As I mentioned earlier, it’s going to be Hell on Earth if the people of Florida choose Newt Gingrich. The GOP insiders hate him, because they consider him a loose canon, and a man who frequently leaves their reservation. The whiff I’m getting seems to waft in from beneath the shrubs, if you know what I mean. It’s going to be a bloodbath because the party elites simply cannot tolerate a person they do not firmly hold in control, particularly when that person has never been one of their own. After all, you must remember who it was that engineered the ouster of Gingrich, and it wasn’t Democrats. The Democrats were only too happy to go along, and play their role, but the people who engineered his ouster were Republicans.
The party establishment will regale you with the tale of Republican electoral woe that is Newt Gingrich, because, they will tell you, he’s got all these “goofy big ideas,” and “you never know what Newt will say next,” but even more than this, there is something else: Gingrich has not so many friends in media. There are many burned bridges, and the entire media establishment, left and right, is gunning for him. They know that they will have difficulty finding an inside track into a Gingrich administration, and that there will be a restriction of access to insider information. This is a serious threat to the media, because it will put Gingrich in the position of deciding which media outlets he will deal with.
Of course, you’re going to hear that Newt is a big government guy, and it is true and honest to say he has had his flirtations with the statist reflexes I abhor, but he also has a record that is at least plausibly anti-establishment, and it’s important to note that he did push hard for government spending cuts that led to a political defeat at the hands of media-connected and favored Bill Clinton. It’s true that he previously supported some bad ideas, but at least he has reformed and admitted that he’s learned.
The other big issue will be the matter of “electability,” and you will be told Gingrich cannot be elected despite the fact that he just managed a landslide across all but five South Carolina counties. That’s one hell of a win for a guy you will be told is “unelectable.” This is such a silly claim, but that won’t stop them from advancing it. It will be repeated that Romney, the man who could not beat the man who could not beat Obama in 2008, is the most electable candidate, and that there’s every reason under the sun to vote for him if only to not have Gingrich.
Florida is going to be tight, but the national polls are reflecting the fact that Romney is collapsing, and Newt is surging. The clue that this may be the case is the fact that Jeb Bush has decided that rather than endorse Romney, as it had been reported previously that the former Florida governor would do, instead it is being reported that Bush is now going to remain neutral. That indicates that Bush may be reading the Florida tea leaves, and protecting the brand of his endorsement by withholding it where he sees it might go down with a loser. Of course, there could be other reasons.
In any case, I suspect Romney will spend money in Florida that will make it tough for Gingrich to compete in media buys, as he has more cash available than any, but Gingrich may see an influx of cash now that he’s won, and in convincing fashion. You can count on Romney trying to overpower Gingrich in Florida, but as we have seen in South Carolina, money alone does not always win, and even an effectively organized campaign is no guarantee of success.
This is going to be brutal, and there’s no limit to the things that will be said about Gingrich. Don’t be surprised when it turns out that he’s a Martian with antennae concealed behind his ears, or as a blood-sucking vampire who will torment your family whenever the sun goes down. They have no choice but to make this case, because in their view, Gingrich simply isn’t acceptable. Romney will not be denied easily, but if he is denied in Florida, expect the GOP establishment to effectively bench him, and replace him with somebody else altogether.