Newtmania! Gingrich at the top of the polls.
And just in time for a CNN foreign policy debate. Can you say “right in Newt’s wheelhouse”? This could be like throwing Albert Pujols a hanging curveball with the bases loaded.
He’s sure played this campaign well. He has hung back, saved his money and political capital. He hasn’t bashed his opponents (hello Reagan’s 11th commandment! no linky for wikipedia), and he has studied up and done well at the debates. So well, that everyone is looking at his debate performances, instead of his record.
His record is pretty good (for Republicans), but there’s a lot of skeletons in that closet. I’ve always admired Newt. He gave us a balanced budget, welfare reform, etc. Bill Clinton benefited the most from Newt’s 1994 Congress. Everything in his legacy that’s worth a crap is because of Newt. However, Newt’s also known for “spanning the bipartisan gap”, which gets him in trouble with his base (like me!). That’s his Pelosi Moment™, his Fannie and Freddie ties, etc.
I like Newt a lot, but he gives Obama a lot of ammunition in an election cycle, that’s just a fact. He also poses a formidable threat, rhetorically. No one else matches up in a debate like Newt does. That’s what everyone is seeing now, and I’m sure we’ll see it tonight. Are we looking at our candidate? Polls seem to point in that direction, right now. I don’t see him shooting himself in the foot, either. But the “October Surprise” factor is pegged to the limit with Newt.
Man, I wish this were easy. But it ain’t.
Edit: Cal Thomas has a good article on Newt in Townhall today: Townhall (Cal Thomas): Searching For the Perfect Candidate