The Corner

Gingrich Holds Steady; Second Tier Shines

Normal

0

false

false

false

EN-US

X-NONE

X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */

table.MsoNormalTable

{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;

mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;

mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;

mso-style-noshow:yes;

mso-style-priority:99;

mso-style-qformat:yes;

mso-style-parent:””;

mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

mso-para-margin-top:0in;

mso-para-margin-right:0in;

mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;

mso-para-margin-left:0in;

line-height:115%;

mso-pagination:widow-orphan;

font-size:11.0pt;

font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;

mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;

mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;

mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;

mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;

mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;

mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

As was predictable, Newt took a lot of fire and handled it well. I thought he got angry at Michele Bachmann during the “Newt Romney” exchange and testy responding to Romney’s first barrage of attacks, but not enough either time to have a “moment.” If a moderator in any of the debates has deserved to be challenged it was Diane Sawyer tonight, but Newt didn’t do it. I wonder if he thinks he’s already played the irritable-with-moderators card for all its worth and it’s time to be a little above it all now that he’s leading in the polls. The set-up where all the candidates were asked about the importance of marital fidelity, with Newt saved for last, was very uncomfortable, but Newt answered as best he could given the circumstances. He had a powerful rejoinder to Romney’s criticism of his “bomb-throwing” on the invented Palestinian people: The smart set thought Reagan was incendiary, too, when he called for tearing down the Berlin Wall–telling the truth is important. He wiggled off the hook on the individual mandate and Freddie Mac. Overall, people who have liked Gingrich in these debates–and there are a lot of them–saw more of what they have liked.

Romney had the clip sure to be endlessly replayed and discussed when he challenged Perry to a $10,000 bet about his book. Who knew the Mormon guy would have gambling gaffe? The flap is silly, since Romney clearly just wanted to communicate assurance that he was right. But it will be played as Romney being very rich and very out of touch with working people. During the rest of the night, you could almost hear Romney regretting that he finally has an opponent in Gingrich who both knows what he’s talking about and has serious political experience. From the first question, Gingrich and Romney showed their different styles. Gingrich gave a pungent, thematic answer on the economy, Romney gave his bloodless enumerated points. I doubt Romney is going to get much traction criticizing Gingrich for saying kids should work. I hope for his sake that private sector experience polls very well, because otherwise it’s a weak argument. He initially blew his criticism of Gingrich on the Palestinians, making it sound like no American politician should ever say things not sanctioned by the Israeli prime minister. He was generally fine, but Gingrich is drawing from a deeper well of knowledge and knows better what makes conservatives tick.

The others were strong. Bachmann was particularly forceful. Her repeated plugging for former Cain supporters and invocation of her “win-win-win” plan was annoying, but she scored some points by taking on the two top guys. Perry had his best debate yet (and was wise not to have taken the bet, since he would have lost by most accounts). Santorum gave terrific answers on manufacturing, the economic importance of marriage and his political success (until 2006) in the tough terrain of Pennsylvania. Ron Paul brought practically every answer back to his view on foreign policy, the Fed, or the Constitution–even the marital fidelity question.

If Romney is going to have any hope of stopping Newt in Iowa he needs either Newt to deflate or other candidates besides Paul to regain traction. It seems unlikely the first is going to happen as a result of the debates. Newt’s peril will be negative advertising against him, a hostile press with a lot to work with, and his own propensity to do himself harm. As for the other candidates, tonight suggests that they aren’t going to collapse, which would be a disaster for Romney and a boon to Newt.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

Elections

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
National Review

Farewell

Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More
Elections

Democrats Think They Can Win without You

A  few days ago, Ericka Anderson, an old friend of National Review, popped up in the pages of the New York Times lamenting that “the Democratic presidential field neglects abundant pools of potential Democrat converts, leaving persuadable audiences — like independents and Trump-averse, anti-abortion ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More