Has there ever been a worse year for the conventional wisdom in handicapping a presidential primary race? Sure, the pundit pack has been grotesquely wrong before, from over-hyping Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008 to smugly dismissing Howard Dean’s potential to galvanize anti-war Democrats in 2004. But never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another.
To experience a surge in the preseason GOP presidential primary, you need to fulfill two requirements: 1. You must have a pulse. 2. You must be brashly right-wing. Michele Bachmann? Check. Rick Perry? Check. Herman Cain? Check. Newt Gingrich? Actually, Gingrich's past and present policy positions, like just about everything else about him, are all over the map, as Ed Kilgore pointed out on this Web site way back in March.
What is it about the Republican presidential field (or GOP electorate) that inspires all-you-can-eat buffet metaphors? From today's column by right-leaning syndicated Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker: Things sure do change fast around here. One week it’s Rick Perry, the next it’s Herman Cain. Now it’s . . . Newt Gingrich? The Republican voter is like a starving man at a free buffet. He gorges on this, then that, then spies a steaming plump pork roast at the far end of the table. Charge! (No anatomical parallels intended.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Newt surge is that the man’s past has yet to catch up with him. At first glance, Newt Gingrich seems like God’s gift to opposition researchers. There’s the $1.6 million fee he collected from Freddie Mac, the $500,000 line of credit he holds at Tiffany’s, and the climate-change ad he filmed with Nancy Pelosi. Like Herman Cain, he has a history of sexual improprieties. Like Mitt Romney, he has a less-than-perfect pro-life record. Most damningly in today’s Republican climate, he is the ultimate Beltway insider—and has been for nearly two decades.
Newt Gingrich is having an impressive national polling surge. His chances of grabbing the GOP presidential nomination have spiked up to over 30 percent at Intrade this week, and the media is full of stories about whether it’s time to start taking him seriously. Here’s my advice: don’t. None of the recent polling means he’s going to win the Republican nomination, nor does it even mean that he’s going to have a serious shot at it.
At the risk of piling on, it seems worth following up on yesterday's post drawing the link between my cover story on Mitt Romney's temperament and his testy Fox News interview to note that some of Romney's toughest critics on the right are now drawing conclusions about his sensitivity that some of my piece's critics on the left shied from.
"I will do that when I get back home on Friday." --Herman Cain, on whether he's had a chance to "walk through [with his wife] this" allegation of a 13-year affair that ended eight months ago. What makes him so sure she'll be there?
Herman Cain is said to be “reassessing” his candidacy amid new allegations of infidelity—specifically, Ginger White’s claim that she carried on a 13-year affair with the candidate. Cain is already facing numerous allegations of sexual harassment and even sexual assault. Is this the final blow to his campaign? A recent paper by three political scientists provides perspective, if not hope.
Since other news accounts are tiptoing around this, allow me to translate. When a person--in this instance, fitness instructor Ginger White--steps forward with an allegation about a presidential candidate--in this instance, that Herman Cain ended an affair with her only eight short months ago--and the candidate responds by "reassessing" whether to continue in the race, it means he's pulling out. What the candidate is "assessing" isn't the race per se but the quality of the evidence, which here consists of cell phone records.
Just four years after he slid out of the White House as the embattled Rasputin to a flailing president, Karl Rove has reinvented himself as the dominant private citizen in the Republican Party. He is today a driving force behind both the powerful advocacy organization Crossroads GPS and its even more influential sibling, American Crossroads, the largest SuperPAC on the right.