From the Special Report All-Star Panel Monday, December 5, 2011
On the suggestion that Newt Gingrich has peaked too early:
If he peaks any later it would be too late. He is peaking exactly at the right time.
I’m not sure that the Cain withdrawal made any difference because Cain’s numbers were already so low, the shift had already happened. If you look at the graph on the Gingrich rise and the Cain collapse, they crossed a few days ago. So I’m not sure the actual withdrawal will make any difference.
I think what is really interesting is what’s happened in New Hampshire…. In New Hampshire, Romney has to win. The question is how big does the margin have to be?
Right now the margin is 16, which is a lot less, almost half of what it was a while ago over Gingrich… this is an open primary where independents can participate. Since on the Democratic side there is no race, you expect independents to vote [in the Republican primary]. The lead that Romney has among Republicans is 12 percent. Among independents it’s 21.
So that is the Romney argument. He can appeal to independents. He will hang his hat on that. And it might carry him through. Except [that] the liabilities he has shown in the last couple of weeks have exposed him in a way he wasn’t exposed in the past [and] are taking him down — not rapidly but inexorably.
On Newt Gingrich defending his decision to attend Donald Trump’s debate by saying that Americans need a sense of humor:
He is right about a sense of humor. A debate in which the moderator chooses a nominee afterwards… is a reality TV show. It’s not a debate.
It is a joke.
On the administration’s handling of the political transition in Egypt:
I don’t think the problem is so much what Obama did in February. The former president [Mubarak] was gone, he was done.The military was ready to get rid of him. And that was inevitable. It’s true Obama tried to pander to the Arab street and learned, like every American president, [that] you can appeal to the Arab street all you want — in the end, it’s not going to help you or your country.
The problem is what Obama is doing now. Two weeks ago or a week-and- a-half ago, he urged the generals to transfer power to the elected representatives. That is disastrous.
The military is the only guarantor of a democratic system in the future, the same way that in Turkey the military for 50 years after the Ataturk revolution in the early ’20s guaranteed a secular, open society. If the military is gone, as Obama had urged — and it’s a good thing the military didn’t listen to him — then what you are going to get is the rule of the Islamists. If you add up the vote, [they have] over 60 percent of the vote. They can essentially… write a constitution that could be extremely repressive….
The problem is the transition has to be over time. We saw the French Revolution, the Russian, and Iranian. The liberals go out in the street and start it, and then it’s the ideologues — organized like the Islamists or communists (in Russia) — who seize power. So you want the military as a stabilizing influence. And we have to hope that it allows the evolutionary process over time….
A democracy is a place where you have a second election. And the question is: Will Egypt have a second election or not? I think the military is likely to ensure a second. I’m not sure Islamists would.