Newt Gringrich and Electibility

Posted in Election 2012 by doug on the January 21st, 2012

As liberal blogger and new media entrepreneur Josh Marshall says, “If you want to know why the GOP establishment is freaking out, check out this chart.”

You could say that Newt is not well liked.  Among conservatives much is made about Obama’s unpopularity.  Well, Newt would kill for Obama’s comparatively stratospheric popularity.

And this goes to the heart of what a lot of conservatives don’t understand.  Newt is like Ann Coulter.  Like Rush Limbaugh.  Not ideologically, but in the same sense that they are bomb-throwers.  You may agree with what they say, I happen to enjoy reading Coulter’s column every week.  But I would never confuse Ann Coulter with a viable presidential candidate.

As John Ziegler points out (and yes, I’m loathe to give him credit for being right):

The Myth of ‘Newt The Great Debater’

In a Republican primary, his haymakers draw cheers from the partisan crowd and the commentators marvel at what a crafty street brawler he is. In a general election debate, the crowd of “independents” will boo and the very same “news” people will suddenly he horrified by the bull who just smashed their china shop to bits.

We are not electing a debater.  We are electing a president.  Yet his superior debating skills form Newt’s core electability argument, both for being nominated and then how he would win the general election. He vaulted to the front of the polls in Iowa, then people got a better look and rejected him.  He didn’t compete in New Hampshire.  He was trailing badly in South Carolina, after another solid debate performance has zoomed to the front again.  It looks like he may well win South Carolina.

What happens going forward?  Will enough conservatives coalesce around Newt, not realizing that this would lead to a landslide loss in November?

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