I read a lot of things that intrigued me this morning, so I’ll just including them here, with frequent updates.
To begin with, Jonah Goldberg certainly nailed one of the reasons I find Newt appealing right now. If you read on in the Goldberg article, you’ll also see him identify the concerns Newt’s tactic raises:
But the core of his strategy has been to plant a question in the minds of Republican voters. The question he wants them to ask is, “Whom would you most like to see debate Barack Obama?”
In each debate, he keeps mentioning how he wants to challenge the president to as many Lincoln-Douglas-style debates as possible. And if the presidential baloney won’t march into the Gingrichian grinder? Well then, the grinder will come to the baloney. Gingrich vows to follow Obama on the stump, offering rapid response after every presidential utterance.
It’s a brilliant tactic. Watching Gingrich walk onto the debate stage, it’s like seeing a great beast returned to its natural habitat. They should play “Born Free” whenever he comes out from behind the curtain.
The tactic works because the unifying conviction among hard-core Republican voters is that Obama is both overrated and full of it, a man pretending to be presidential and intellectual rather than the real thing. (Ironically, Gingrich has long been the subject of similar criticisms, mostly from the left.) Gingrich’s promise to goad Obama into a fair fight is beyond tantalizing.
Talk to rank-and-file conservatives about such a matchup and they grow giddy, like nerds asked if they’d like to see a battle between Darth Vader and Gandalf the wizard. Ask them if they’d like to see an Obama versus Romney debate (the thrilla with vanilla!) and they shrug. Meanwhile, if you nominate Gingrich, you’ll get a ticket to the fight of the century.
Ben Shapiro also confronts head-on both Newt’s virtues and his vices. He makes a point that Mike Devx made in a comment earlier, which is that having Newt as a candidate undercuts one of the favorite attacks the MSM routinely levels against Republican candidates, which is the charge that they’re stupid (never made that Dubya had a higher GPA than both Kerry and Gore). No one can say that about Newt:
It is clear that Gingrich is the smartest man on the stage in the Republican debates. Virtually everyone has acknowledged it over and over again. He is dazzlingly articulate. He knows the issues inside and out. Is there any other candidate on that stage that Republicans would trust with Obama? Gingrich would undoubtedly turn the bloviating incumbent inside out. As Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal rightly wrote this week, “The former speaker has stood out at these forums, the debater whose audiences seem to hang on his words and on a flow of thought rich in substance, a world apart from the usual that the political season brings.” He has done that while avoiding attacking the other candidates on the stage. And he has done it while keeping his ire squarely on the liberal media and the White House.
If only he didn’t have that baggage. But then again, so does the default candidate, Mitt — except his baggage isn’t about his personal life, it’s about his political choices.
Think 1968: that’s when ordinary Americans looked at the Left and, responding with complete and appropriate revulsion, voted Right. Just two stories today to make that point: hysterical 1960s’ style Leftist protests at UC Berkeley and the unions’ plan to shut down myriad bridges across America this coming Thursday. (If your commute is across a bridge, you might want to check out that last link to make sure you won’t be stuck behind a few SEIU thugs on your way to work.)
MORE TO FOLLOW.
UPDATE: My day has gone by so quickly, I’m abandoning this portmanteau, and I’ll just do other posts. Sorry for the u-turn in goals.