I wrote earlier that Newt Gingrich's campaign is one of mutually assured destruction for the GOP. No one, I wrote, has to lift a finger to destroy Newt Gingrich. Just stand back, give him room, and he'll do it himself. The thing is, you want to stand way, way back — otherwise Newt's liable to try and take you with him. The problem for the GOP is that they can't put enough daylight between themselves and Newt. And even if they manage to do that, they're still stuck with Mitt.
Another GOP debate as come and gone, and there's a clear consensus on who won and who lost this round. After two fabulously bombastic debate performances, Newt Gingrich was defeated by the one man he can never seem to beat: himself.
Looking for a new drinking game for the remainder of the Republican debates? (According to the schedule, there's at least five more to go.) I've got one that, even with the remaining candidates, is guaranteed to put you under the table well before the end of the debate: Take a shot every time these guys attack each other and get each other right.
Just please give your car keys to someone who's not playing this drinking game. According to the rules, you'll be taking a shot every time the candidates attack each other, because every time they attack each other they get each other exactly right.
The thing is, Romney's attacks on Santorum are spot on. It's not about Santorum's extremism, though there's more than enough material there. The label that may undermine Santorum with Republican primary voters isn't "extremist." It's "Washington Insider."
It if seemed as though Newt Gingrich — veteran of pitched partisan battles, and no-holds-barred ideological cage matches — had been off his game of late, he came roaring back during the GOP debate in South Carolina. After flip-flopping on his attacks on Mitt Romney's record as a vulture capitalist, Newt went a long way towards making both Republicans elites and the conservative base forget that he made them spend a week struggling with a problem for which they not only have no solutions, but they haven't even decided is a problem. He may even have convinced some that he's got what it takes to face off against President Obama in November. He confirmed, yet again, the worst of many Americans' suspicions about conservatives and about the GOP.
And all he had to do was play the proverbial race card. With that, Newt knew he just might have a winning hand.
It looks like the old joke about the weather — "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it'll change" — is also true about Newt Gingrich. If you don't like this Newt Gingrich, wait five minutes and he'll change. When it comes to his attack on Mitt Romney's vulture capitalist past, Newt has changed more often than the weather these last few days.
The Romney campaign's "Bain problem," which is also now the Republican party's problem, doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. Sure, Republicans are figuring out that this is not a winning issue for them. Thus they've circled their wagons around Romney, and even tried to get Newt to turn it down a couple of notches. Even the funder who gave Newt the money to green-light "When Mitt Romney Came To Down" is having second thoughts.
There's one Newt Gingrich flip-flop I left out of my previous post about his latest flip-flop, concerning his on-again-off-again-on-again attack on Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist. It's a big one, and — in typical Newt fashion — he says it really somebody else's fault.