Does Newt Really Have The Momentum to Keep Winning?

Bookmark and Share  If one were to look at Florida, the answer is yes.

Since his exceptionally strong, first place, landslide victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Newt Gingrich has at least temporarily established himself as the only candidate with momentum on his side.

Ron Paul, and his supposed ever growing massive number of supporters doesn’t seem to be quite as massive or as rapidly growing as once thought, since his last place showing in South Carolina, and he has all but conceited the election and admitted that he is just in this thing not win, but to pick up enough delegates to finally become politically relevant.

Rick Santorum, has gone from being the surprise underdog winner of the Iowa Caucus to being the man who many question why he is still running.  And Mitt Romney has seen himself gone from a frontrunner and the inevitable nominee, to being the candidate who many are  beginning to feel that if he hasn’t locked up the nomination yet, he may never do it.

But Newt Gingrich’s recent resurrection, from political death which propelled him to become the winner of the first in the South Primary has clearly set the stage for him to finally hit a stride that will make this a two man race between himself and Mitt Romney.

In less than 24 hours of his winning South Carolina, Newt raised a million dollars and since than he has more than doubled that total. Furthermore; in Florida, Gingrich has opened seven  offices with two more yet to be opened, hired 14 paid staffers and signed up 5,000.  By contrast, Romney’s campaign had just five staffers and three offices in Florida by early this week. And on top of that, when it concerns the polls, Gingrich has gone from 27% last week, to 35% this week, a swing of eight percent which now finds Romney falling two percent and in to second place.  Such dramatic numbers would certainly indicate that Newt has the wind at his back, while Romney and the others are now encountering strong headwinds in Florida.

Normally, even though these are solid signs for Newt, I would not be very confident in his ability to keep this recent turn of events moving in his direction.  In the past Newt’s proclivity for the untraditional has forced him to rely on instincts which motivate him to go with unconventional strategies, strategies which, like his previous attempt to attack Mitt Romney from the left and go off the deep end by distorting Mitt’s record of success in the free market, have hurt him.  However after Monday night’s debate, Newt demonstrated a degree of political maturity which he has not often displayed prior to now.  He carried himself as a humble frontrunner and held back any desire he may have had to respond to Mitt Romney’s own distortions with any exaggerated flare that could have undermined Newt’s credibility.  Instead it was Mitt Romney who appeared to be desperate and stretching to find any fatal flaws in Newt Gingrich’s record.

In addition to that, up to now, Newt has not had the type of financial resources that permitted him to to take proper advantage of media advertising which helps to carry his message beyond the audiences that may sit and watch the debates which he typically excels in.  And at the same time, even though Mitt Romney has already spent upwards of $10.5 million on Florida advertising,  he is losing ground.  This bodes quite well for Newt who with his coffers filling up, and with the aid a $5 million single donation to a Gingrich Super PAC in Florida, can now chip away at the dominance of Romney’s campaign in the Sunshine State.

But that’s not the only reason I remain optimistic for Newt at least in Florida.

In his attempt to stop the newtmentum, Romney seems to be making some of his first strategic stumbles.  In the most recent debate, while hoping to paint Newt as a Washington insider and influence peddler, he brought up the issue of Medicaid Part D and claimed that Newt was paid by health companies that could benefit from a piece of legislation, to lobby Congress Medicaid Part D’s passage.  During Monday’s debate he said to Gingrich;

“If you’re getting paid by health companies, if your  entities are getting paid by, and you then meet with Republican congressmen and  encourage them to support that legislation, you can call it whatever you  like. I call it influence peddling” .

The argument could potentially have legs, but not in Florida, where the nation’s largest population of senior citizens benefitted from the program and where Gingrich successfully dismissed Romney’s claims and accused Mitt of being a serial twister of the truth.   Gingrich countered Mitt’s charge in part by stating

 “I think it’s pretty clear to say that I have never,  ever gone and done any lobbying,”

 He also added that he was  proud of the fact that he publicly, openly advocated the prescription drug program.

That last statement was essentially the punch that ended and won that round for Newt.  It successfully appealed to the very large senior citizen voting bloc in Florida, the voters who when it’s time to cast their ballots, happen to turn out in the largest numbers .

Additionally, Romney seems to be counting on tieing Newt Gingrich to the tide of foreclosures in Florida.

Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and by claiming Newt made money from Freddie Mac which essentially oversaw the creation and bursting of the housing bubble, he is hoping that Floridians who lost their homes will see Newt Gingrich as the villain who profited from their losses.  The problem is that Republicans are not buying what Mitt is trying to sell in that area of political campaigning.  And another thing to note is that those individuals who lost their homes because they provided mortgages that they were not qualified for in the first place, are not voting for either Newt or Mitt.  So clearly, Mitt Romney is throwing a wildly wrong  pitch and throwing it to the wrong people.

Then there is something else working against Mitt in Florida.

Unlike the previous three contests, Florida is a closed primary.

In a closed primary or caucus, only registered members of a Party may vote in that Party’s primary and Independents, those not registered with either major Party, are not permitted to vote in either major Party’s primary. Democrats who may like Mitt Romney’s moderate image, will not be able to influence who Republicans nominate as their Party’s candidate.  This is the way I believe it should be.  It is also one of the reasons why Ron Paul has written Florida off.  Since his hero worshippers from outside of the G.O.P. and within the sphere of liberal-tarian lunacy, can not sabotage the Republican process, they are picking up their toys and not playing in the Sunshine State.  All of this is good news for Newt, who if he keeps it together, just might be able to extend his good fortune into the forseeable future.

But even if he does hold it together in Florida, he will still forced to confront some very rough seas.

Following Florida will be two contests that Mitt Romney so far looks unbetable in….Nevada and Michigan.  This will provide at least a psychological sense of momentum that swings back towards Mitt  and away from Newt.  When that time comes, Newt will have to confront his challenge, a challenge that will force him to prove he has the staying power to comeback, and put Romney back on the ropes.  So far Newt has proven that he has considerable political stamina, but if he wins Florida, he will have to turn that stamina in to a knockout punch that he can land sometime after Nevada and Michigan.  If he can’t land such a punch, Republicans could very easily end up seeing this race last longer than the 2008 Democrat nomination between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or worse…….maybe even the first brokered convention since 1976 when President Gerald Ford was almost dumped by the Party in exchange for future President Ronald Reagan.

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Conservative Favorite Fred Thompson Endorses Conservative Alternate to Romney, Newt Gingrich

Bookmark and Share  Much of today’s news was dominated by the fact that Mitt Romney released his taxes for the last two years and that it proved he has money,  and it was also consumend by speculation about the State of the Union address that President Obama will be delivering tonight.  These two dramatic (he writes with tongue-in-cheekily) overshadowed other events on the campaign trail, such as Newt’s continued rise in the polls over Romney and the rest of the G.O.P. field.  It also overshadowed a very special endorsement for Gingrich.

It came from former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson [see the video of the endorsement and a transcript of it below this post].

Thompson’s endorsement may not actually make many Republicans turn around and say that Thompson’s support of Gingrich finally gives them a reason to support Newt over Romney and Santorum, but what it does do is provide many conservatives with enough cause to seriously consider jumping on the Gingrich bandwagon that is now commonly referred to as “Newtmentum”.

Despite his failure to show up for owen presidential campaign in 2008, Fred Thompson is considered a true voice of commonsense conservatism.  The actor turned politician in the late 90’s, has been a consistent advocate of anti-establishment leadership and conservative fiscal and social values.  Part of his draw was his commanding ability to articulate conservative solutions with a dose of down-to-earth, folksy common sense that cut through the bureaucratic jargon that overwhelms the Beltway and attempts to complicate the issues with distractions and distortions.

It is that style and ability which was responsible for initially unleashing the greatets amount of spontaneous enthusiasm for any single Republican presidential candidate in 2008, when Thompson made a late Summer entry in to the contest.  But conservatives lost their enthusiam for Thommpson just as quickly as they became enthused by him, after he ran what, to put it nicely, was a lethargic campaign that had few campaign events, little money, and a candidate who was less energized than his supporters.  Some have suggested that Thompson’s entry in to the race was merely a political stratgey meant to take enough support away from Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, to allow John McCain to squeak by and win the nomination.  Having been there myself, I tend to believe that.

While that is quite disappointing if true,  it still does not take away from the favorable opinion that many have of Fred Thompson, myself includeded.  In fact, I dare say that if Thompson had wanted the nomination in 2012 and actually wanted to run a real campaign for it, he would be the frontrunner today.  Which is why his endorsement of Newt Gingrich matters.  Especially now.

As Floridians prepare to nomiante their choice for President, Thompson’s endorsement carries more weight than others do, perhaps even more so than Jeb Bush.  While Jeb is certainly popular in Florida and would have a very substantial conservative candidate in his own right if he ran for the nomination, he is still largely perceived as a part of the establishment.  Fred Thompson is not.  And it is the anti-establishment vote which is largely driving the momentum behind Newt Gingrich.

The anti-establishment vote drove the historic Republican takeover of the House in 2012 midterm elections, and while some on the left try to deny that anti-establishment sentiment represented by the TEA movement is still alive and well, it continues to have a significant effect on  politics.  Ask Romney, and off the record, he will confirm that.  On the record of course, he will tell you that his support from the TEA Party is strong, Unfortunately for him though, South Carolina proved that not to be true. Based on the exit polls in that race, you can rest assured that Romney would not bet $10,000 on whether the TEA Party supports him over candidates.

What Fred Thompson’s endorsement of Gingrich does is make it more difficult for Romney to gain the support of anti-establishment Republicans.  While it may not be the determining factor that makes Floridians flock to Gingrich, it adds to the positive psychological atmosphere that is growing around Newt Gingrich and reinforces the Newtmentum that according to the latest polls, is building.

For that reason, Fred Thompson’s endorsement of Gingrich is quite valuable.

And the way the endorsement was delivered happens to have been odne extraordinariliy well.  It was based on more than  just platitudes.  In his 5 minute pro-Newt testimonial, Fred Thompson articulates an extraordinarily deep rationale for supporting Newt.

At one point in the endorsement video, Thompson even strikes upon the chord that is critical to what differentiates Gingrich from all the other candidates and is one of the key elememts to his succes.  Thompson states;

“We don’t need to just manage the way Washington works.  We need to fundamentally change Washington. It would be a major setback for our party and our country if we elect a president who is not up to that challenge. We need someone who has the courage and ability to communicate the truth to the American people.”

Those words sum of the very sentiments that tens of millions of Americans have when it comes to politics and our government.  They articulate the thinking of a vast majority of Americans who are disatsfied by, and disgruntled with the status quo and seeking not fundamental change in American values, but fundamental change in an American government that seeks to enforce its bureaucratic values on Americans.

What Thompson’s words do is help to shape the debate and articulate the rational for supporting Newt Gingrich and while Newt may not have the money it takes to turn Thompson’s video endorsement in to a 5 minute ad that runs across the conservative rich Northern and Western section of Florida, he can take Thompson’s words and target these regions with the Thompson’s message.  And if Thompson is willing to put a little more energy in to it that he did for his own 2008 presidential campaign, hitting the campaign trail with and for Newt in the Sunshine will also help open up minds to the thought of supporting Newt while helping to add to Newt’s existing momentum.

Transcript of Thompson’s Endorsement;

I am one of the countless number of Americans who know firsthand that, in this country, a person may be born into modest circumstances, but that he comes into the world blessed in ways that have been unimaginable to the vast majority of people who have ever lived. We are born with the birthright of freedom and opportunity – free to make our own choices about the important things in life and the opportunity to fulfill our God-given potential.

The greatest fear that I have for my country is that our government now has us on a different path. Instead of freedom and opportunity, it is one of debt, dependence division and decline – a path that will weaken our country and sap the vitality of the American people. We have moved from an era of balanced budgets, to a time of debt as large as our entire economy and of lost credit ratings. In 2001, when I was chairman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, I released a report “Government On the Brink,” in which I laid out the extent to which our government was bloated, growing, wasteful, subject to massive fraud, and basically out of control.

A decade later, it is worse.  Today, federal bureaucrats think they can tell a family where they can build their home and a business where it can locate. I believe that how one views the condition and trajectory of our country determines how one views the strengths of our presidential candidates. For me, I believe that we are at a tipping point, one from which we may not return. To avoid these disastrous consequences, our country needs leadership that is fearless and confident – a candidate who can give voice to the concerns and frustrations of the American people …someone who understands – and will never apologize for American Exceptionalism.

We don’t need to just manage the way Washington works.  We need to fundamentally change Washington. It would be a major setback for our party and our country if we elect a president who is not up to that challenge. We need someone who has the courage and ability to communicate the truth to the American people. Someone who will explain the hard choices that we must make if we are to give our children and grandchildren the same opportunities our forefathers bestowed on us and avoid the fate that other great nations have suffered throughout history. I believe that person is Newt Gingrich. And that is why I strongly support him. I came to Washington in 1995, in part as a result of the political revolution that Newt conceived and led. Over the next few years we were able to balance the budget, pass welfare reform, and begin to rebuild a weakened military. So we know it can be done.

Unfortunately, some on our side lost their way, became divided, and fell into recriminations and finger pointing. Sometimes, success is a difficult thing to handle. I believe that most of us have learned from our mistakes and are now focused on the future and the dangers and opportunities that lie ahead for our country. President Obama’s strategy is simple…avoid the hard realities his failed policies have created over the past three years, divide the country, pander to and organize his various constituencies, and eek out another victory. I believe he fails to see what so much of the political establishment and the Washington insiders on both sides of the aisle fail to see – that these past few years have changed our people and our country.

People in America don’t want to be told what to do, and they certainly can’t be told what to think. They see for themselves what is happening in Europe with Greece, Spain and the lot, do not want it happening on our shores and are spontaneously organizing in towns all across America. They realize that on our present course we may not recognize our country in a few years. They are waiting to be inspired and energized to a cause that will conserve those first principles that made us the envy of the world. This cause cannot be led by glossy flip charts, processing data, or reams of talking points poll-tested by a roomful of consultants.

It must be led by someone who can forcefully make our basic case for the economy … for example … how lower taxes benefit all Americans, and can raise revenue for the legitimate and limited functions of the federal government. Someone who is able to articulate the message of growth, free enterprise and freedom. Someone who knows that bold ideas have preceded every major achievement of mankind – including the United States of America. I believe that Newt Gingrich is that person.

Please join me and Newt in this effort to renew America’s Exceptionalism.  Go to Newt.org and show your support. 

Thank you.

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Trunkline 2012: Saturday Political News in Review and the Cinema Politico Movie of the Week 11/12/11

Bookmark and Share  Saturdays edition of  Trunkline 2012 reveals where to watch tonight’s debate, photo of Rick Perry’s debate preparation, Buddy Roemer’s bitter twitter, the California Supreme Court’s ruling for Mexican flag and against our American flag, Newtmentum, the Obama Administration’s praise of Jon Corzine’s economic expertise,  the guest lineup and topics of this Sunday’s morning news programs, this week’s Cinema Politico Saturday night movie feature, and as always, more.

  • Watch tonight’s CBS/National Journal Republican presidential debate on foreign policy live here, starting at 8:00 PM ET
  • Hours before the CBS/ National Journal foreign policy debate and Rick Perry Tweets: “Debate prep in Spartanburg, SC !! “http://t.co/uwdY27IN
  • A frustrated and inconsequential Buddy Roemer tweets I’ve decided to go to the movies tonight instead of tweeting the debate. Less BS.”  Aren’t we bitter? Maybe he should join OWS protesters and watch the debate with them.
  • Some Advice for Newt Gingrich from White House 2012
  • Turning an elephant into a Newt?   Newtmentum kicks in!
  • 10 character assassination attempts by liberals
  • NPR runs nasty hit piece on Herman Cain
  • Cain: I wouldn’t be Romney’s VP — but I’d consider being his secretary of defense
  • Ironic Flashback, 2009: Biden touts Jon Corzine as economic go-to guy for Team Obama
  • If this doesn’t piss you off, nothing will: California Students: Court Rules Mexican Flag Okay on May 5th – American Flag Not Okay on May 5th 
  • With Debt There is No DemocracySunday Morning Political News Program Guest lineup:

ABC’s “This WeekRoundtables on politics and Iran.   NBC’s “Meet the Press” 2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann; Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.   CBS’ “Face the Nation” 2012 GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Govs. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., and Haley Barbour, R-Miss.   CNN’s “State of the Union” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa “Fox News Sunday” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa.; Penn State student body President T.J. Bard; former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris.

W takes viewers through Bush’s eventful life — his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.  Oliver Stone’s biographical take on the life of George W. Bush, chronicles a liberal view of  George W. Bush’s life from his wild and carefree days in college, to his military service, to his governorship of Texas and role in the oil business, his 2000 candidacy for president, his first turbulent four years, and his 2004 re-election campaign.

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W. - on Hulu (You need to register with Hulu to see the movie. Registration is quick, free, and easy)

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