Newt Gingrich won Saturday's South Carolina Republican Presidential primary with 40% of the vote. Mitt Romney came in a distant second with 28% of the vote. This was a big win and it underscores the roller coaster season that this primary has given us.
Many of the pundits on the right are coming out against Newt. Conspicuously present in this attack is Ann Coulter and S.E. Cupp, but they are just the most verbal. Most in the punditocracy are decidedly anti-Newt. This puzzles me. Do they know something that I don't know, do they fear that Newt cannot win against Obama, or does he threaten their turf?
I have liked Newt for a long time. I remember distinctly the night that the Republicans took over the House in 1994. The Rs had been out of power for so long, they had gotten comfortable living in the shack behind the big house. Newt riled them up, got a whole new crew elected and they stormed the mansion. This move affected politics in DC for the next 10-15 years.
When I heard Newt was running for President, I was excited. He is an idea guy. So am I. Not all of my ideas are actionable (or practical). Neither are his, but at least he puts it out there. If one is timid and never floats an idea for fear of it being ridiculed or shot down, then we will be stuck with the status quo. Guess what? We are stuck with the status quo. By this I mean business as usual. No matter who is in power, the wheels turn in the same manner with the same grease. The party in power and the President steer the beast, but the inner workings are pretty much the same as they always have been.
Side note: there are those who say that Barack Obama has not accomplished anything in his presidency and has kept none of his promises. BS! The problem with BHO is that he has kept most of his promises, except for the one about reaching across the aisle to the opposition. He reaches across alright, only to slap the Republicans up the back of their heads just to keep them in their place.
My attitude toward Newt since he announced has been about as up and down as that roller coaster. He has moments of brilliance, followed by gaffes or by circumstance (such as his second wife Marianne's interview with Brian Ross of ABC News.) Romney, however is "steady as she goes". Romney is DC, Newt is AC. But like electricity, AC gets the job done over the long haul. DC just powers the small jobs.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that a lot of the pundits don't want the boat rocked. Newt was cast out as Speaker of the House just four years after he took the job. Was he that bad of a leader, or did he want to take them where they did not want to go? I don't know the inside scoop, but I suspect the latter. You only have to look at the Arab Spring to see a similar trend. The genuine revolutionaries knock down the walls and storm the castle, only to have the 'elites' push them aside and take over when the heavy lifting is done. Isn't that the deal, let someone else fight and die for the cause, then swoop in and grab the reins?
What scares me about Newt is he desperately needs a Dick Cheney-type to run the day-to-day. He needs a brilliant Chief of Staff that knows how to work with him. He must come out immediately and identify his team. Show the country that he is ready to get it done. But is there anyone there? Is "Team Newt" just an Army of One?
People in the know are scared that it will be all Newt, all the time and you can't run it that way. In many ways he is like Bill Clinton, but Clinton had some competent folks behind the scenes. Where is Newt's backfield and his team and coaches on the sidelines?
Yeah, he is calling audibles, gaining yardage and winning a few games, but he still needs a great team to go all the way to the Super Bowl.