“At the end of Gingrich’s first year as House speaker, his endless, nutty pronunciamentos — in addition to his plan to entrust Republicans’ legislative agenda to an old couple whose living room VCR continuously flashed ’12:00′ — had driven his public approval numbers into the dirt…
“It’s true that the liberal media attack Republicans unfairly. But that’s a fact to be dealt with, not ignored by nominating a candidate who keeps giving the media so much to work with.
“Gingrich has spent his years since then having an affair, divorcing his second wife and making money by being the consummate Washington insider — trading on access, taking $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, and palling around with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton…
“Newt Gingrich is the ‘anti-Establishment’ candidate only if ‘the Establishment’ is defined as ‘anyone who remembers what happened the day before yesterday.'”
“Even as he surges ahead in the polls, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is struggling to get out from under a mountain of debt from luxury jets and other pricey expenses racked up in the early weeks of his campaign.
“Creditors say Gingrich has begun paying back nearly $1.2 million in bills he owed at the end of September, and his spokesman says most will be taken care of by the end of the year. Other debts — including $42,000 owed to Gingrich himself for the campaign’s use of a mailing list — have already been paid, ahead of those owed to other vendors, according to aides and disclosure records…
“Gingrich’s financial health could prove crucial in the coming weeks as he attempts to hold on to his sudden lead over Romney and other Republican candidates in many state and national polls. Romney reported raising $32 million through September — more than 10 times the amount Gingrich reported — allowing him to easily fund major advertisements and organizing efforts for early contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.”
“Mr. Gingrich has little or no campaign organization in Iowa and most other states. He didn’t file a complete slate of New Hampshire delegates and alternates. He is the only candidate who didn’t qualify for the Missouri primary, and on Wednesday he failed to present enough signatures to get on the ballot in Ohio. Redistricting squabbles may lead the legislature to move the primary to a later date and re-open filing, but it’s still embarrassing to be so poorly organized.
“Organization truly matters, especially in low-turnout caucuses. Four years ago, for example, 118,917 Republicans turned out in Iowa—and only 424 votes separated the third- and fourth-place finishers. The total turnout was considerably less than the 229,732 Iowans who voted in the GOP primary for governor two years later. Being organized in all 99 Iowa counties means more people can be dragged to caucus meetings who might otherwise stay home on a wintery eve, believing their vote doesn’t matter.”
“‘I think Romney is going to win,’ a top Romney adviser said. ‘I can’t tell you exactly when he’s going to win or how he’s going to win.’
“Romney campaign has ‘a pretty good oppo package’ on Gingrich and is prepared to go nuclear, said a top GOP consultant familiar with the campaign.
“Many who know him best remain skeptical that Gingrich will have the discipline to avoid self-immolation.
“‘He’s a little bit like charcoal briquettes in the backyard,’ said Rich Galen, who was an aide to Gingrich on and off between 1982 and 1998. ‘When you first light them, there’s a lot of smoke and fire and a lot of stuff going on. But you can’t cook a steak on that.'”
“Something similar is happening with Gingrich and the image of the Master Debater. People see Gingrich handle himself well in eight-way debates (an easy task when no other candidate has even bothered criticizing you all year because you seemed so irrelevant), and they imagine that he’s the one to take the fight to Obama. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that he has always been not only anti-conservative on cap-and-trade, but has lied about what his position was. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that he said the profiteers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be criminally investigated even though he was one of the profiteers — and that he, again, apparently has been prevaricating about what he did for Freddie. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that he has always been wrong on a health-care mandate, wrong on ethanol for all the years he’s been paid to be wrong on ethanol, wrong on entitlements and on Paul Ryan’s budget, wrong on amnesty for illegal immigrants, wrong as wrong could be on ethical issues and behavior aplenty, wrong on the TARP bailouts, wrong on liberal candidate Dede Scozzafava, wrong in the past on the Fairness Doctrine, wrong on leadership, weak at actual negotiating (actually, ‘melting’) against Bill Clinton, weak at actually running a government, and about as personally trustworthy as Joe Isuzu: He’s gonna pummel Obama, yesiree, and then all will be well!…
“The important thing is this: Even if Gingrich’s debating invincibility weren’t an utter myth, the notion that debates next fall will be tremendously important is a myth, and a much bigger one. The deal is this: General-election presidential debates rarely make a big difference. What makes a bigger difference is unpaid (establishment) media (Gingrich will get crushed), organization (Gingrich will get crushed), paid media (Obama’s $800 million campaign will crush him), and the voters’ sense of whether they would mind seeing and hearing the candidate on their TV screens for the next four years (not bloody likely, based on the Gingrich persona’s long-established propensity to wear out its welcome and become grating after a few months).”
“But when you’ve cheated on your first wife with your second and you’ve cheated on your second wife with your third, and your policy positions in the past decade have been all over the place, how do I first know you won’t cheat on me politically and how do I reconcile my desire for a President my kids can respect with your life?
“I feel guilty for feeling this way, but I just don’t know that I can support him in the primary. Over Romney? Sure. Newt won’t be nearly as devastating down ballot as Romney if things go wrong for the GOP. But over Bachmann, Huntsman, and Perry in alphabetical order?…
“But if Perry is not ready, I have to say I may have to seriously reconsider saying I’d never, ever, never vote for Jon Huntsman. He is more consistently conservative than either Newt or Romney, more pro-life than either, and a far more competent executive than either. He and Perry also are very real and sincere family men. Jon Huntsman clearly adores his family and I have concluded, despite my own misgivings about him, that he would govern more consistently to the right of Mitt Romney than even his campaign team would have us believe.”
“Gingrich has 30 years of history with most Washington pols, much of it bad blood – remember the attempted coup? Still, few are likely to go so overtly at Gingrich as Coburn. Instead, they’ll take the tried and true Washington path: anonymously leak every damaging and embarrassing story the Speaker has ever been even remotely involved in (see Politico story above). The question is this: Given his momentum with primary voters, will anything stick at this point? ‘A tough effort to push Romney through could backfire,’ says Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. ‘The ‘establishment’ — it has been co-opted by the insurgent forces it tried to co-opt in 2010 — may fall back on plan B: try to keep anyone from winning enough delegates to claim a majority and take it to the convention to get [former Florida Governor] Jeb Bush or [former Indiana Governor] Mitch Daniels.'”
“He spent  pre-emptively surrendering on anything of legislative consequence, but then, feeling bad at having abandoned another two or three of his ‘Fourteen Steps to Renewing American Civilisation’, he’d go on television and snarl at everybody in sight. . . . For Republicans it was the worst of all worlds: a lily-livered ninny whom everyone thinks is a ferocious right-wing bastard.
“That’s how it would go this time round. We’d wind up with a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and Alvin Tofler who canoodled on the sofa with Nancy Pelosi demanding Big Government climate-change conventional-wisdom punitive liberalism just as the rest of the planet was finally getting off the bandwagon . . . but the media would still insist on dusting off their 1994 ‘The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas’ graphics.”
Via the Daily Caller.