Several years ago, I saw Newt Gingrich speak at CPAC. I was blown away and texted a friend—an expert political observer—"I feel like I just saw the next president." Instantly, my friend texted back, "Lie down until the feeling passes." I continue to get that from most of the really knowledgeable people I talk to, the sentiment generally being, as one put it, "Newt. Can't. Win."
But I don't know. I don't generally make predictions (except to say, of course, that the Broncos will win the Super Bowl because while Aaron Rodgers may be playing for Green Bay, Jesus is playing for Denver), but a Newt victory seems to me completely possible. If Mitt's tepid support isn't enough to stop Newt from making off with the nomination (see Peter's post below), and Newt goes head-to-head against President Me? Hell, I could imagine a 57 state Republican sweep. Not saying it will happen, but it's easy to see how it could.
The objections to Newt range from the petty (He talked to Donald Trump), to the irrelevant (He cheated on his wife. I mean, too bad, but it'll never happen again because Callista would rip his jugular out with her teeth), to the substantial (He's talked a lot of guff about climate change, universal health care, cap and trade, etc.). But in real life, Newt's a smart guy who loves the country, wants to go down in history as a great president and, if elected with a strong Republican congress, would mostly do the right thing. At least he would turn us away from the cliff President Sillyman is driving us toward.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, would lose to Obama. And, dude, at this point, I feel like an eggplant with a face painted on it could beat Obama. But not Romney.