I have watched about a half-dozen events involving the Republican presidential candidates, including their appearance this week before both the Republican National Jewish Coalition and the Iowa debate moderated by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.
In the beginning of the early debates, I was not very impressed with any of the candidates' grasp of the issues being discussed. Either my standards have lowered over the passing months, I was not really listening, or they have increased their comprehension of the issues. I believe it is the latter.
I intend to vote for the reelection of President Barack Obama. In the past I have said the only credible Republican candidate running for president was Mitt Romney. I now believe that Newt Gingrich is very credible and the Republican ticket will end up as Gingrich/Romney.
Gingrich is perceived by all as the smartest of the eight Republican candidates vying for the presidency. He is also the whipping boy of all the commentators on the left, and his philosophical positions and character are attacked with a glee and a fierceness rarely seen. But my belief is that Gingrich is not suffering from the attacks. Rather than injuring him, he seems to be gaining new supporters and widening his lead. A recent Gallup poll shows Gingrich leading Romney 37%-22% amongst Republican registered voters.
In his December 12th New York Times article following the Iowa debate, columnist Trip Gabriel wrote:
And boy, are there a lot of potentially problematic chapters, in both the public and private spheres, that Mr. Gingrich's Republican rivals assumed would eventually sour voters on him and halt his momentum.
But so far, that has not happened. Mr. Gingrich's skill in facing criticisms head on -- sometimes fiercely rebutting them, sometimes apologizing for past errors in judgment -- has only swelled his support. And his strong debate appearance in Iowa on Saturday, in which he faced a barrage of attacks, showed his resiliency.
Gingrich is now leading the Republican pack in the polls. Romney has not been able to capture more than 25 percent of the Republican Party support. Apparently the conservative base of the party simply does not trust him.
Democrats who are supporters of President Obama and are hoping that he will face Newt Gingrich as the Republican candidate are mistaken in their belief that he will be easy to beat. Gingrich is appealing to the anger in this country toward all politicians, particularly those in Congress. The country is looking for a leader, unafraid to tell the truth, and many think that Newt Gingrich is that person.