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Jewish World Review
Dec. 12, 2011
/ 16 Kislev, 5772
What if Newt survives the fire?
The Romney campaign has finally woke up and smelled the former Speaker's surge. Romney and his surrogates are busy playing negative campaign catch-up, branding Newt as the personal and political embodiment of an undisciplined and unreliable government.
Newt's list of enemies in Washington is long: his "elephant-in-a-china-shop" style of leadership left him the one trampled in the end when he was forced out as Speaker. His checkered personal life (which he has repented) stands in stark contrast to Mitt Romney's family idyll. Some of his policy prescriptions look eerily similar to George W. Bush's compassionate conservatism, which of course was not conservative at all. Yet despite his impressive political and financial backing, Romney still finds himself struggling to win conservative hearts and minds. During his time in Massachusetts politics, he shrugged off the "Reagan conservative" label and declared himself an "independent" thinker. He has his own political ghosts trailing him --- and the scariest of all for primary voters is Romneycare.
For many conservatives, what happened with Newt in the '90s isn't as relevant as what happened to America in the last decade. And since he wasn't in political office then, they may not see him as particularly blameworthy. They like it when Team Romney and virtually the entire media establishment attacks him, he responds by attacking Obama's pathetic record and praising the Republican field. They may even like his story of redemption and the fact that he doesn't look like he belongs on the cover of a J.Crew catalogue.
Will this be enough for him to stave off the current onslaught of criticism? History says no. But history only repeats itself until it doesn't. One thing's for sure: if Gingrich does defy history with his unconventional and underfunded campaign, he will be a far stronger candidate against Obama than any of the pundits and "political experts" predicted.
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