Outgunned, outnumbered and outspent 5 to 1 ($15 million to $3 million), Newt Gingrich lost a hotly contested Florida primary. Considering the avalanche of negative attacks against him (60 to 1), it’s a wonder Romney didn’t win by the same margin of victory in which he outspent Newt. It also shows that Floridians aren’t completely convinced that Mitt’s the man for the job. All things considered, a 14 point win could be construed as a moral victory for Newt Gingrich. But a moral victory holds little solace in war and politics.
Clearly the most intelligent, articulate and entertaining candidate, Gingrich is also the least disciplined. He’s the “High Roller” of presidential politics. He comes to the table with three things in mind: a winning strategy, bankroll management and discipline. But when the chips are down—in the heat of the action—his balls often trump his brains. Caught in a quandary between victory and defeat, in a momentary lapse of prudence and at 35 to 1 odds, he stacks all his chips on snake eyes only to see the dice come to a rest on 5 and 2—Seven out!
In light of the fact that Newt had the momentum coming off a huge victory in South Carolina, Romney did the only thing that an intellectually inferior but financially superior candidate could do—he took a page out of Governor Rick Scott’s playbook and bought the State of Florida with a barrage of negative attack ads. And pound Newt Gingrich he did . . . over and over again.
Knowing that Newt’s only defense would be a stellar performance in the last debate, Romney cleverly set a trap—a trap that would take advantage of Newt’s achilles heel . . . revenge! Like a boxer who took a beating in the previous round, Romney knew that Gingrich would want to prove that he could take a licking and keep on ticking. A battle of balls versus brains. Only the fight was between Newt and Newt—the end of which would have a national audience watch his balls deliver his brains on a silver platter garnished with ego and pride.
Where did Newt go wrong? He belied his “positive” platform and bit the bait. Only instead of the red meat John King gave him in a previous CNN showdown that he devoured in “Great Newt” fashion, Romney’s meat was booby trapped and Gingrich fell for it . . . hook, line and sinker.
What should have been a brilliant display of acute knowledge of the big problems plaguing our country and a smorgasbord of big solutions from Newt Gingrich instead became a colossal collapse of intellectual integrity and a pompous display of ego and arrogance. In a personal tit-for-tat feud to the finish, Romney won Florida by unanimous decision.
Newt’s greatest assets are his superior intelligence, his keen insight and both his Washington and private sector experience. His acute knowledge of the issues coupled with his conservative credentials and aggressive economic plan should have him squarely in the driver’s seat. Instead, he finds himself in the unenviable position of underdog in what’s shaping up to be a two horse race to the finish line in Tampa, Florida.
Can Newt pull off the upset and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? Yes. But he needs to play his cards right. His bankroll took a big hit in Florida but a chip and a chair is all you need to stay in the game. That, and a tight/aggressive strategy moving forward.
Given the fact that Virginia and Missouri are out of play, the odds against Gingrich securing the nomination are even greater. This election boils down to one thing: “It’s the economy stupid!” Like I told Newt Gingrich during his rally in Pensacola, he not only needs to draw a sharper contrast between his superior economic plan and Mitt’s, but he needs to hammer that home in the next debate.
Newt was right to point out that government doesn’t create jobs but writes the rules and establishes the environment in which those jobs can be created. He missed a prime opportunity to drive home the fact that as Commander-in-Chief, it would be his superior economic policy that would revive capitalism and give rise to the next generation of Mitt Romney’s. He just needed to bring it full circle and draw the stark contrast between his radical tax reform and Romney’s plan—Obamanomics with lipstick.
When push comes to shove, Americans are far more concerned with dollars than defense, jobs than jihad and saving our own asses instead of everyone else’s. If Newt can make that the crux of his campaign and exploit Romney’s unconservative, liberal and dismal track record of job creation in Massachusetts, he’ll be the Rocky Balboa of the GOP field . . . “Yo Calissta, I did it!”
Until next time . . . Wake Up America!
Kevin A. Lehmann
P.S. View a three minute video clip of my interview with Fox News at the Newt 2012 Rally in Pensacola, Florida.
Take a moment to share your thoughts about this article in the comment box below.
If you are a facebook friend and like my articles, blog posts and op-eds, due to time constraints and a rapidly growing list of readers, please subscribe to CatchKevin.com and share my blog and radio show with friends and family who value real, raw and relevant talk radio. Thank you.