Sunday, December 4, 2011

Will The Gingrich Steal Christmas, Or Is Newt Moot?

Consider: This has been the year of economic gloom, a devastating Japanese tsunami, an earthquake in Virginia, a hurricane in New England, and a destructive East Coast snow storm before Halloween. These are bad enough.

Are we really headed for a holiday season dominated by discussion of Newt Gingrich's chances in the Republican primaries? The fates are indeed playing a cruel joke on us mere mortals.

The stories and analysis are coming fast and furious. Let's see...

There's Newt the complete idiot.
Newt saying idiotic things.
Newt the poll climber.
Newt the spoiler.
Newt the statesman.
And Newt the insufferable.

So which Newt are we going to get? And why should we care? After all, he's not going to win the nomination.

I still think that ring will be worn by Mitt Romney, the subject of a long story in the New York Times Magazine today. It's not an especially flattering account, but it gets to the heart of how Romney intends to win next year. From the article:

Mitt Romney’s campaign has decided upon a rather novel approach to winning the presidency. It has taken a smart and highly qualified but largely colorless candidate and made him exquisitely one-dimensional: All-Business Man, the world’s most boring superhero. In the recent past, aspirants and their running mates have struggled to clear the regular-guy bar. Dan Quayle lacked a sense of struggle; Michael Dukakis couldn’t emote even when asked what he would do if his wife were raped and murdered; George H. W. Bush seemed befuddled by a grocery-store scanner; John Kerry was a windsurfer; John McCain couldn’t count all of his houses. 

Romney, a socially awkward Mormon with squishy conservative credentials and a reported worth in the range of $190 million to $250 million, is betting that in 2012, recession-weary voters want a fixer, not a B.F.F. As the Romney campaign’s chief strategist, Stuart Stevens, told me: “The economy is overwhelmingly the issue. Our whole campaign is premised on the idea that this is a referendum on Obama, the economy is a disaster and Obama is uniquely blocked from being able to talk about jobs.” 

What happens when the economy starts improving? This is the oft-repeated conundrum of the candidate running against a recession. Ronald Reagan made it an issue in 1980 and won overwhelmingly. Bill Clinton hammered George H.W. Bush about the economy and defeated him, despite the fact that the economy was improving during the fall of 1992. In 2012, Romney will be in a position where he has to hope that things don't markedly improve before the election. For an American exceptionalist, it must hurt him to have to root against jobs, rising wages, recovering banks and the success of the euro zone, but I think he believes that if he smiles all the time, voters will forgive him.

And Newt (this is a story about Newt)? Well, Newt is touting his resume these days.. He's running on ending communism and getting the economy moving in the 90s, despite voting against (and having every Republican vote against) the Clinton budget of 1993 that set the stage for the decade's expansion. On that issue, Newt is moot. But, again, it doesn't matter, because Newt will never be the GOP nominee.

The pundits tell us it's a two-man race over on the right, now that Herman Cain has dropped out and the other retreads have had their days in the sun and their corresponding sunsets. I feel bad for John Huntsman, who never got his renaissance, and who might qualify as the only reasonable Republican in the race. But this is the year of the uncompromising conservative and I imagine that Mitt and Newt will fight to see who can oppose abortion, taxes and union rights more than the other.

The good news is that the holidays are fast approaching, and this year, we've really earned the good cheer.

For more good cheer, visit us at facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives

1 comment:

  1. Pest Control NJ Pest Control Bergen NJ Pest
    Management Services New Jersey. New Day Pest Control offers pest control, pest management, pest removal, pest extermination, and other pest control
    services NJ pest control nj

    ReplyDelete