He did well enough last night that I can understand him wanting to turn his biggest moment into an ad. What I don’t understand is how this supports the argument that “only Newt Gingrich can beat Obama.” Santorum would be plenty tough on The One in a general-election campaign and, unlike Newt, Santorum isn’t saddled with a toxic favorable rating. Meanwhile, it’s Romney who consistently polls best against Obama head to head and whose campaign machinery would give Team O its toughest test. The real promise Newt is making here, I think, is that as nominee he’ll hit Obama the hardest (not just a bloody nose but a knockout!) and in the least politically correct ways, which is gratifying if you loathe The One and the media but no guarantee of victory given Gingrich’s other shortcomings. Want a campaign where multiple news cycles are consumed with why the nominee thinks Obama has a “Kenyan anti-colonial” mindset even as we’re getting totally out-organized on the ground? Newt’s the guy most likely to make that happen.
By the way, how did we get to the point where a candidate whose popularity famously plummeted as Speaker is now selling himself on electability? Exit quotation from Santorum, replying to Newt’s nudges that he drop out: “It’s an enormous amount of hubris for someone who lost their first two races.”