Gingrich: Romney’s worst nightmare?

Polls place Newt Gingrich several points ahead of Mitt Romney.

“And then there were two,” said Joan Walsh in We’ve been waiting for months for the GOP nomination race “to narrow itself to Mitt Romney and the not-Mitt candidate.” And at last, conservatives seem to have finally settled on Newt Gingrich as their alternative to Romney. After businessman Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry self-destructed, Gingrich won over many Republicans with his strong debate performances, and this week he picked up the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader. In conservative circles, the backing of the Granite State’s leading newspaper confers a new credibility on the former House speaker, whom polls now show actually leading Romney by several points. We’ve seen plenty of front-runners crash and burn in this campaign, said Molly Ball in But Gingrich has what his rivals lacked: He is articulate, has national political experience, and comes pre-vetted. “His baggage, though ample, is already well known.”

Have my fellow Republicans truly lost their minds? asked David Frum in the Toronto National Post. As House speaker, Gingrich “made himself one of the most disliked figures in the recent history of American politics,” after he shut down the government, got caught in an ethics scandal, and carried on an extramarital affair while trying to impeach Bill Clinton. His history of hypocrisy, lack of discipline, and penchant for pompous pronouncements would hand the election to Obama—in a landslide. As a Democrat, said Paul Begala in, I’d love for Newt to be the GOP nominee. At some point, though, the Right will realize he can’t win, and will resign themselves to that ol’ flip-flopper, Mitt. Of course, “I’ve been saying that all year, and I’ve been wrong all year.”

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