Has Newt Gingrich been neutralized?
Did the Republican Establishment get to him?
Watching the two Florida GOP Presidential primary debates, especially last night's event, it's tempting to believe that some powerful figures may have threatened the candidate in a most vicious and personal way.
Really. The Gingrich that showed up in Jacksonville was not the man that made verbal mincemeat of Mitt Romney in South Carolina. The populist, compassionate-conservative streak that made Gingrich so appealing to independents as well as to angry, fed-up Republicans was inexplicably, glaringly gone. The former House Speaker appeared to be holding back at key moments, seemed to be self-censoring criticism of his rival's business dealings, foreign bank accounts, and carefully controlled, timed release of tax returns. It was as though Gingrich had for some unknown reason decided to blunt his own winning, competitive edge.
His enemies, of which there appear to be no shortage, will no doubt cite his weak performance to support their assertion that he is too "erratic" to be the Republican nominee, let alone President of the United States.
Maybe. But erratic could be code for uncontrollable … and anti-elitist.
Gingrich may also be too intellectually honest for the GOP, as shown by the sympathy he has expressed for some of Ron Paul's ideas, specifically, regarding monetary policy and health care. Although Paul's foreign policy views are anathema to Gingrich--he considers Paul's hands-off position on Iran to be even more dangerous than Obama's record of appeasing and trying to "engage" the Islamist menace--the history professor in Gingrich can't seem to stop himself from agreeing publicly with Paul on those issues on which Gingrich clearly believes the Texas Congressman may be more right than wrong.
Possible political word of the day: newtralize. verb. To silence or counteract a political personality by subjecting the individual to a relentless barrage of threats, personal attacks and criticism.
Memo to Newt: Consider spending less time talking about going to the moon and more time talking about aggressively developing America's awesome, untapped, real energy resources … meaning, oil and gas … the so-called fossil fuels despised by Democrats … in order (a) to make the country energy independent, and (b) to directly and indirectly create millions of well-paying, permanent jobs … with health and medical benefits.
Related: Romney's Hedge Fund Investments