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Jewish World Review
Dec. 1, 2011
/ 5 Kislev, 5772
Newt, Mitt and paper tigers
That Newt Gingrich's detractors and the media are doing their level best to find fault and scandal in his advisory role with Freddie Mac is good news. That after soaring to top-tier status in the polls in his quest for the GOP presidential nomination this paper tiger is all they can muster in the expected and routine takedown tradition of bare-knuckle politics is a sign the former Speaker of the House may be in pretty good shape. That former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the former Speaker are the two giants in the race at this point is an indication the Republican primary voters are executing due diligence in a process that is working. Both men have earned their spots against some very talented other candidates in the field, with voters putting each man and woman under the microscope and making them jump through hoops without apology.
The greatest fear Democrats have in Newt Gingrich is that as a well-known quantity, his negatives have long been documented, and yet he's gained traction in spite of them. Like Romney, Gingrich is enjoying success due to debate performances, credibility and experience all of which seem to be incrementally gaining the trust of not just Republican primary voters, but the general-election-voting population as well, according to polls.
This level of sophistication in a GOP and Tea Party electorate the left has ridiculed as a bunch of unsophisticated ignorant yahoos is perhaps the most dangerous threat to the Democrat Party since a Republican won the governor's race in the People's Republic of Massachusetts nearly a decade ago, and an upstart GOP smarty-pants Georgia congressman propelled his party to a majority in the House of Representatives in the mid-1990s.
After a rock-star, teleprompter, cool, put-my-face-on-a-T-shirt President Obama who has disappointed his base (including the media) and has us white-knuckled with his frightening level of incompetence as we cringe at his foreign-policy ineptness, his monthly release of sky-high unemployment numbers and reckless wasteful spending, it would appear the country is hungry for some sober leadership. We are waiting to exhale. The GOP is serving up candidates who can facilitate that blessed relief.
Just as Mitt Romney seems reluctant to gratuitously slam his fellow candidates, treating them more as colleagues and comrades in arms (one gets the impression that being tough while remaining a gentleman is in his DNA), Newt Gingrich, too, shows respect and even support for the others on the debate stage. The media is perplexed, viewing it as some sort of inexplicable strategy, or perhaps a trick. They're forgetting who Newt is. He doesn't need to ingratiate or indemnify himself to the others. One would be hard-pressed to find him offering gratuitous praise for … well, anyone. Perhaps ever.
Newt Gingrich has spent the better part of his political career recruiting, training and supporting GOP candidates he believes in, building the historic GOP House majority in 1994 with more than 70 new members, and is credited with losing not a single GOP incumbent to a Democrat that year. He is responsible for training countless political operatives (in the interest of full disclosure, I am a 1988 graduate of his now-defunct American Campaign Academy, an intense 10-week campaign-management program dubbed "the West Point of politics" by Newsweek). While he will respectfully disagree on policy issues, it would seem anathema to who Gingrich is to criticize another Republican without good cause. He just isn't wired that way. He'll put his best foot forward, garnering superior results with superior intelligence, rather than tear apart a primary opponent, preferring to hold his fire for Obama whether he is the GOP nominee or not.
Whether the eventual nominee is Romney or Gingrich, each makes the other a better candidate. The GOP has a number of individuals who meet the standard of excellence the nation deserves in terms of experience, intellectual depth, mature common sense and credibility, to varying degrees. Romney and Gingrich are on that list. Condoleezza Rice, Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie are on the list. While Democrats have a bench with potential in terms of the same intellect, experience, etc. (even if I disagree on most policy issues), which includes Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold and perhaps a few others, Barack Obama is not, in my view, in that league. Most Democrats know this, yet are stuck with him. After next November, the rest of us don't have to be.
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JWR contributor Cheri Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. She is a columnist for The Hill and appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.
11/20/11: High-tech lynching, part II
09/23/11: Obama: Love me!
09/12/11: Waive wage rule, create jobs
07/25/11: Dems changed their tune
07/15/11: Clinton's bad advice
06/27/11: Cut, cap and balance
06/03/11: Weiner Twitter kerfuffle
05/16/11: Osama, Obama and 2012
04/19/11: Obama's charity state
04/12/11: Dems too crazy to win
03/21/11: Revere real journalism
03/14/11: Dems generous to a fault
03/07/11: Cut with a machete
03/02/11: $100,000,000,000 of waste is immoral
02/28/11: GOP 2012 hopefuls are getting in touch with their inner Cheesehead
02/14/11: Patriot Act needs diligence
06/15/10: Republican girl power
06/01/10: The petulant president
05/26/10: Party like it's 1994
04/26/10: For animals' sake, or yours
04/19/10: My friend Michael Steele should resign
03/16/10: Waste, fraud and abuse
02/24/10: Put down the shovel
12/22/09: Hurry up and slow down
11/24/09: Jury of peers
11/10/09: Czar light, czar bright
11/02/09: Reid's landmines
10/26/09: Public option for Congress
10/19/09: Big Brother wins
10/13/09: Dancin' DeLay
09/26/09: Paterson under the bus
09/14/09: Start over, Mr. President
© 2009, Cheri Jacobus