We expected that when Herman Cain started coming down to earth for whatever reason, the next GOP candidate in line as the Not Romney option would be Newt Gingrich. And that’s what has come to pass; Gingrich is beginning to get a little bit of positive movement in the polls which puts him in third place behind Cain and Romney, and now people like Steven Hayward and Dorothy Rabinowicz are starting to talk seriously about him as the Republican nominee.
So the timing for the Gingrich camp was outstanding that he did the Center Seat segment with the Fox All-Stars yesterday, complete with a sensational performance.
It went so well, in fact, that when the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes hit Gingrich with the biggest pet peeve conservatives have with him – namely, that horrific global-warming ad he did sitting on a park bench with Nancy Pelosi – Gingrich did the best job possible of handling it. Namely, he admitted it was a mistake and a big one, and without launching into what would have come off as a tortured explanation of esoteric motives and methods gone wrong he just said he was trying to do something that he couldn’t accomplish.
(Link in case the embed doesn’t work.)
At this point, it should be patently obvious even if somehow it hadn’t been that there will not be a perfect Republican candidate this year. That’s good news for Gingrich, because he’s not perfect. He’s quite flawed, both personally with his rocky marital history and on the policy side with his dalliances in ill-conceived outreach like the one with Pelosi and his inner-city tours with Al Sharpton. That said, there is no more articulate spokesman for modern conservatism, when he has the discipline to stick to it (and that does seem to be improving since he got serious about running for president six months or so ago), in this race than Newt. Even those people who think he can’t win concede that watching Newt debate Obama would be an experience of a lifetime. And for all the mud the other side would sling his way, there is little you can say about Newt the public doesn’t already know and you still can’t take away from him the fact that he was the last Speaker of the House to turn a budget deficit into a surplus.
And he’s not Romney, which means he has potentially 75 percent of the GOP electorate who might support him in a primary.
We still think, despite all the rough sledding he’s had since August, that Rick Perry is the best of the non-Romneys out there. And we think the GOP needs a non-Romney. Romney is the “electable” candidate, and it’s the “electable” Republicans who have brought us where we are.
But if it isn’t going to be Perry, and if the Cain Train is busy derailing due to its handling of what looks more and more like a bogus sex harassment snare by the Left (Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block beclowned himself again, for the second time in a week, by alleging that National Journal and former POLITICO reporter Josh Kraushaar is the son of Cain accuser Karen Kraushaar, which is an even dumber gaffe than his attempt to blame this whole thing on Rick Perry adviser Curt Anderson last week), then maybe Newt will be the guy. After all, doesn’t it just seem like he’s the one running the best campaign of the bunch at present?