NewtLaughing.jpg

Merry Christmas, Newt

I was still in bed this morning when I heard the words come out of David Gregory’s mouth on “Meet the Press” (by the way, I don’t condone waking up to the sound of Gregory’s voice — I’ll be trying to shake that for the rest of the day). Half-asleep, I thought I had surely misheard him. Then he repeated it: Newt Gingrich won the endorsement of New Hampshire’s most influential (and conservative) newspaper, the Manchester Union Leader.

This is a big moment for the former speaker. The Union Leader’s is one of the few endorsements in a presidential cycle that’s worth its weight in gold and it solidifies him as Romney’s main rival heading into primary season.

Two things in the endorsement stick out. The first is the rationale for Newt, which was virtually transcribed from Rob’s description of his family’s views on this week’s episode of the main podcast:

America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year. We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing.

He did so with the Contract with America. He did it in bringing in the first Republican House in 40 years and by forging balanced budgets and even a surplus despite the political challenge of dealing with a Democratic President. A lot of candidates say they’re going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again.

The other revealing excerpt is the thinly-veiled shot at Romney. This is particularly relevant because this is the kind of sentiment that a lot of political wise men thought would be exhausted before the voting started:

Readers of the Union Leader and Sunday News know that we don’t back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job.

We don’t have to agree with them on every issue. We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.

Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running.

Buckle your seat belts, folks. The road to the White House is about to get very bumpy for all involved.

  1. King Banaian
    C

    There’s been a lot of commentary about how the U-L hasn’t chosen many winners for their endorsement.  But in NH, Troy is right, that endorsement matters a lot.  I’m a son of the Granite State — used to deliver the paper as a teen — and the Loeb family that published it for many years had influence in the state you cannot overstate.  The paper helped sink Mitt’s dad in ’68 (calling him “Chihuahua George” over his place of birth.)  The current publisher Joe McQuaid grew up at the feet of the Loebs and is only slightly less brash than Bill.  (See this from 1999.)  If they’re up to form, expect the U-L to beat the tar out of Romney for the next six weeks.

    So it’s a gift to Newt alright, and meant to be so by McQuaid.  It’s up to Newt now to use it to help his campaign.  

  2. Eric Blair

    Troy, I agree that the Union Leader is important for the NH primary.  But I’m not so sure about it being worth its weight in gold.  The Union Leader is an institution that endorsed Pat Buchanan, and twice.  I’m not saying that this is a very important moment for Newt, and does add a sense of legitimacy that this campaign in particular was lacking.  Newt does have a growing strength.  But, even with the Union Leader endorsement, I’m still waiting for more until deciding whether or not this is just Newt’s Herman Cain and Bachmann revolving I’m-not-Mitt Romney moment in the sun. 

  3. Eric Blair

    I see had poor timing with my pointing out that the paper endorsed Pat Buchanan in light of the prior comment which I had not yet seen.  King, you’re right that you cannot expect the paper to get it right all the time, but Pat Buchanan is as close to an unforgivable sin as I can think of.

  4. The King Prawn

    If it’s true that the candidate who stumbles first regains his footing first, then Newt is that guy. He was intriguing to me when this thing first started in the early summer; Newt is regaining my confidence as we go forward.

  5. Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    “Chest Newts roasting on an open fire…”

  6. Nick Stuart

    If it’s Romney, it’s Romney. If it’s Newt, it’s Newt.

    I’m for whoever can best take the fight to the Leftists, and their guy Obama. Hard to picture Romney doing that. Hard to picture Gingrich being an effective president though since he seems to have the attention span of, a newt.

  7. HVTs
    ETD

    Larry Koler

    But, I want to know: does Mitt have sufficient grit for this election?

    My entrepreneurial instincts lead me to believe that any individual with his financial acumen/experience has the grit to succeed at whatever he d**n well pleases, no? My only concern is that “his people” insist on moulding a populist image – big mistake – and are failing to celebrate his impressive personal achievements.

    I don’t care what the OWS or anyone else says; Americans, thankfully, still respect financial success.

    All sorts of personalities succeed and fail in business and politics, and Romney has already succeeded at both … made $million$, former Governor, leading Presidential candidate in two cycles.  So the “whatever he pleases” part he blew past long ago. He is already in an extremely small success circle. It doesn’t mean he’ll beat Obama or even that he’s more likely to than Newt. Yes, Americans like their leaders to be successful and success in financial terms certainly counts as high or higher then anything else. But again, the question isn’t “could he?” it’s “will he?”  I’m leaning toward those who question his prospects against the specific Alinskyite he faces.

  8. HVTs
    R. Craigen:

    The Democrate-media machine isn’t shooting at Romney now because they have absolute confidence they can submerge him totally in a general election, and I believe it.  He’s too safe for his own good, he’s not the political outsider people are looking for.  Obama holds all the high cards if Romney gets the nod …

    That’s certainly my fear too … that Romney is another Republican gift to the below-the-belt hitters from Chicago. The analogy with McCain and Rev Wright made by Larry Koler is bang-on.  Mind you I have plenty of doubts about Newt in similar circumstances … just fewer doubts than with McRomney.  Sigh … another year of voting against, not for, someone.

  9. KC Mulville

    I just saw the Meet the Press segments on Real Clear Politics.

    Typical Meet the Press. One segment was devoted to Newt, and the other was devoted to Obama. Balance? Not exactly.

    • The Newt segment praised him for winning the NH endorsement, quickly followed by references to his weaknesses of character. 

    • The Obama segment claimed that he should be more antagonistic, but it isn’t in his mild temperament. And the always dependable Michael Dyson delivered, claiming that Newt somehow proved racism … or something. I wasn’t sure of how Dyson got there, to be honest. One second Dyson was talking about Newt, and a moment later he was talking about racism, but I can’t recall how I got from point A to point B.

    So long as the focus is on Obama, we win in a walkaway. When they spend all their time off Obama and on someone else, that’s how we just might lose this thing. And that’s why Obama’s money scares me … he can buy the media’s focus.

  10. Beasley
    Stuart Creque: (…)

    Newt has extensive experience in managing legislative efforts, so one could expect him to be much more effective at getting his policies implemented by Congress.  That of course depends on various crucial factors, including whether his experience in Congress nearly 20 years ago translates to the ability to manage the next Congress….

    Is there anything on record that would give voters insight to Newt (or Romney for that matter) get along with Boehner and McConnell?

  11. Eric Blair
    King Banaian

    Eric Blair: King, you’re right that you cannot expect the paper to get it right all the time, but Pat Buchanan is as close to an unforgivable sin as I can think of.

    Remember that those were Nackey Loeb’s endorsements, not Joe McQuaid’s.  I can’t say who he would have endorsed on Bush41/Buchanan, and he did endorse Forbes in 2000.  But there was certainly no love lost between the U-L and Bush41 or Dole, and I always took the endorsements of Buchanan as more a negative view of the other two than a love of Pat.  It may be the same thing here.  Full disclosure: I last called NH my permanent address in 1980. · Nov 27 at 11:34am

    Ahh I see, thank you for the perspective.  In all fairness to Newt, I should add in my post above that Newt is most certainly not Pat Buchanan.

  12. HVTs
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: “Chest Newts roasting on an open fire…” · Nov 27 at 10:02am

    [:-) If Axelrod gets his way, Newt will be roasting ... I'll bet he's opening the spigot from his Opposition Research cesspool right now. The three things Axelrod fears: (1) a mobilized, energized Right (uniting solid Republicans with those utterly mistrustful of the GOP), which potentially Newt can deliver and which could swamp the demoralized Left; (2) his teleprompter addicted Sloganeer-in-Chief, who for the first time in his career must run on his record of non-achievement; and (3) a rapier-witted pit bull flaying Obama's record in a compelling, attention-getting way.

    Let’s face it, Obama has never gone even one round in a slugfest. The Greatest has yet to fight his Smokin’ Joe. The trick, should he get the nod, is to keep Newt not just lean and mean, but scrawny and vicious. Obama has benefited by facing punch-pulling GOP softies.  Newt has got to be willing to go ugly early and stay there until next November. Romney probably can’t/won’t. Many have their doubts about Newt too, myself included. Maybe he’ll prove us wrong.

  13. HVTs
    KC Mulville: I wasn’t sure of how Dyson got there, to be honest. One second Dyson was talking about Newt, and a moment later he was talking about racism, but I can’t recall how I got from point A to point B.

    It doesn’t matter ‘how’ because it’s the only destination they have and all roads lead to it.  When you can’t run on your record you change the subject and set about to delegitimize your opponent(s).  “Squirrel!”

  14. Jimmy Carter
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: “Chest Newts roasting on an open fire…” · Nov 27 at 10:02am

    “By leftists ev’ry one knows….”

  15. Scott R

     Newt’s emerging as the non-Mitt comes as a great relief. Versus either one, Obama will have a very hard time selling himself as the “smart” one. Finally we’ll be able to head into the fall debates expecting to win them, not merely hoping to survive them. A new experience.

    Still, it continues to worry me that those who have worked with Newt most closely are often those least likely to support him. Why? With so much experience, so many connections, so much history, why doesn’t Newt have more big names going to bat for him?

      

  16. HVTs
    Scott Reusser:  Still, it continues to worry me that those who have worked with Newt most closely are often those least likely to support him. Why? With so much experience, so many connections, so much history, why doesn’t Newt have more big names going to bat for him?

    I’m not really following the endorsement tally . . . don’t those with significant name recognition normally hang back until a front runner or two emerges?  Which “names” are you thinking of that ‘should’ be in Newt’s corner by now?

  17. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Scott Reusser:  Newt’s emerging as the non-Mitt comes as a great relief. Versus either one, Obama will have a very hard time selling himself as the “smart” one. Finally we’ll be able to head into the fall debates expecting to win them, not merely hoping to survive them. A new experience.

    Still, it continues to worry me that those who have worked with Newt most closely are often those least likely to support him. Why? With so much experience, so many connections, so much history, why doesn’t Newt have more big names going to bat for him?

       · Nov 27 at 4:05pm

    The problem is Newt is erratic.

    This race will be interesting. Of the two, Newt is the smarter one and the quicker one. Of the two, Romney is the harder-working one and the steadier one. We are nervous about Romney’s public record and about Newt’s private life. Neither is a principled conservative. Both are managerial progressives, Neither is incompetent or uninformed.

    If I were asked to bet, I would bet on Romney. He has the wherewithal to stay the course. If I were asked to choose right now, I could not.

  18. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Paul A. Rahe

    Neither is a principled conservative. Both are managerial progressives, Neither is incompetent or uninformed.

    If I were asked to bet, I would bet on Romney. He has the wherewithal to stay the course. If I were asked to choose right now, I could not.

    Yep. That’s about the size of it.

  19. Publius
    Paul A. Rahe

    The problem is Newt is erratic.

    This race will be interesting. Of the two, Newt is the smarter one and the quicker one. Of the two, Romney is the harder-working one and the steadier one. We are nervous about Romney’s public record and about Newt’s private life. Neither is a principled conservative. Both are managerial progressives, Neither is incompetent or uninformed.

    If I were asked to bet, I would bet on Romney. He has the wherewithal to stay the course. If I were asked to choose right now, I could not.

    Newt doesn’t have any executive experience or an executive temperament. Given his failure as Speaker (he was whacked by his own people in the end), it’s questionable that he was much of a legislative leader. He’s wildly intelligent, but with an emphasis on the wild.  He strikes me as having more of an academic temperament where having a thousand ideas idea (some great, some awful) a day is more conducive to success.

    My money is on Romney, but I’d vote for either one in general election without hesitation.

  20. Frozen Chosen

    So the Union Leader endorses Newt Gingrich because supposedly he is the true conservative in this race, huh?   Would this be the same paper that endorsed that rock solid conservative John Mccain(!) in the last cycle?

    It’s obvious these guys have some sort of personal beef with Romney and will probably endorse Obama over Mitt in the general election.  Small-minded dinosaurs from a tiny little newspaper in nowheresville.

    Meanwhile, Mitt gets meaningful endorsements from real conservatives like Kelly Ayotte, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Ann Coulter and Chris Christie.

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