Magically, that just happens to be the case with Newt Gingrich, who is being attacked for having done consulting work for mortgage behemoth Freddie Mac – and who, what do you know, was in first place in increasing numbers of polls this past week.
Following sterling debate performance after sterling debate performance, increasingly Republican primary voters are asking themselves: Why not Newt?
It’s against all odds, and certainly against the headwinds of the major media. And it sure looked like his candidacy had hit the rocks when he foolishly criticized and mischaracterized Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint for fiscal sanity earlier this year. Gingrich jokes now that he was politically dead this past summer.
His revival has been inspired by others’ failings, certainly – with the slippage of fellow candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. But it’s also a testament to the strength of ideas: Newt Gingrich is simply the campaign’s clearest thinker and most articulate spokesman for the conservative cause right now.
Debate moderators and voters on the campaign trail are learning that when they toss a problem at him, he responds with a well-thought-out solution. Frankly, you don’t see that much anymore out of leading politicians, who are more concerned with staying “on message” and not offending someone.
Yes, Gingrich has baggage, and we’ve got issues with him. But we happen to think the issues facing America are much more serious. We can’t keep throwing good people in the trash heap – or allowing the “mainstream” media to do it – in some holy-grail quest for the perfect candidate.
No other presidential election in our history, save perhaps for our first one, has more urgently required ultimate competence. Whatever faults can be rightly attributed to Gingrich, there can be little doubt at this point that he’s the most able candidate running from either party.
If the Freddie Mac thing doesn’t stick, they’ll try something else. And then something else. And then something else, until they find something, anything, to prevent his nomination. After all, Gingrich has become the strongest Republican candidate in a matchup against Barack Obama in a new McClatchy-Marist poll – and that can’t be allowed to stand!
Again, there’s plenty to pick at. Even in his former heyday of the 1990s, Gingrich wasn’t quite the reliable conservative he let on. And his personal life? Well, expect that to be dredged up again, as the “Clinton
exemption” doesn’t apply to Republicans.
Sadly, elections these days are waged and won more on emotion than reason. What seems to matter most isn’t a candidate’s ideas, but how he or she makes you feel. That will probably be the case again, with the media portraying Gingrich as mean, particularly compared to Barack Obama – who doesn’t “feel your pain” quite like Bill Clinton did, but at least makes note of it on his teleprompter. Indeed, the left-wing media already are pouncing on Gingrich for his “toxic” and “arrogant, disgusting, sickened” suggestion that those in the “Occupy” movement should take a bath and get a job. Yeah, that’s so sick.
In contrast, an Occupier interviewed by The Washington Post said, “Do I want to work? Only if I wanted a home, wife, kids and a dog. If not, I think you’re ruining your life.”
You decide who’s right.
At bottom, if this election is about the acute problems facing America – financial Armageddon, porous borders, emerging threats (such as a nuclear Iran) and more – then voters ought to be given the chance to take a serious look at Newt Gingrich.
Can a nation in such dire straits easily pass on any legitimate lifeline?