Don't bet on Newt if beating Obama is the goal.
Just recently I made up my mind to vote for Mitt Romney for president. In assessing the rather weak field of GOP candidates, I believe Romney is the only one who has the experience, temperament, steady hand and enough appeal to independents and swing voters to beat Barack Obama.
Newt Gingrich's potential jackpot victory in Florida on Tuesday will only come at the behest of conservative Republican voters who don't like Romney. Gingrich is betting they will leave their conscience at the door and forget about all the things they claim they value (morality, smaller government, no amnesty for illegals) roll the dice and vote for him. It's an election strategy most Vegas odds-makers called a long-shot just weeks ago.
But Newt's silver tongue, intellect and remarkable recollection of history have served him well.
He's wagering voters' memories aren't as remarkable as his own.
Gingrich would rather voters forget about the strangeness surrounding his marital affairs and extramarital affairs. He hopes they will overlook his Kumbaya moment with Nancy Pelosi and global warming. He is crossing his fingers they won't remember he once supported a government mandate for individuals to buy health insurance against their will. He is optimistic they won't remember the historic reprimand and $300,000 fine he received for "intentional or... reckless" disregard of House rules while he was Speaker. And he is certain if they remember that he bounced 22 checks during the House banking scandal -- one of which was for $9,463 to the IRS -- they'll buy his "blame the liberal media" excuse.
Gingrich is also betting voters will overlook that he is the best-paid history major to ever grace the planet earth. On this I have to admit I am jealous. My undergrad major was in history and I've never come close to getting a $1.6 million contract with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be the failed mortgage giants' "historian." But I'm polishing up my resume.
Gingrich voters don't need to remember his mounds of baggage -- Obama and the Democrats are chomping at the bit to do it for them.
Need proof? The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union is currently running television ads in Florida that benefit Gingrich by attacking Romney. Interesting side note: the AFSCME is one of the fastest growing labor unions in America today. No surprise there under president "big government."
Romney, of course, isn't perfect. Oh sure, he's got perfect hair, and a perfect smile, and he won't ever embarrass the nation; but he's no Ronald Reagan. Romney is as stiff as Al Gore but lacks Gore's warmth and charm. Plus, he's a successful businessman, which according to Gingrich makes him a modern-day robber baron.
In Gingrich's campaign of class warfare it is considered a negative to accumulate wealth and "rich" is a four-letter word. Newt should be ashamed; his "us versus them" tactic comes right out of the Democrat Party playbook and suggests that when hard work, determination and the free markets create success, you should apologize for it. Ronald Reagan must be rolling in his grave.
I guess in Newt's world, Republican voters prefer ladder climbing, academic elites from the Washington political class. The type who have never managed anything in the private sector, much less created a single job that wasn't subsidized by taxpayers or related to government.
Don't get me wrong; there's a place for people like Newt Gingrich. His place is giving speeches at state GOP conventions, writing books, being a "histobbyist" for special interests, or as a pundit on Fox News. Heck, with his knack for the ladies, he could even take over Hugh Hefner's job someday. But President Newt Gingrich isn't in the cards. He's just got too much baggage, too much hypocrisy, and is too much of a lightning rod to be successful in November. Never mind the fact that he will be a huge drain on every competitive down ballot Republican candidate in the country.
If the old saying "history repeats itself" is true, it's only a matter of time before the inner-Gingrich escapes and implodes. I hope it happens before the GOP picks its nominee. Because Mitt Romney is the only candidate who has a chance of beating Obama; the pragmatic members of the party know it, Obama knows it, and Newt knows it. Even Gingrich's former pal Nancy Pelosi realizes it when she said, "[Newt's] not going to be president of the United States. That's not going to happen."
Pelosi, of course, was playing an orchestrated card to further help Gingrich by allowing him to vilify her. The red meat of the GOP just loves that stuff but is too short-sighted to realize they're being played. But the bottom line is Newt can't win.
You can bet on that.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida's largest media market, a contributing columnist to the Tampa Tribune, and host of "Chris Ingram's Irreverent Views" on News Talk 1470 AM Tampa. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9, the Tampa Tribune, or 1470 AM. E-mail Chris at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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