Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Newt: The Palmetto Pugilist Scores A Knockout

I have kept my powder dry on the subject of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, until now.

Coming under fire recently for his attacks on Mitt Romney, Gingrich seemed, at least to me, that he was committing political suicide by first pledging to run a positive campaign and then pivoting when he became livid over the $3.5 million in attack ads run against him in Iowa by Romney’s SuperPAC.

Pundits have expressed their disdain for Gingrich’s retaliatory attacks on Romney’s history at Bain Capital.  The Left has been drooling over the fodder Newt handed them.  The Right contends it was tantamount to opposition research that benefits the current occupant of the White House.

It’s not hard to see either side’s point.  How it all affects the primaries and ultimately the general election is a discussion left for another day.

Monday’s GOP Republican Debate, held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, was fiery and perhaps the best debate to date.

With the colossal failure Jon Huntsman out of the race, the remaining candidates had 90 seconds to respond to questions posed by the debate moderators.  This benefited the knowledgeable Newt Gingrich mightily.

At one point in the debate, moderator Juan Williams asked if he intended to “belittle the poor and racial minorities” with his words.

“Well first of all, Juan,” said Gingrich, “the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.” The Convention Center erupted in cheers.

“Now I know among the politically correct you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable. Second, you’re the one who earlier raised a key point: The area that ought to be I-73 was called by Barack Obama a corridor of shame because of unemployment. Has it improved in three years?  No. They haven’t built a road, they haven’t helped the people, they haven’t done anything.”

“So here’s my point. I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their Creator with the right to pursue happiness. And if that makes liberals unhappy, I am going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job, and learn some day to own the job.”

That response prompted the crowd to erupt again and even earned Gingrich a standing ovation, something Frank Luntz noted had never happened in the 16 years he’s covered presidential debates.  Luntz suggested that Gingrich’s performance will generate movement for the candidate in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
I know what you’re thinking right now.  Am I supporting Newt?  I’m not sure yet.  One thing is absolutely certain however—the man will eviscerate the errand boy sent by grocery clerks in a debate.

In November of last year while envisioning a Lincoln-Douglas style debate with the aforementioned errand boy, Gingrich asked, “How does a Columbia/Harvard graduate, who was the editor of the law review, supposedly the best orator in the Democratic Party, how does he look himself in the mirror and say he's afraid to debate a West Georgia College professor?"

Gingrich added, "The White House will be my scheduler. I will appear four hours after Obama everywhere he goes for the duration of the campaign, and I will answer each of his speeches."

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