A brand Newt day
By Paul Moomjean 11/23/2011
The GOP has officially become Baskin-Robbins, each month producing a new flavor of the month. First, the logical choice was Mitt Romney, but like any strong, stable individual, he was brushed aside for sexier choices. His competition to be the leader of the Republican Party and potential leader of the Free World has been as eclectic as any, ranging from Texas good ol’ boys to pizza gangsters to Tea Party leaders to 1990s’ great disgrace, Newt Gingrich. But there is a change in the air, and as each candidate pounds his (or her) fist on the debate podium, GOP voters are swaying back and forth, and sadly no front-runner has emerged.
Always-a-bridesmaid Romney has been sitting steady at No. 2 throughout the past few months, and after America flirted with a Texas ranger and a pizza man, he now finds himself behind the godfather of the conservative cause. Gingrich, as of mid-November, is sitting pretty on top. A Fox News poll has found 23 percent of likely GOP voters favor the former speaker of the house and 22 percent favor the millionaire former governor. While this could be a flash-in-the-pan boost for Newt, it could also show that his articulate message of staying positive and returning to Reagan’s “Go America!” style of debate is what voters have been waiting for.
Gingrich has been the most upbeat politician on the floor these days. He’s stayed out of the bitter Romney-Perry arguments, instead pointing fingers at a media wanting to divide. He’s also admitted that his mistakes of the past were based in aggression. After being asked about his involvement with the Freddie Mac situation, his response was blunt and clear: “I’m much more relaxed and more mature than I was 12 years ago. I have had 12 years to rest and to think and to run small businesses.”
And that is where Newt may have an advantage over his fellow GOP candidates. Perry is a politician, a populist who speaks the lingo of his Texas state. He isn’t considered a smart businessman. Herman Cain, on the other hand, has made a lot of money creating jobs for numerous corporate businesses, but he lacks any political experience to wheel ’n’ deal with the Democratic politicians. He’s an outsider, and while that sounds good on paper, we have too crazy a political system to get anything done by yourself. Romney comes off as a spoiled rich kid, and that doesn’t win over blue collar Republicans. But Newt is a hybrid of all three. He understands the Washington game and has made money and run businesses, but he also is my grandfather’s Republican. He is a Tea Party capitalist, a Christian with a sinful past, an articulate leader who fell from grace. And now he’s becoming the comeback kid.
I don’t know if he could beat President Barack Obama in a national election. I don’t even know if he will be ahead in the polls by the time I finish writing this article. But what I do know is that his slow and steady approach to the process has kept him in the game. Even after his campaign people got fed up and fled, and he was at the bottom of the polls, he stayed strong and carried on.
When we think about what we want in a leader, do we really want a perfect man? Maybe that’s why Romney can’t click. He doesn’t seem real. Or do we want a man who knows how to shoot a musket? Maybe that’s why Perry didn’t last. Newt looks like a guy who is for the Second Amendment but wouldn’t use it. Or do we want a businessman? The truth is, no one likes the idea of a CEO running the country. In the end, Newt might not be everything the GOP wants, but he’s enough of some things to make every little group and clique in the club happy.
It’s Thanksgiving time right now in America. And while there is much to be thankful for, maybe the biggest thing that I’m thankful for is that we are almost done with these disappointing and uninspiring primary campaigns.