Nationally, Newt Gingrich is probably one of the most hated politicians around. His negatives are, as they say, in the tank. Washington insiders detest him because of his bombastic leadership style as Speaker, crazed pseudo-conservative pundits can’t stand his futurist progressive tendencies, and normal people generally view him as an arrogant asshole with too much political baggage. Yet, despite all of this he handedly won the South Carolina primary, defeating the almost presumptive GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney, by thirteen percentage points. And he is slowly and methodically eroding Romney’s national lead as well. How can this be?
It isn’t even arguable that early on Romney was enrolled in the politician protection program. It seemed that with all of his own baggage nothing has been thrown Mitt’s way and all of his foes either stumbled or were mysteriously knee-capped by outside forces. Thusly derailing their campaigns and banishing them back into the obscurity of single digit support. Yet…for a second time, Gingrich has resurrected a campaign that was left for dead on the side of the road through sheer force of will, stubbornness, and determination. In other words, despite his baggage, his arrogance, and even his intelligence, he has “guts” and this is what most South Carolina voters found very appealing.
On Saturday, as Newt Gingrich won a startling victory in the South Carolina Republican primary, many voters chose him for reasons that had little to do with his ideas, his hyper-complex proposals to fix immigration or Social Security.
Many voters said they liked the scrap in the former House speaker’s personality — his willingness to seek confrontations with his GOP rivals and the news media. That, they said, was what the GOP would need in the race against President Obama this fall.
“I think Mitt Romney is a good man,” said Harold Wade, 85, leaving a polling place in this picturesque seaside suburb outside Charleston. “But I think we’ve reached a point where we need someone who’s mean.”
And Gingrich, he said, was the only one mean enough. [...]
I wonder if the GOP and Romney are listening?
*LD Jackson over at Political Realities delves into the subject of Newt’s resurrection.
- US – Gingrich beats Romney in South Carolina primaries (laaska.wordpress.com)
- Newt Gingrich’s Victory Speech – South Carolina Primary Win 1-21-12 (constitutionclub.org)
- Newt Rope-a-Dopes Mitt in South Carolina (theroot.com)