Thursday, November 03, 2011

Holding Out Hope

With the SS Perry taking on water and Hermain Cain embroiled in a scandal that however flimsy may end up sinking or at least seriously damaging his chances for the GOP endorsement, the solid 75% of Republicans with membership cards in the ABR (Anyone But Romney) club are left with fewer and fewer options. One of those options that seems to be becoming increasingly viable is the once declared dead Newt Gingrich. In yesterday's WSJ, Paul Gigot waxed admiringly on Newt's impressive qualifications and asked Can Gingrich Break Through?:

This is an unusual primary season, however, and the question is whether voters will now give Mr. Gingrich another look. The former House speaker's allies think so. They say Ms. Bachmann and Rick Perry can't come back, Herman Cain will fade as his national sales tax gets broader scrutiny, and neither Mr. Santorum nor Jon Huntsman has attracted much voter support. That leaves Mr. Gingrich to emerge from Iowa as the main challenger to Mitt Romney. Even if Mr. Romney wins New Hampshire, the campaign then becomes a two-man race heading into South Carolina and Florida, where Mr. Gingrich's debating talents and conservative agenda will contrast with Mr. Romney's poll-driven caution.

That scenario may be a long-shot, but no one should rule it out. After Thursday's education session, Mr. Gingrich mentioned that in a conventional year he might not get that second look. But this year, voters are worried enough about the condition and direction of the country that they are willing to consider someone with proposals that are bolder than the political norm. Mr. Gingrich must still overcome the perception that he's been around too long, as well as his habit of talking himself into trouble (recall his criticism of Paul Ryan's Medicare plan). He'll need more money too. But in a year when GOP voters are still searching for someone who can go head-to-head with President Obama, don't be surprised if Mr. Gingrich gets another turn in the spotlight.

The 75% turn our lonely eyes to Newt.