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Subject: Gingrich's rise puzzles critics of his record rss

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http://apnews.myway.com/article/20111209/D9RH8UB81.html

Anybody here understand why Gingrich is suddenly so popular among Republicans?
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
tesuji wrote:
Anybody here understand why Gingrich is suddenly so popular among Republicans?


Yep.


That solves that problem.

Octavian, you can lock this thread.
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Koldfoot wrote:
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/5393935#5393935

"his to lose"

This prediction was made a year and a half ago. I stood by it in every conversation since. I may have even made this prediction earlier, I know I've said it many times. This despite massive opposition by liberals who just didn't want to believe the obvious.


Brian has consistently argued that this is Gingrich's election.

It is curious however- the big criticism in 1994-6 during the showdowns with Clinton was that he wasn't decisive enough in his dealings with Clinton- he was blamed for folding into pressure from both Dole and the White House rather than sticking to his guns, leaving even his OWN STAFF to say that he was "Just like the 'Beaver'". The result was that faced a serious leadership challenge from a disaffected GOP base of support in the House.

Now, many of those former House members are major movers and shakers in the GOP establishment, and I don't think that they've changed their opinions about him.

(for more on this, read "Tell Newt to Shut Up": How Reality Gagged the Gingrich Revolution , by Michael Weisskopf and David Maraniss)

Darilian

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Koldfoot wrote:

Yes or no. Can Romney beat Obama?


No.
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Gingrich IS a moderate.

A wierd one, true- but on policy issues he's never really been an ideologue. He is such an original thinker, and willing to consider almost anything, it makes him very hard to categorize.

NOW-

Why a lot on the Right like him is because he is a TERRIFIC bomb thrower. He is a veteran partisan warrior, and he is very, very good at it.

As for whether or not Romney can beat Obama-
No chance in hell. Romney won't get the support of the GOP base. In a negative campaign- which 2012 will be- the winner is the one who can best turn out their base. As lackluster Obama's support amongst the Left is, Romney excites NO ONE in the GOP. Therefore, win to Obama.

Gingrich could- I repeat, could excite the base and lead the GOP to a win. But organizational skills have never been his strong suit, and he's had considerable problems keeping a staff together throughout this campaign so far.

That can be overcome, of course. It remains to see if he is able to do so, however.

Darilian
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What if Gingrich is elected, but then we get sick and have some healthcare issues. Aren't you afraid that he will leave us for a younger, more healthy country?
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No, Romney can't beat Obama.

But neither can Gingrich. Obama's slide in popularity is, I think, largely due to the appearance that he has been too moderate, that his policies haven't matched the inspiring rhetoric of his campaign.

A polarizing figure like Gingrich would be a godsend. Regardless of whether Newt *is* moderate or not, he is *perceived * (a perception he hapily fosters) as an ideologue. Nothing would galvanize the left more than the hoary spectre of the guy who is held responsible for curtailing Clinton's golden era, rising from the tomb to drag us back into hell with him.

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Darilian wrote:
Gingrich IS a moderate.

A wierd one, true- but on policy issues he's never really been an ideologue. He is such an original thinker, and willing to consider almost anything, it makes him very hard to categorize.

NOW-

Why a lot on the Right like him is because he is a TERRIFIC bomb thrower. He is a veteran partisan warrior, and he is very, very good at it.

As for whether or not Romney can beat Obama-
No chance in hell. Romney won't get the support of the GOP base. In a negative campaign- which 2012 will be- the winner is the one who can best turn out their base. As lackluster Obama's support amongst the Left is, Romney excites NO ONE in the GOP. Therefore, win to Obama.

Gingrich could- I repeat, could excite the base and lead the GOP to a win. But organizational skills have never been his strong suit, and he's had considerable problems keeping a staff together throughout this campaign so far.

That can be overcome, of course. It remains to see if he is able to do so, however.

Darilian

Intriguing ideas here, but I do think Romney could beat Obama.

Democrats are meh about Obama, for good reason.
Republicans are meh about Romney - but, I think their hatred of Obama will bring them to the polls anyway.

Gingrich has high negatives and lots of issues. I don't think he'll survive the spotlight. If we had a few more debates and a few more months, I expect he would self-destruct like the other not-Romneys have. But as it is, maybe he'll win Iowa, and then we'll have a protracted race.

I don't like Romney's positions on most things, but I think he'll be an effective leader, more pragmatic than ideological, and maybe even try to bring the country back together again.

It's true that lamentable tragedies will follow if Romney is elected and he also gets a Republican congress. Greenhouse gases will continue to skyrocket, for example. I would say that health care reform will also die - but maybe having a pragmatic businessman in office, he will convince people that our current expensive broken health care system is bad for business and the economy. One can hope.
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49xjohn wrote:

What if Gingrich is elected, but then we get sick and have some healthcare issues. Aren't you afraid that he will leave us for a younger, more healthy country?


This is one of the reasons Gingrich's critics can't understand why he's doing well - because the stories they think they know about him are wrong.

From the Washington Post (noted right wing rag):

Quote:
While the thrust of the story about his first divorce is not in dispute — Gingrich’s first wife, Jackie Battley, has said previously that the couple discussed their divorce while she was in the hospital in 1980 — other aspects of it appear to have been distorted through constant retelling.
Most significantly, Battley wasn’t dying at the time of the hospital visit; she is alive today. Nor was the divorce discussion in the hospital ‘a surprise’ to Battley, as many accounts have contended. Battley, not Gingrich, had requested a divorce months earlier, according to Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the couple’s second daughter. Further, Gingrich did not serve his wife with divorce papers on the day of his visit (unlike a subpoena, divorce papers aren’t typically “served”).
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Koldfoot wrote:
Let me ask you Dems. Straight up. Yes or no.

Do you think Romney can beat Obama?

I doubt there is one of you who would answer that question without the caveat of "moderates are needed to win, blah, blah, Gingrich won't get the moderates".

Yes or no. Can Romney beat Obama?


Yes. I think Romney is at least 50-50 to beat Obama.

In normal circumstances, the incumbent is judged on "performance", which I put in quotes because that usually means "the economy right now" which the President often can't affect that much. Obama is in a very tough position on the economy; on top of that, a lot of his base is demotivated and the magical promise that motivated some people to bet on him is much diminished.

Given that, a boring Republican candidate -- particularly one with solid economics chops -- is a major threat. No, he won't motivate the base and that will cost him votes. But he won't motivate Obama's base either and he won't scare off folks in the middle who, generally, like Obama personally but aren't convinced he can do the job.

Gingrich would be much stronger at motivating the base (provided he can do a convincing "redemption" apology), but he's also a lot riskier. If I were Obama, I'd rather face Gingrich than Romney. (I'd also be generally pleased that the GOP couldn't come up with a better threat than either of them.)
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SabreRedleg wrote:
49xjohn wrote:

What if Gingrich is elected, but then we get sick and have some healthcare issues. Aren't you afraid that he will leave us for a younger, more healthy country?


This is one of the reasons Gingrich's critics can't understand why he's doing well - because the stories they think they know about him are wrong.

From the Washington Post (noted right wing rag):

Quote:
While the thrust of the story about his first divorce is not in dispute — Gingrich’s first wife, Jackie Battley, has said previously that the couple discussed their divorce while she was in the hospital in 1980 — other aspects of it appear to have been distorted through constant retelling.
Most significantly, Battley wasn’t dying at the time of the hospital visit; she is alive today. Nor was the divorce discussion in the hospital ‘a surprise’ to Battley, as many accounts have contended. Battley, not Gingrich, had requested a divorce months earlier, according to Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the couple’s second daughter. Further, Gingrich did not serve his wife with divorce papers on the day of his visit (unlike a subpoena, divorce papers aren’t typically “served”).


Oh, please.

Yes, there's some hyperbole added to what happened, but what happened is pretty straightforward. In addition to numerous more casual affairs, Gingrich's first two marriages ended because he had already met and begun a serious affair with his next wife. Battley didn't ask Gingrich for a divorce because she was tired of him and wanted to trade him in for a younger man, but because he had already traded her in.
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SabreRedleg wrote:
This is one of the reasons Gingrich's critics can't understand why he's doing well - because the stories they think they know about him are wrong.


I think the reason some of us can't understand why he's doing well is that we take "values voters" too much at their word and underestimate their love of a redeemed sinner narrative.

A Democrat who had cheated on his first and second wives with his second and third wives (and had a bunch of other affairs along the way) would be reviled by social conservatives as immoral and unfit for office. But a social conservative who declares himself to have been lost in sin and turned to God for help and redemption is another story.

It's noteworthy that several prominent social conservatives are saying not that Gingrich's behavior disqualifies him but that he needs to make a clearer statement of apology, regret and redemption in order to win over the evangelical base completely.
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Koldfoot wrote:
.

All problems aside, Gingrich is best remembered as the architect of the Contract with America, which put into writing the most articulate conservative thought since Reagan.



I thought Obama was best remembered for taking out Contracts on Americans?
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I'd say that Gingrich has a better chance. If you asked the average American, he would be the only person of the three that they could identify as a Christian.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Yes or no. Can Romney beat Obama?


Probably not at this point, no.

Elections come in two flavours: choices and referendums. The Republicans want it to be a referendum on how well Obama has done as President, because then they'll just point to the shitty economy and rely on Americans' general lack of knowledge about civics and how their own government works, and that's an election they can potentially win. The Democrats want it to be a choice, because if it's a choice, then Obama wins because the choice will be between him and whatever misbegotten retard the GOP nominates.

Now, previously the theory regarding Mitt Romney is that he was the "moderate choice" and that therefore he could turn the election into a referendum by being a blandly acceptable middle-of-the-road milquetoast. This is the "sure, Mitt Romney is a soulless hack and an empty suit, but that means it's hard to get angry with his bad qualities" argument. Someone who works tirelessly to be completely meaningless will manage to be at least partially meaningless, and the less meaningful the GOP candidate is, the more the election becomes about Obama.

And this was a great argument last year. Unfortunately, since then Mitt Romney has run so hard to the right that he can't make "meaningless" fly any more. Mitt Romney has spent the last four months throwing away his meaninglessness to try and cozy up to the GOP base by endorsing, among other things, a major increase in defense spending, the Paul Ryan Medicare-scrapping budget, and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, among other things. And when you do that, you turn a campaign into a choice. And Romney can't win if it's a choice, because nobody really wants to choose him.
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I disagree. I don't think you can reasonably say that Americans might vote Republican because they don't understand civics and in the same breath say that Romney can't run as a moderate because he's campaigned in Republican primaries as a conservative.

Most Americans, of all political flavors, focus on a handful of core beliefs about candidates -- theirs and the other guy's. I don't think it's at all unreasonable for Romney to hope that he can position himself as someone who knows how the economy works and that everything else about him is secondary. If he does that, and the economy still sucks, that is a pretty serious threat. I don't think many people are going to say, "Well, yeah, he does sound like he knows how to create jobs but when he was trying to win the nomination he advocated a constitutional amendment onsnoresnoresnoresnoresnoresnoresnoresnoresnorewait, what were we talking about?"

The most persuasive thing I've heard in this post has been from Koldfoot about how Gingrich comes across as an incredible optimist. I still think he's damaged goods, but watching tonight's debate that came through. But Romney's getting better on that front as well.

Jay Severin, a former local conservative talk show host (and someone I often disagree with) said that in Presidential elections anyone who says that the nominee from one party has no chance is wrong almost always -- that any vaguely competent nominee from either major party has closer to a 50% chance to win than zero. I think he's right.
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sisteray wrote:
I'd say that Gingrich has a better chance. If you asked the average American, he would be the only person of the three that they could identify as a Christian.


Remember the good old days when Catholics were suspect, too?
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
I disagree. I don't think you can reasonably say that Americans might vote Republican because they don't understand civics and in the same breath say that Romney can't run as a moderate because he's campaigned in Republican primaries as a conservative.


I don't think a majority of Americans understand their own political system and how it works, no. This is mostly because of polling that demonstrates that a majority of Americans don't understand their own political system and how it works. (And, to be fair to Americans, most other first world countries only do a little bit better.) They don't understand division of powers terribly well, are downright crappy on how a bill becomes a law, and are even worse on how judicial review works. (And this is not a liberal/conservative thing, either. Plenty of Obama supporters are frustrated because they want him, in essence, to be a king.)

But I do think Americans understand the basics of issues. Take, as an example, abortion. You can be pro-life, or pro-choice, or wobbly in the middle and figure that some abortions should be legal while others should only be allowable strictly for medical reasons. And if you assert one politically extreme position ("all abortions should be legal at all times for any woman period end of story") and then go to the general, it will be used against you.

For a more Romney-specific version, let's take Medicare. We already know what the public thinks of Paul Ryan's Medicare proposals and his budget: they do not like it. But now Romney is on record supporting it.

And this is mostly endemic: the GOP needs to avoid proposing concrete policies because their policies, when explained simply and clearly, are not very popular. Every time Romney decides to explain to the GOP base that he supports specific conservative policies, he's pinning himself down a little more and tying himself to unpopular ideas, and making an election between himself and Obama a choice rather than a referendum.

Quote:
Jay Severin, a former local conservative talk show host (and someone I often disagree with) said that in Presidential elections anyone who says that the nominee from one party has no chance is wrong almost always -- that any vaguely competent nominee from either major party has closer to a 50% chance to win than zero. I think he's right.


I don't think it's quite that cut and dry, but the nature of a two-party system means that statement will never be entirely wrong. Unfortunately, note the presence of the "vaguely competent" qualifier. It's important.
 
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bobby_5150 wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
.

All problems aside, Gingrich is best remembered as the architect of the Contract with America, which put into writing the most articulate conservative thought since Reagan.



I thought Obama was best remembered for taking out Contracts on Americans?


Contracts on who?
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
sisteray wrote:
I'd say that Gingrich has a better chance. If you asked the average American, he would be the only person of the three that they could identify as a Christian.


Remember the good old days when Catholics were suspect, too?


Well like catholics he does not act like one (well did not and now he has sais sorry we are supposed to belive him).
 
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Gingrich's and Romney's personal lives -- affairs, divorces, religion -- are not of interest to me in choosing a president. In fact, I firmly believe that anything that should be illegal in a job interview should be off limits for elections.

We're trying to elect a good executive, not find a date for our sister or a godparent for our kids.

I think anybody who does vote on those issues will have a tough time in this election, but it will likely skew for Republicans.

Looking through those warped goggles, Gingrich may be a dick, and Romney may be cultist, but at least they're not socialist Muslims, as some people might have you believe about Obama.

For those who base their votes on something a bit more tangible, Romney's got a black eye that can be summed up nice and neatly, "He outsourced jobs." While Gingrich's professional record is harder to sum up negatively for the right.

So I think Gingrich will do better with his base, but Romney would do better against Obama. Because Gingrich is easier to vilify with liberals.

Romney could do a better job with the middle than Gingrich, since they might give him a pass on his flip-flopping from mostly moderate to conservative: they might hold out hope that he's just paying lip-service to get on the ballot.

And I think that's the core of why Gingrich is doing better with the base. The right 'knows' that Gingrich won't get in office and then turn on them. They can't say the same for Romney.

Edit: I do have to say that the idea of Gingrich being president is intriguing. I can see it turning out like some sort of Robert Anton Wilson book, with Gingrich turning things on their head. I don't think it will be same old, same old with him.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
SabreRedleg wrote:
This is one of the reasons Gingrich's critics can't understand why he's doing well - because the stories they think they know about him are wrong.


I think the reason some of us can't understand why he's doing well is that we take "values voters" too much at their word and underestimate their love of a redeemed sinner narrative.


I don't disagree with you. However I don't think it's inaccurate to say that some people buy into the caricature of political figures more readily than than reality, and that these people are unlikely to comprehend how anyone else can see anything positive in the figure. Like Birthers, for example.

I tend to agree with Aetheros that Gingrich is the candidate most likely to shke up Washington. Maybe not in a good way, but that's not really the point.

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Aetheros wrote:
For those who base their votes on something a bit more tangible, Romney's got a black eye that can be summed up nice and neatly, "He outsourced jobs." While Gingrich's professional record is harder to sum up negatively for the right.


"Eighty-four ethics violations" is a pretty good start.
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mightygodking wrote:
Aetheros wrote:
For those who base their votes on something a bit more tangible, Romney's got a black eye that can be summed up nice and neatly, "He outsourced jobs." While Gingrich's professional record is harder to sum up negatively for the right.


"Eighty-four ethics violations" is a pretty good start.


I know that I could look this up, but I am truly too lazy today -- but I thought that all the charges were dropped (or he was cleared of all charges). Which I thought was weird since he paid a settlement. How does the process of House Ethics violations work -- if anyone knows?
 
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