Why Newt won: Articulating the angst over Obama

Center-right voters fear for the Republic and know their fear is legitimate. “Independents” also feel that fear, but don’t know what it is, or express it as just worry over the economy. The deep sources of that fear have to be articulated, and forcefully.

Newt’s greatest contribution to the race has been to demonstrate that the style of political argument that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan debuted in the last couple of years actually is not a luxury but a necessity to win hearts and minds in the GOP. The 2012 election will not be won because of Mitt Romney’s tax returns or his years at Bain, or because of Newt’s past marriages or the payments from Freddie.

2012 will be decided on whether the American people rouse themselves as they did in 2010, and having roused themselves again, are less afraid of the decline staring them in the face than they are of the painful but promising future and the GOP nominee who is promising to lead them to it by first returning to the founding principles of the country.