The Art of the Comeback: The Case For Newt's Continued Campaign
February 03, 2012
The irresistible human impulse is to find meaning amid the chaos of the cosmos. But some external events defy rational categorization. So it was with Thursday afternoon as Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney—an event so bizarre that the tight-lipped Romney was forced to admit, “There are some things you can’t imagine in life.
Coulter, Romneycare, And The GOP Crackup
February 02, 2012
With Mitt Romney re-establishing himself, after the unpleasantness in South Carolina, as the Republicans' de facto nominee, I thought it would be fun to offer some sort of prize--say, a bronze replica of the 1939 Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact--to the first Fox News personality to endorse Romney's absurd claim that Romneycare (good) was entirely different from Obamacare (bad). I never dreamed that Ann Coulter would beat me to the punch. She's never been much good at playing with the other children.
Romney Took Florida, But the Real Prize Was Sheldon Adelson
January 31, 2012
In that moment just before New Hampshire, when it was briefly possible to imagine Jon Huntsman fighting deep into the primaries, New York magazine’s John Heilemann made an astute observation. He pointed out that Huntsman’s real audience on election night wouldn’t be the country or the voters in other early states or even the political media. It would consist of exactly one person: Jon Huntsman Sr., the billionaire chemical magnate who, if the mood struck him, could take out his checkbook and completely upend the race. “An investment of, say, $10 million — a rounding error on the Huntsman Sr.
Newtonian Theory, Right And Wrong
January 31, 2012
Things are shaping up predictably enough in Florida today that I will venture my punditry in prebuttal form, like those congressmen who put out their responses to the State of the Union address long before it's been given. My aim now is not so much to look ahead to what comes after Florida as to correct some misinterpretations of the 2012 primary roller-coaster that I've seen floating around in recent days.
Newt Gingrich's Awkward Ties To Saul Alinsky
January 31, 2012
Newt Gingrich is, in all likelihood, heading towards a loss tonight in Florida. It wasn’t so long ago that the Speaker was riding high off a double-digit victory in South Carolina, where he declared that “the centerpiece” of the campaign was “American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.” Since Gingrich has promised to take his campaign all the way to the convention regardless of tonight’s results, we can expect to hear a lot more about Saul Alinsky. What was Alinsky’s legacy? A 1998 paper in Theological Studies argues that Alinsky played a central role in the history of U.S.
Warning To Democrats: Romney Is a Stronger Candidate Than You Think
January 30, 2012
Mitt Romney’s strong performance in the second Florida debate deprived Newt Gingrich of his last chance to maintain the boost he got from his South Carolina victory. Unless something significant happens before January 31, Romney will beat Gingrich in the Sunshine State by a double-digit margin and regain his standing as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. After a quiet February, he’ll deploy his edge in money, organization, and preparation to defeat Gingrich the way Grant defeated Lee—by inexorably grinding him down.
During the 1960 West Virginia primary, John Kennedy campaigned in tandem with Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. to claim that he—and not liberal stalwart Hubert Humphrey—was the rightful heir to FDR. The biopic shown at the 1992 Democratic Convention showcased difficult-to-locate footage of Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK at the White House in 1963 as an Arkansas delegate to Boy’s Nation. Even by these bygone standards of the-torch-is-passed iconography, it is hard to top the battle for Ronald Reagan’s legacy being waged in the Florida primary.
Would Newt Out-Debate Obama? It Wouldn't Matter Anyway
January 26, 2012
Back in October, I went up to Cambridge, Massachusetts to watch the eighth Republican primary debate of the season with Mark McKinnon, the Republican media strategist who had served as debate coach for George W. Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin. I was interested in McKinnon’s professional assessment of a Republican field whose succession of frontrunners, from Tim Pawlenty to Herman Cain, had nearly all been made or unmade by debate performances. At the time, Rick Perry was hurtling toward the abyss, Cain was bafflingly ascendant, and Mitt Romney was performing as advertised.
The Guy Who Fires You
January 25, 2012
Randy Lavallee is a proud member of the American working class. A New Hampshire resident, he works as a calibration inspector for a jet-engine plant just across the state line in Maine. Four years ago, the plant went through a downsizing that resulted in the layoffs of one-sixth of its 1,600 workers. After the cuts, Lavallee told me, the “CEO and management got big bonuses.” I met Lavallee, 58, recently in Rochester, New Hampshire, where he lives.
January 25, 2012
It’s not quite right to say that the hundreds of millions of dollars Mitt Romney amassed as a private equity baron were the cause of his South Carolina drubbing. But they didn’t exactly help, either. Newt Gingrich trounced the former Massachusetts governor among just about every demographic group that might nurse a grudge against a slick quarter-billionaire.