. Please.

Posted by: jim at January 24, 2012 7:00 PM

Newt is, as you can tell, not my first or even my second choice, and I'm well familiar with his various kinds of baggage, but I think he's the best of the two remaining choices. I would rather have run a seasoned executive like Perry or Pawlenty, but the intensive focus on debates this cycle did them in and gave us the best debater in the field instead.

I continue to believe Romney is a good man, but a weak general election candidate with no ascertainable political principles, and that's not a combination worth supporting if I have any choice in the matter. A Newt campaign will be a straight up effort to see whether conservative ideas well-expressed and Obama's poor record can trump Newt's own personal baggage and eccentricities. I don't know how that will come out, but it's not impossible.

There's a difference between having the basic qualifications for the job and having the best possible qualifications for the job. That's what I stressed in my post back in 08 about the 5 kinds of experience we look for. I think Newt's undoubtedly well more than minimally qualified by virtue of his political leadership experience - he held the highest Constitutional office in our legislature for four years, during which he was the de facto national leader of the GOP (we've had legislative leaders as Presidents before with mixed success - LBJ, Polk). He served in Congress for two decades and has an encyclopedic grasp of policy arguments, history, and political philosophy. Like Bill Clinton, he's a master of the high and low arts of political rhetoric alike. You guys are way underestimating him if you think he's in the same class as a raw rookie like O'Donnell.

Posted by: Crank at January 24, 2012 7:24 PM

Newt has a few problem with his general electability the main problem is he is condescending. That condescension sells well to a less than sophisticated crowd (cheering at debates) when it is something you agree with. People are confusing Newt's condescension with charisma. But when that shoes is on the other foot it does not go over so well. As for Romney just wait till we find out for several years he paid zero taxes. Plus, Romney has zero personality and that matters in elections just ask Nixon.

Posted by: javaman at January 24, 2012 8:39 PM

You dislike condescension but go right on to call debate audiences "a less than sophisticated crowd" - must be an irony free zone.

While I agree that Romney is not Mr Personality, Nixon's not really your best example, as he was on four winning tickets in five national elections and most likely would have won the fifth absent fraud. Nixon in '72 carried 49 states even though nobody actually liked him.

Posted by: Crank at January 24, 2012 8:50 PM

Crank as a trained legal professional who I will guess have debated in many forums dating back to High School do you find cheering at debates proper form? Not being condescending when pointing out how people should behave at an event as serious as a presidential debate. But I for get you toss out your professional experience when it comes to political dogma.

As for Nixon and debates I was referring to 1960 as that is the standard for bombing on TV in debates. I know you knew that but why use your vast knowledge of political history when you can stick with political dogma at all turns.

Posted by: javaman at January 24, 2012 8:58 PM

I don't know how you guys are reading dogma into Crank's analysis of Newt. He isn't saying Newt's perfect, and there is no planet on which O'Donnell and Angle are comparable to Newt. It's a pretty sensible analysis.

By the way, speaking of irony, Obama is no stranger to condescension, yet he managed to win an election.


someone condescending can't win an election. Obama is

Posted by: MVH at January 24, 2012 9:38 PM

Y'all get to choose (presumably) between a morally bankrupt man who worships at the alter of himself or a man so out of touch with anyone who makes less than a million bucks/year that he says and does thing so laughable and tone-deaf it's painful. Neither have any qualifications to lead this country or if they do their moral and ethical shortcomings are so pronounced they massively outweigh their limited positive characteristics (I'm not sure Newt has any of those). To paraphrase the knight said in The Last Crusades "You have chosen poorly."

Posted by: jim at January 24, 2012 11:15 PM

Newt is unquestionably a more able candidate than Tea Party Crazies like O'Donnell and Angle. Looking only at results -- and not the impact on our political culture -- Newt was "amazingly/profoundly/fundamentally" successful in leading the GOP to take over the House in the mid 90s.

What Newt's time as Speaker showed, however, was that he is an unstable and undisciplined manager given to bouts of grandiosity and narcissism. Bob Dole best characterized Newt's speakership:

"When Gingrich was speaker of the House, Bob Dole was the Senate majority leader. And so Dole spent a lot of time listening to the speaker’s proposals. “Gingrich’s staff has these five file cabinets, four big ones and this little tiny one,” he told The New York Times. “Number one is ‘Newt’s ideas.’ Number two, ‘Newt’s ideas.’ Number three, number four, ‘Newt’s ideas.’ The little one is ‘Newt’s Good Ideas.’”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/newt-gingrichs-big-bad-ideas/2011/08/25/gIQAtSPWNQ_blog.html?wprss=ezra-klein

Posted by: Magrooder at January 25, 2012 11:06 AM
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