Feature

Don’t count Gingrich out too soon

Gingrich is a master political chameleon, and he “seems to have transmuted himself into exactly what the lost Tea Party Republican is yearning for,” said Ed  Kilgore in The New Republic.

Ed KilgoreThe New Republic

Newt Gingrich has baggage that “rivals Charlie Sheen’s,” said Ed Kilgore, so everyone assumes he’s got no real shot at the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Don’t be so sure. Gingrich is a master political chameleon, and he “seems to have transmuted himself into exactly what the lost Tea Party Republican is yearning for.”

The new Newt is a God-fearing Catholic convert who complains in his latest book that liberal elites are trying to turn America into a secular nation. He frequently describes Barack Obama as a “socialist,” rails against the Islamic threat at home and abroad, and even warns of “the phantom menace of creeping sharia law in the United States.” These are all themes that resonate with the party’s base. Granted, his marital history—two divorces from “chronically ill wives” whom he quickly replaced with younger women—poses a problem.

But Republicans are yearning for a candidate who combines the “fiery, uninhibited” rhetoric of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann with the brainy policy wonkery of Mitch Daniels. That’s Gingrich’s new sweet spot. With no other candidate offering both, he’s got a real shot at the nomination.

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