The desire to watch Gingrich fight Obama highlights the former speaker’s strengths. For more than 30 years, Newt Gingrich has excelled in using political rhetoric that strikes a populist chord. Like no one else, he can light a fire in a Republican’s belly with attacks on the bureaucrats and liberals out to get the little guy. He has a sarcastic sense of humor that appeals to the voter who believes everything is out of whack. He understands that discussions of jobs and the economy are really discussions of culture and morality: Do you want to live in a vibrant, independent, dynamic, technologically innovative, strong America, he asks audiences, or do you want to live in a stodgy, passive, dependent, enervated, listless, weak welfare state? This attitude and language is ready-made for consumption by the Republican base.
Part of the interest in Newt is that he is, in the vernacular, the flavor of the week. Real Clear Politics shows Newt polling, on average, at the head of the GOP pack. It’s Newt’s turn as the not-Romney, it would seem.
Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and now Herman Cain: sunk or sinking, all former flavors of the week. Other than the alleged inevitability of Mitt Romney, who do their supporters turn to? Eyes on Newt, it seems.
Right now, it’s Newt or Mitt. But: at this point in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was ahead…