The analysis has begun and the emerging conventional explanation of Newt’sSouth Carolinavictory seems to be coalescing around one of two themes: 1) Romney’s debate incompetence; 2) Newt’s answers to two specific questions in the South Carolina debates.
Though I generally agree with the two theories, I believe they are simply symbolic of issues a whole lot deeper. I’ll use the chronology of my thoughts/emotions, not assuming I’m representative of all, but certainly of some.
The entire primary season and the months leading up to it have been analyzed to the point of absurdity. For me, as theIowacaucuses approached, there was sense of resignation. Romney’s money and backing by the establishment led to a feeling of his inevitable nomination, exactly what his campaign wanted.
However, the muddled outcome in Iowa proved nothing, even weeks later when they finally figured out who won.
Then, Romney’s preordained victory inNew Hampshire. Everything’s on schedule.
South Carolina approaches with Romney holding a double-digit lead; ho hum. I’m resolved to take on the ABO (anybody but Obama) mindset and hope for the best.
Then, the South Carolina debates.
Romney’s performances really grabbed my attention, not the fumbling on any particular issue, but a glaring flash of the obvious: this guy is remarkably inarticulate. His lines are scripted. And, not only is he unable to express a conservative vision (likely because he hasn’t one) but his explanations and answers to the most simple issues and questions are awkward, stilted and seemingly delivered with little if any forethought.
Then Newt does his thing, first with Juan Williams’ question, then CNN’s leadoff bumble, and I’m out of my chair cheering. What the…?
All of a sudden, the ‘Newt issues’ don’t matter any more. Nationwide unpopularity. Foolish attack on venture capital and private equity. Ex-wives. With Pelosi on the sofa. Etc., etc., etc.
I sit back down to try to understand and figure out my unbridled enthusiasm.
Yes, observing a conservative grabbing the mainstream media’s throat and squeezing tightly is more than satisfying. That’s fun to watch, but that wasn’t it.
Then I figured it out. Though it’s become a cliché, the country is really facing a terribly consequential turning point. The progressives have been on the offense for years; the Republicans acquiescing, often jumping on the big government bandwagon themselves. And, the contemplation of four more years of Obama creates actual fear.
So, an articulate, slightly erratic, sometimes mean-spirited, emotional, bright SOB is much preferable to another go along to get along candidate.
Go get ‘em Newt!