Newt fights back


Veteran Member

Newt Gingrich won last night’s debate in the first five minutes. Moderator John King opened the discussion by quizzing Newt over an interview his ex-wife, Marianne, has given to ABC. “In it, she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage.” King said, “Would you like to take some time to respond to that?” Gingrich replied, “No, but I will.” The audience erupted with applause and the night belonged to Newt.

To understand the full power of Gingrich’s answer, you really have to watch him give it. The former Speaker has three standard expressions: charmed bemusement (“Why are you asking me that, you fool?”), indignant (“Why are you asking me that, you swine?”) and supreme confidence (“That’s not the question I would have asked, you moron”). Each comes with its own number of chins. For his stunning “No, but I will”, Newt employed the full dozen. He looked straight down them, with half moon goblin eyes. “I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.” By the time his chins unfolded, Gingrich was in total command of the debate.

Oddly, John King accepted that Newt’s former marriage was off limits and so turned on Mitt Romney’s business experience instead. Thursday was a difficult night for The Mittness. First he was attacked over his ethics at Bain, for which he has gained notoriety as a ruthless liquidator of small firms. “I believe in Capitalism,” he said, “I agree with Adam Smith.” His answer was sound – after all, the spectacle of Republicans criticising one of their own for making profits is borderline absurd. But Romney took a terrible thrashing on the next issue: healthcare reform. We’ve been waiting a long time for someone to properly take Mitt apart on this subject – and last night someone finally did. Rick Santorum, fresh from discovering that he actually won Iowa, highlighted all the ways that Romneycare is the philosophical template for Obamacare. He also criticised Gingrich for once supporting an individual mandate for purchasing health insurance. Santorum concluded that both men had been “playing footsie with the Left”. Romney seemed a little surprised by the ferocity of Rick’s attack, although he did pull off the simile of the evening when he said that Obamacare risked running the healthcare industry like the publicly owned US railway. If that’s true, personal experience tells me that operations will run three days late – but you’ll be able to score some pretty good pot in the waiting rooms.

By now, Romney was weakening. He shot back by trying to make Gingrich’s ego an issue. It’s about time that someone did, because Newt has a habit of claiming credit for everything from supply side economics to the Harry Potter novels. Romney seized upon a line that Gingrich always uses about having masterminded Reaganomics. And yet, “You were mentioned once in Ronald Reagan's diary,” said Romney. “He said that you had an idea in a meeting with young congressmen, he didn't think it was a good idea and he dismissed it.” Newt took the insult on the chins.

The tax issue helped even the score. In a brilliant, brilliant move Team Gingrich released their man’s tax returns halfway through the show. They revealed that Gingrich pays 31.7 percent in federal taxes: twice what Romney pays. So what is Mitt’s income and what is its source? “If there's anything in there that is going to help us lose the election, we should know before the nomination,” reasoned Gingrich. “If there's nothing in [your tax return], why not release it?” Well, would he? “Maybe,” said Romney – and the audience booed. This skirmish was followed by a debate on abortion and, again, Santorum and Gingrich ganged up on Romney. Mitt defended himself as a pretty ordinary guy who hails from “the real streets of America”. To check the veracity of that statement, here’s a gallery of all the houses he owns.

The night wasn’t all petty and personal. It ended with a fascinating discussion on how to tackle illegal immigration. Newt Gingrich proposed a big government solution: he wants to secure the border but also to force illegals to go before a “World War II style draft board” to register and have their right to stay assessed on the basis of their contribution to the community. Meanwhile, Ron Paul would simply cut off the incentives to break in to America by scaling down the welfare system. This contrast between Gingrich’s pro-government approach and Paul’s libertarian zeal came up again in a debate over how to create jobs. Paul reminded the audience that in the wake of World War II, President Truman stimulated the economy by cutting spending 60 percent and taxes 30 percent. Ah, said Gingrich, but he also introduced the GI bill, which paid for many ex-servicemen to attend college. For Paul, the state is an obstacle. For Gingrich, if used wisely, it is an enabler. Should this race be reduced to Romney, Gingrich and Paul, we will be blessed with a choice between the three dominant traditions of American conservatism: moderate establishment, big government populist and maverick libertarian.

Will the race come down to these three? According to Public Policy Polling, yes. It puts South Carolina at Gingrich 35 percent and Romney 29 percent, which makes Gingrich the candidate to back to beat Romney. Despite all his marital scandals, Newt’s lead is formidable among evangelicals (40-22 percent) and Tea Partiers (46-21 percent). The New York Times has backed these figures, producing a “weighted poll” that gives Gingrich 35.4 percent to Romney’s 32.7 percent. If Santorum places a distant third, he would be wise to get out the race. Ron Paul will stay on past South Carolina regardless of what happens. Paulites will complain mightily when I say that he can’t win this state, but losing it is actually to his advantage. A Gingrich win levels out the field again and exposes Romney as a loser. That’ll put Paul’s regular 25 percent of the vote back into play.

Thursday’s debate reflected a lot of the character of this incredible primary season. It was outrageous and rude, and largely lacking in substance. Yet it will probably make a big difference because so few people have made up their minds as to how to vote. Moderates can stick with Romney, but conservatives should be leaning towards Gingrich. He might have Marianne, but Newt Gingrich also has momentum.


Has No Life - Lives on TB
FINALLY!!! Someone gave those idiotic MSM talking heads a dressing down. Good! Wish they all could do this. This could get interesting after all. :popcorn1:


Time Traveler
Moderates can stick with Romney, but conservatives should be leaning towards Gingrich.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY??? gingrich leans so far left he nearly is bent double and kissing his own ass.