Presidential Wednesday 12/14/11

Just like that the dream is over – killed by a group of candidates who didn’t want to spend an evening in the shadow of that big head of hair. The “Great Debate” as The Donald called it will not take place after all, or at least not with Trump as moderator. As Trump explains, he’s unwilling to completely rule out a run for President as an independent. Why would any candidate show up to be grilled by a potential rival?

Thankfully we have hundreds of other debates lined up to fill our time.

Here’s the latest RCP Average and Intrade percentages.

The Newt News is overflowing this week. Here in Georgia, it’s no surprise Gingrich has a large lead in the State (also be sure to check out Mark’s analysis of early State polling). Yesterday Gingrich picked up some Georgia endorsements.

It wasn’t all good news for Gingrich this week. A couple of new polls show his lead in Iowa shrinking, and two radio talk show hosts have taken aim at Newt. Michael Savage has offered Gingrich $1 million to leave the race. Glenn Beck meanwhile has all but declared war on Gingrich.

Here's a photo of #Newt meeting with the Mighty Power Mo... on Twitpic

The declaration of war by Beck came after he had Gingrich on his radio show last week. Here’s how things started (full transcript):

GLENN:…..I have serious concerns with Newt Gingrich, but it’s not a gotcha interview. This is just, I’m asking questions because I truly, deeply care about the country just as much as Newt Gingrich does but we differ on the answers, I believe. I’d like to have him convince me that I’m wrong. I would love to have him convince me that I’m wrong. Mr. Newt Gingrich, how are you, sir?

GINGRICH: I’m doing well. How are you?

GLENN: I’m very good. Let’s start with ‑‑ let’s start with a piece of audio here where you were talking about healthcare and you went down the progressive road with Theodore Roosevelt.

GINGRICH: And for government to not leave guarantees that you don’t have the ability to change, no private corporation has the purchasing power or the ability to reshape the health system, and in this sense I guess I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. In fact, if I were going to characterize my ‑‑ on health where I come from, I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican and I believe government can lean in the regulatory leaning is okay.

GLENN: Regulation and the government scares the crap out of me and I think most Tea Party kind of leaning conservatives, and Theodore Roosevelt was the guy who started the Progressive Party. How would you characterize your relationship with the progressive ideals of Theodore Roosevelt?

GINGRICH: Well, that depends on which phase of Roosevelt you’re talking about…..

Nothing Gingrich said eased Beck’s concerns. After the interview Beck called Gingrich a “progressive” (the worst insult in all of Beckdom), not much different than President Obama, and told Judge Andrew Napolitano that Tea Partiers supporting Gingrich must be doing so because of race.

As you might imagine this has caused a firestorm. Andrew Breitbart (who has not been a fan of Beck for sometime now) said Beck is a “coward” and “He Is Dead To Me.” Gingrich responded to the “progressive” charge by saying:

“I mean, depends on what standard you’re using.” You know, the fact is that I balanced the budget for consecutive four years. And we did so well cutting taxes and increasing employment. So people went back to work, they left welfare, they left food stamps, they left unemployment, the left Medicaid. Who else has a record of that level of achievement?

None of this has slowed Beck down.

I don’t agree with Beck that Gingrich is a progressive. However, Gingrich does slip back into the old college professor mode filled with nuanced answers – drawing comparisons to bits and pieces of history that sometimes get him into trouble. For example, Newt said the Palestinians were an “invented” people. While the point Gingrich was making, when taken in context, might be correct and interesting to discuss in an academic setting, such comments could be disastrous were he President. And Beck’s interview with Gingrich pointed out numerous comments by Gingrich which give conservatives heartburn.

Other articles of interest:
Rich Lowry: The Myth of the New Newt
Jonah Goldberg: Sizing up a Gingrich-Romney showdown
Coffee And Markets: Can Newt’s “Not Mitt” Momentum Win Him the GOP Nomination?

Finally, be sure to read Erick Erickson’s article yesterday: 3 Weeks And Counting. Are We In a Suicide Pact?

I think, given the direction the Obama team intends to head with their campaign theme, we would be crazy not to reconsider Perry, given how effective his biography and life story would be combatting that theme. If not Perry, perhaps Huntsman does deserve a look given his private sector and Reagan administration experience. Both men, however, have things they must show conservatives in order to get conservatives back on board for Perry or on board the first time for Huntsman.

Erick’s weekly “Horserace” columns are a must read as well.


  1. Christine O’Donnell endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday. Where does it fall on the “Fix Endorsement Hierarchy?” As a “me for me” endorsement, according to WaPo’s Chris Cillizza. In other words it’s more about O’Donnell’s desire to be a part of the political discussion then about her agreement with Romney.

  2. benevolus says:

    I thought Paul Krugman’s comment was funny:
    “Newt Gingrich is what a stupid person thinks a smart person sounds like.”

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