EASTON, Md., January 28, 2012 — If Democrats had their druthers, their dream candidate would be former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Not that they will have much say in the matter, but that doesn’t keep them from rooting for Newt.
However, his lackluster performance at the debate was disappointing and now the polls show Newt trailing Romney in poll after poll, which doesn’t bode well for Tuesday. Is Gingrich just plain pooped and running on empty? Was it merely a bad day on the stump? Or did Callista demand another trinket from Tiffany’s? Whatever it was, his performance Thursday night was a far cry from Monday’s debate.
But the Democratic cheering section is not giving up. And here’s why:
1. Right now, Gingrich is the easiest guy in the field to beat. The most recent nationwide poll shows that in a general election, President Obama would trample Newt. But then any Republican candidate is beatable at this point, but Newt is particularly beatable:
Obama over GOP Candidate +5
Obama over Romney +6
Obama over Santorum +15
Obama over Gingrich +18
NBC News/Wall St. Journal, Jan. 22-24
2. Gingrich takes pride in being the big thinker with big ideas, even admitting and taking pride in his grandiose thoughts: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. “The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose.”
As he has reminded us time and again, he is not shackled by small mundane thoughts, unlike the small thinkers on stage with him. He will dare to go where no man or President has dared to go.
Last Thursday he declared, if elected president, by the end of his second term, he would have a permanent base on the moon that could become the 51st state once it had 13,000 people living there.
“I think we ought to send Newt Gingrich to the moon and Mitt Romney to the White House,” Arizona Senator John McCain quipped.
3. Gingrich’s history sets him up for failure. There is a host of reasons why so many Republicans detest him. Just listen to former Florida Republican Congressman and now host of Joe Scarborough MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “If I’m a Republican…and I don’t know just how erratic and undisciplined Newt Gingrich is, and what a danger to America he’d be, I would sit there and think, OK – here is a guy, Newt Gingrich, who faced down Bill Clinton in 1994, came in, gave Republicans their first majority in a generation.
“[However] he is a bad person when it comes to demonizing opponents,” Scarborough continued. “When he puts on his political helmet, he is a terrible person….Let me tell you something: the Republican establishment will never make peace with Newt Gingrich: they just won’t! They won’t: this is an important point. Because the Republicans I talk to say he cannot win the nomination at any cost: he will destroy the party. He will re-elect Barack Obama and we’ll be ruined. That’s going to happen. I mean Newt Gingrich would possibly win 100 electoral votes.”
Or listen to former New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari who worked with Speaker Gingrich and shudders at the thought of a Gingrich as the GOP’s candidate: “Newt Gingrich had a leadership style that can only be described as leadership by chaos. The decisions that he would make today would be different decisions tomorrow. And a lot of the problems came from sort of the discipline that he lacked in order to get the job done.
“The last time Newt Gingrich was the head of the Republican Party as Speaker, he became so controversial he helped re-elect a Democratic president. I worry about the Republican party’s chances to defeat President Obama if Newt Gingrich is the nominee.”
And let’s not forget the House ethics investigation that led to Gingrich becoming the first speaker ever to be punished by the the Republican-controlled House by a 395-28 vote for ethics violations, resulting in a $300,000 fine.
Then there is Gingrich’s personal baggage, which he may have thought he had jettisoned during the South Carolina debate when he slammed CNN moderator John King for daring to question his personal life, but the fact of the matter is that three wives and three religions reveal a man who lives his life chaotically. Who will he be tomorrow? The man you see today may not be the man you get in the White House.
This is why Republicans who served with Gingrich in the House are trembling with fear and loathing. They shiver (as should we all) at the thought of Newt at the helm of the country. You’ve seen a little bit of his nasty behavior during the debates and in some of his ads, such as he one accusing Mitt Romney as being the most anti-immigrant candidate in the race (now pulled by Newt).
But for Democrats, Newt Gingrich is Christmas, the 4th of July, and the Rose Bowl Parade all tied up in a wonderful gaudy package. Sure there are those who say, be careful what you wish for. Remember Ronald Reagan. However, try as he may to Velcro himself to the former president, Newt is no Ronnie. In particular, he lacks the disarming charm of Reagan, who could dismantle an opponent with a quip and a smile. Newt prefers the venom of a viper and a smirk.
If the polls are right, Gingrich will lose Florida to Romney, joining Rick Santorum as an also ran and limping onto the next contest in Nevada on February 4. Democrats will just have to bear the disappointment of losing the candidate they love to loathe.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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