Gladiators have Scars
The republican presidential hopefuls have now descended into the heated arena of verbal combat in Florida, with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and lastly, Ron Paul, trying to out-Newt, Newt. Given the response of the various Neros and Poppeas of the MSM and republican establishment to Newt’s win in South Carolina, I recall the proverbial phrase, “with friends like these, who needs enemies.” Add to that, the hand-wringing and woeful cries of some members of the conservative base as to Newt’s “baggage”, his un-electability, the ultimate sin of destroying the Republican hopes in the House and Senate, and now, not only is he scarred, but tarred.
However, let me point out, that in spite of the full-scale ad assault in Iowa, the lackluster finish in New Hampshire, and the last minute breaking of the ABC News ex-wife interview, Newt is still standing. The recent polls from South Carolina show the vote totals broken down by demographic group, and they point to an underlying current, that I believe is running in people’s minds and hearts, not only in South Carolina, but throughout the US. And that current is also being reflected in the recent Gallup poll that puts Newt and Mitt both tied, and within the margin of error against Obama in a general election. Therefore, I’m not quite sure how the establishment or conservative (depending what side you’re on) un-electable argument holds up for either Newt or Mitt.
Mitt’s in for the long haul. He’s got the cash and organization to take him to the convention and general election. However, Mitt’s core problem is not Bain, Romneycare, nor his flip-flops. Mitt’s problem is that he’s trying to convince us that he’s one of us, when he isn’t one of us. The little slips-of-the-tongue here and there all point to, not necessarily a man out of touch with his fellow Americans, but someone whose life took a different course.
One of his scars emanates from a “brain-washing” remark his father made that ultimately brought down his Presidential hopes. According to article in Politico, this is one reason why Mitt is so cautious and scripted. He has two personas, one for his family, and one for the public. Yet, if the voters would see a little more of the relaxed, family side of Mitt, instead of the intense, driven CEO running for president, then his message might start breaking through.
With Newt, his scars emanate from his own foibles, as we saw one evening in Iowa where we beheld, Newt the Bitter. Not pleasant. But Newt is a communicator, like his revered Reagan. He connects with his audience just because he’s not perfect. He won overwhelmingly in South Carolina not because of some supposed anger or sympathy vote tied to the Marianne Gingrich interview, but because he articulates the scars of life –people who have lost jobs, homes; injured veterans trying to put their lives back together; students saddled with astronomical college debt, and no jobs; seniors worried about what Obamacare will do to their healthcare needs.
We realize that the 2012 Presidential election will be one tough, brutal race, because power, or the loss or power, always raises the stakes to their ultimate level. But gladiators are not only physically, but mentally tough, and it will be the mental shrewdness that triumphs in the end against Obama. Mitt or Newt?