Newt Gingrich – The conservative base wants a fighter. Professor Gingrich, who routinely belittles his detractors as partisan fools, might be the fighter that the conservative base wants. At first blush, Newt appears to be the antithesis of the Tea Party.
The former Republican House speaker has spent decades inside the Beltway as a brilliant political operative, in and out of office. He has worked with Democrats to achieve compromises that today would enrage the conservative grassroots. His personal life hardly aligns with the social conservatives in his party.
Gingrich is not just a fighter, but a brilliant fighter. He has used the debates to put his encyclopedic knowledge on display in every aspect of policy.
That brings us back to Cain, who still polls high in his second boomlet despite grappling with multiple years-old allegations of sexual harassment. Conservative resentment of the media might have kept Cain’s numbers up, but a recent weak debate performance on foreign policy got followed up by a mystifyingly bad interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over the weekend. Herman could not identify the Obama administration’s position on Libya several months after Barack Obama authorized military force on behalf of Libyan rebels.
One might be tempted to just dismiss the latest boomlet for Gingrich as a simple matter of waiting his turn, but it is almost certainly more than that. The previous boomlets favored candidates with one quality in common — their perceived enthusiasm for fighting Barack Obama. Tim Pawlenty never caught fire in part because of his easygoing personality, and Jon Huntsman’s track record of working in the Obama administration makes him a suspect candidate, both as a fighter and on policy.
Gingrich, on the other hand, is not just a fighter, but a brilliant fighter. He has used the debates to put his encyclopedic knowledge on display in every aspect of policy. Instead of trying to scale the polling heights by fighting his fellow Republicans, he has aimed his rhetorical guns at Barack Obama and the national media, the two biggest targets for the Republican grassroots.