In a primary season that has been marked by the rise and fall of one contender after another, the candidate who may be hitting his stride at just the right moment appears to be Newt Gingrich. Speaker Gingrich has long been a fixture in Republican Party circles (though he has not held elected office since 1999) and was widely known by the Primary voter so when he announced his candidacy he was not viewed with any of the pomp or circumstance that several of the other, more enigmatic candidates enjoyed.
Early on it seemed that with Tea Party support Rep. Michelle Bachmann might make an astounding run at the candidacy as the conservative counter to establishment candidate Mitt Romney. Within Tea Party circles she was viewed very much as a “Rock Star” candidate, someone with whom the base could coalesce behind. Her conservative “street cred” was unassailable and she had proven to be a politician who did not back down from a fight. Her support began to wane when her viability as a national candidate came into question, it seemed that Rep. Bachmann’s strong views that brought her so many conservative supporters also brought strong negative reaction from moderates and independents. After a couple of national missteps, Rep. Bachmann’s poll numbers quickly faded.
Then came the heralded arrival of the conservative hero Governor Rick Perry, whose rise to prominence was as stunning as his fall to ignominy. If ever there was a candidate poised to take the Presidency it was Governor Perry, he entered a field that voters were lukewarm about with an astounding amount of support. It seemed the voters had practically begged him to enter the field, but upon arrival Governor Perry’s image began to tarnish. Since entering the field Governor Perry’s candidacy has quickly devolved into something of a carnival sideshow – including an entry in the tent housing David Letterman. What once seemed to be a promising campaign that enjoyed roughly 40% of the Republican primary voters support, has slipped to a stunning 4th place average among the candidates.
On the heels of the debating disaster that is Rick Perry, came the “Everyman” of the GOP field Herman Cain. He wowed us with his charm, wit, and vivaciousness – but the national media saw an opening with several seemingly “weak” accusations of sexual harassment. The Cain campaign was not practiced or professional enough to handle these attacks in the most appropriate manner, and so it seems they may be ringing the death knell of his campaign. Since the apex of his support Mr. Cain’s poll numbers have been steadily sliding back to the pack and it has only helped the candidacy of the one-time long shot Newt Gingrich.
Currently Mr. Gingrich sits at 3rd in the polls but with each debate performance he improves his stock. He seems prepared for any eventuality and even has the ability to spin what could be awkward moments into political homeruns, like the one he hit here in the recent South Carolina debate on CBS. He has consistently obeyed President Reagan’s 11th Commandment and stayed above the fray praising all of his Republican counterparts, even when disagreeing with certain aspects of their candidacy.
Please don’t misunderstand me Mr. Gingrich has baggage, he has made political mistakes, he is not a perfect candidate BUT he certainly seems to be the most prepared of the candidates (not named Romney) to be President… and the best part – he isn’t Romney. With the rise and fall of each of these other candidates, the GOP field seems to be collapsing itself towards Mitt Romney. I for one think this is a terrifying conclusion and that reason alone is enough to make me wonder if it is time to re-consider Newt?