You Fight The Battle You Face, Not The One You Wish You Could Fight. My Case For Newt’s Ability To Beat Obama

As the GOP primary field formed over the last two years, I’ve been interested to various degrees in a number of candidates.

Way back I thought Mark Sanford would be an interesting choice. Alas, he thought screwing around on his wife with a chick from Argentina would be an interesting choice.  What followed were flirtations of varying intensity with Haley Barbour, Mike Pence, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry. There were probably some other as I’ve been rather promiscuous in search of “the one”.

In the end, I’ve settled on Newt Gingrich.

It’s been a long journey and the final choice I’ve come to represents a compromise on my ideal choice to fight the battle against Barack Obama.

Originally I wanted a bland conservative who was plausible to most voters as a reasonable option to be President. I wanted the election to be a referendum on Obama with the GOP offering a solid, if not spectacular alternative.  A Sanford/Pawlenty/Daniels type would have kept the focus where it belonged…on Obama.

Some will argue that Romney is in this mold. I don’t think so. His wealth and more importantly his lack of basic political skills makes him to easy for Democrats (Obama, pundits and “reporters’) to caricature. He simply hasn’t shown the ability to take a bunch and drive the narrative.

Failing that I figured we’d have a battle of ideas. If we can’t make it about Obama, then we damn well needed a big time personality to make the most pro-conservative case possible. I saw Christie and Perry as the best options for this kind of fight. Sadly, Christie didn’t run and Perry was simply incapable of carrying the fight to anyone, let alone Obama.

Again, some will say that Romney could do this. His lack of conservative accomplishments, his record of bashing long held conservative beliefs and his lousy political skills (he can’t sell capitalism to GOP primary voters!), make the idea of Romney The Ideological Warrior a joke.

That leaves us with the fight we have…going toe-to-toe with Obama in a long, hard, slog. It’s going to be hard to unseat a sitting President under the best of conditions and this election isn’t going to be that. What Newt brings to the table is what a heavyweight fighter always brings to the ring…a puncher’s chance. No, Newt isn’t going to win the election with a big line at a debate but over the course of a 6-8 month fight, Newt will land plenty of big blows on Obama on policy, record and rhetorical grounds. That  combination will generate something that was missing for the GOP last time… real excitement in the base. The question is will he be able to pick up enough swing voters along the way? I think (hope) there are enough that are fed up with the bill of goods Obama sold them last time that Newt can make Obama too unattractive to support again while seeming to be a reasonable option himself.

Gingrich will take a lot of shots in return but unlike Romney, he’s shown over and over again an ability to get back up and start swinging again. Yes, Newt’s been knocked out before and fought some losing fights but if he’s going to go down to Obama, he’s going to bloody him on the way out. He just might be able to knock Obama out before he falls himself.

I just don’t see on what grounds Romney has any policy or political advantage over Obama.

It’s not an ideal way to fight this battle but I think Newt’s way is the best chance we have.

About Drew

I blog about politics and hockey because I sort of understand those things. I'd blog about women but I'll never understand them.

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I am a Republican. Worked on Bush and McCain campaigns.

    Newt Gingrich is an unsavory, nasty, and thoroughly unlikeable person. If he is the “Most electable” then get ready for four more years of Jay Z at the White House. He would not win one state. Maybe Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas, but he would most definitely lose the other 54.

  2. That Nixon was a total lovable fuzzball, Bobby.

    Leaders don’t have to be your buddies.

  3. You are dreaming and/or delusional, Drew. Newt’s “ideas” will never get a fair hearing because it will always be about Newt: his intemperate musings, his personal baggage, his hypocrisy, his unpleasant (actually, vomit inducing revolting, to a tangible majority of women) personality, his lack of humility and his general unfitness for the job. Obama will sit back behind his media wall and we’ll all be talking about Newt for the rest of the year. Get ready for a landslide and possibly a Democrat Congress as well.. ..

  4. It’s the economy, stupid.

    …trite, but nonetheless true.

    LauraW nailed it at Ace yesterday (and woo-hoo, made the NRO Morning Jolt).

    And this: you fight the war with the army you’ve got, not the one you wanted.

    So, it’s gotta be Newt. Sad, but true.

  5. Dirk – it isn’t Drew that will or will not elect Newt, but Republican voters. Talk to them about what they are doing, not us here.

  6. Newt’s all over the map about teh “economy” , he never mentions budget choices, so who knows what the hell he’ll propose once he gets the nomination?.

    Let’s face it, if theres anybody who could look like a weak manager next to Obama, it’s Newt.

  7. Newt is unlikable, but he’s got the raw political talent to make his opponent look even worse. And while the media will be vicious, they’ll go overboard like they did with Palin. He’ll be able to question their premise and bash them. Polls show that indies and even Dems believe the media is in the tank for Obama. So he can work that distrust of the media to his advantage.

  8. StrategicCorporalUSMC

    The favorable / unfavorable amongst women may not be as bad as conventional wisdom indicates. While talking with my mother the other day (post SC Primary) we started talking about the election, and she said “I think Newt can do it. Imagine if the media covered John F Kennedy they way they cover politicians today, he would have been as “unelectable” as the whole lot of them.”

    That surprised me coming from a woman married for 43 years and rather socially conservative.

    Gingrich can certainly distill the essence of why BHO’s policies are disasterous for the US in “media friendly” sound bytes (by that I mean short, not able to be taken out of context phrases).

  9. Oldcat- I’m just a-commentin on what I’m reading. I’m also hoping the Rep. voters come to their senses and choose Romney (or Santorum would be acceptable or almost anybody else). If the economy goes slightly South from here, I know Romney will win because he will look like a generic Republican in the light….. Newt never will.

  10. As far as “women” go, I know quite a few generally apolitical middle class soccer Mom types in their 30’s and 40’s, and the vast majority will not listen to a word that comes out of Gingrich’s mouth, he’s so personally revolting to him. It’s not like Nixon, he’s much worse than Nixon in that way.. We need to win a fair amount of those Indie types.. If you think biography doesen’t matter, you don’t pay attention.

  11. It is the job of the Republican nominee to reach the voters. The press can never be counted on to help.

    I have seen nothing in Romney in the last two cycles to convince me he is some general election juggernaut.

  12. Someone tell me the last time ANY of our candidates got a standin O in a debate?? Elections are all about passion and bringing out more of y our side then the other guy does. Newt will elicit more passion on our side…don’t forget, there are still more of us!

  13. EJ..I don’t think there are all that many of “us”. The swing voters are the Indies and he swing states are but a few and we know which ones they are…….. Passion from the base is good in general but nobody would be cheering Newt like they are if we had a stronger field to work with…Ugh, this is doom.

  14. Drew – very good summary of Newt’s strong points. You hit all the points I’ve been trying to make about Newt over on AOS. The key point to me though is that Newt can energize the base – this is clearly evident in the fact that the turnout in South Carolina was so much higher than 2008 (^24%). Romney would never be able to energize the base.

    This crap I keep hearing from the RINOs that Newt cannot carry Independents is pure bull-hockey. He clearly did so in South Carolina. It will be interesting to see how the Florida Primary turns out.

  15. Newt is like the boss ogre in a tower defense game, absorbing massive amounts of punishment in the form of oppoment’s arrows and media spells and crushing each pretty boy defender with a single swat of his huge club. Can he make it through the Democrats’ castle door before his health drops to zero?

    Newt at the very least is likely to put a cold stone of doubt deep in our enemies’ hearts. As he lumbers onto their front stoop, It will not be clear to them that they have enough firepower to stop him.

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