This past week, Juan Williams, John King, and Brian Ross gave Newt Gingrich a great opportunity. Voting for him was a way to tell the media to go to hell — a message that many Republicans find hard to resist. But now that he’s won a primary and has an outside chance of gaining the nomination, it will become a different kind of vote. There will be renewed attention to some basic questions: What kind of nominee would he be? What kind of president would he be?
Expect renewed attention to troublesome aspects of his public record: his past support for a value-added tax, his overdrafts at the House Bank and his other ethics problems, his denunciation of deficit hawks as “the perfectionist caucus,” his past skepticism about the Founders, and many others.
More broadly, we will also hear more about what Rick Santorum called his “grandiosity” and his tendency to move before he thinks. The most effective criticisms will rely mostly on his words, of which there is no shortage.
If it’s Gingrich v. the media, he wins. If it’s Gingrich v. Gingrich, he loses.