Newt Gingrich absolutely trounced Mitt Romney in the South Carolina GOP presidential primary, and he's well-positioned to win Florida, too. His most significant breakthrough was that he won big among Palmetto State Republicans whose top priority is to beat President Obama. But if that's their goal, "Newt's surge doesn't make much political sense," says Kyle Leighton at Talking Points Memo. Polls consistently show Romney and even Ron Paul doing much better than Gingrich against Obama. Is a vote for Newt essentially a vote for Obama?
Nominating Gingrich would mean a second Obama term: Amid all the excitement over Newt's shocking rebound, "it's easy to lose sight of the fact that America has known Gingrich for three decades — and really doesn't like him," says Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. Polls show that more than half of voters view Gingrich unfavorably, versus fewer than 30 percent who like him. It's hard to turn that sort of unpopularity around. If the GOP really wants this fight, "Obama would annihilate Gingrich in November."
"Newt Gingrich's challenge: Changing Americans' view of him"
Newt could win this: The "smart money" says Gingrich can't beat Obama, says Michael Walsh in National Review. "The dumb money, however, says... maybe." A Gingrich-Obama matchup would be like a prize fight "between a puncher and a boxer," and if iron-fisted Newt ever lands his blows on the nimble Obama, "it's lights out." Gingrich knows where to hit, too: The Obama-protecting media. If he can "take them out," Newt wins pretty easily.
"Why Newt could win"
Republicans are so screwed: A vote for Gingrich "is a vote for an entertaining election, not a Republican in the White House," says Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal. But honestly, none of the "losers" in the GOP field has a shot. "Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing," but not for these clowns. Gingrich is winning only because "voters instinctively prefer the idea of an entertaining Newt-Obama contest" to a "dreary Mitt-Obama one."
"The GOP deserves to lose"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Tony Blair: The Cassandra of the Middle East
- Why America should team up with Bashar al-Assad's regime
Subscribe to the Week