Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gingrich: Then Again...

Having accused Newt of desperation just a few days ago, I have to eat my words today:

Gingrich now has 31% support from registered Republican voters in the Gallup daily tracking poll, compared with 27% for the former Massachusetts governor.

The former House speaker now has completely erased a 23-point advantage Romney enjoyed earlier this month.

For myself, I'm still undecided. Mitt is just so, so dull. I'd love to see Newt mixing it up with Obama in the debates. But Obama is nothing if not a disciplined campaigner, and Newt is anything but that. I'd hate for Newt to win the nomination and then make some October unforced error that sank his campaign.

This is about where I was in 2008. As the NJ primary approached, Mitt and McCain were both still in the running. Holding my nose, I pulled the lever for McCain, primarily because of Mitt's blandness. I didn't expect McCain to pull his punches in the general election and thought he'd have a better chance of winning. Of course, I was wrong.

This time around, once again it's all about winning. Policy-wise, there's not much to choose between the three front-runners (Paul not included: he's the outlier and frankly unacceptable, not to mention unelectable). I suspect Mitt is more electable than Newt or Rick Santorum; he'll be more likely to appeal to moderates. But Newt, despite what some people say, actually does have a record of reaching across the aisle, and he might prove capable of winning them over. And there's no question Newt will fire up the base more than Mitt. Then again, this year, do we need our candidate to fire up the base? The other candidate should be doing this for us.

Next Tuesday will be a watershed, that much is certain.

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