Panic in the GOP

24 Jan

The reactions to Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina are coming in.

It’s amazing to hear the noise in the hallway as we sip our morning coffee.

First, there’s the cheers of South Carolina Republicans who have chosen their champion.

From Ronald Reagan in 1980 through John McCain in 2008, the winner of this primary has always gone on to be the Republican nominee.

Then, the sound of a head bumping the ceiling as Gingrich’s ego swells to the size of New Jersey Governor Christie’s butt.

If you listen carefully, you can hear the soft sobs of Mitt Romney and his consultants, crying in their chocolate milk.

But above all is the weeping, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth of the Republican establishment as Gingrich’s victory sends them into full-blown panic mode.

This is more when the feeling you get when the pilot says, “We’ve lost one of our four engines”, or when your doctor says , “I don’t like the looks of that.”

We’re talking terror.

Chest-clutching, heart-pounding, breath-sucking, soul-shaking panic.

This is your teenage daughter telling you, “I think I’m in trouble.”

The Republican Party has never seen anything like it.

You have to remember the GOP is hierarchical, orderly, disciplined – everything they say the Democrats are not.

They nearly always nominate the guy who was runner-up last time.

Ford beat Reagan, and Reagan got it next.
Reagan beat George H.W. Bush, so Bush Sr. got the next turn.

And then Bush beat Dole, who in turn was rewarded with the 1996 GOP nod.

Then they got all wild and crazy and nominated the son of a former president, but then quickly reverted to form and nominated the guy he defeated, John McCain.

And who did McCain beat? Mitt Romney.

As the anointed one, Romney was supposed to have all the advantages, especially the most important: money.

But as the Beatles taught us – money can’t buy you love.

Romney and the super PAC that supports him outspent Gingrich and the pro-Gingrich super PAC in South Carolina by a 2–1 margin.

Gingrich won the South Carolina primary not because of advertising, but because he debates better.

The vast majority of South Carolina Republicans said the debates were important to making up their minds, and in the two key debates, Gingrich hit every GOP erogenous zone.

But it was Thursday night’s CNN debate that sealed the deal.

Going into the debate, Gingrich and Romney were tied in the polls.

And each had an important and obvious question they were going to be asked.

For Gingrich, it was his ex-wife’s allegation that he wanted “open marriage.”

For Romney, it was whether he would release his tax returns.

Think about it: which question would you rather answer?
Romney had the easier challenge by a mile.

Yet Gingrich got a standing ovation by bitterly denouncing moderator John King in particular and the media in general.

Romney got booed for his weak, waffling non-answer.

Politics is spin and the mighty have fallen over a poorly phrased answer.

Between now and the January 31st Florida primary, we expect to hear a furious, frenzied response from the Republican establishment.

Team Romney has already spent $7 million on TV ads there.
Gingrich just $800. (that’s not a typo, eight hundred dollars)

Will Romney’s money and endorsements be able to overwhelm Gingrich’s electrifying debate performances?
They didn’t in South Carolina.

But Romney has an ace in the hole.

The one person who has consistently derailed Newt Gingrich’s political career…
…is Newt Gingrich

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