Commentary Magazine


Posts For: January 21, 2012

Will a Long Race Help the Eventual Winner?

One of the pieces of conventional wisdom we’ve been hearing a lot of in the last few weeks is that a long, tough fight will be better for the eventual winner of the Republican presidential contest than one that is quickly decided. Since Newt Gingrich’s win in South Carolina tonight ensures that the nomination can’t be sewn up in short order, that theory is going to be tested in the coming weeks and months.

The proof for this thesis is supposedly the outcome of the 2008 Democratic primary battle in which an extended contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was seen as helping Obama in the long run.

Read More

One of the pieces of conventional wisdom we’ve been hearing a lot of in the last few weeks is that a long, tough fight will be better for the eventual winner of the Republican presidential contest than one that is quickly decided. Since Newt Gingrich’s win in South Carolina tonight ensures that the nomination can’t be sewn up in short order, that theory is going to be tested in the coming weeks and months.

The proof for this thesis is supposedly the outcome of the 2008 Democratic primary battle in which an extended contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was seen as helping Obama in the long run.

Most observers believed Obama was toughened up the process in which he was forced to campaign all across the country. But there is a big difference between what happened to Obama and what Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich will undergo in the days ahead. Without the sympathetic if not adoring coverage that Obama got in the spring of 2008 from the mainstream press, the result of further GOP bloodletting will be two bleeding candidates no matter who turns out to be the winner.

It should be remembered that though Clinton criticized Obama for his shortcomings, most of the press did not choose to make much of the eventual Democratic nominee’s weaknesses. Even those stories that were reported extensively, such as his association with the radical Reverend Jeremiah Wright, were quickly put to rest after an Obama’s speech about race in which he skirted the basic issues.

Though we think of that race as being tough, both Obama and Clinton had to be careful not to be too tough since knocking around an African-American and a woman could be counter-productive.

But neither Republican will have these sorts of advantages. The mainstream media will, as they have in the last few weeks, eat up every negative story about either Romney or Gingrich and blow them out of proportion in a way that never happened to Obama or Clinton. The body blows that the candidates land will be amplified and echoed by Democrats and the liberal press. By the end of the spring, the two may be fully vetted (though it must be said that there is little we don’t already know about two men who have been in the public eye for a long time) but they will be diminished by it not strengthened.

As long as Republicans are tearing each other apart rather than focusing the public on President Obama’s failures, they will not be laying the groundwork for victory in November. Gingrich’s win tonight ensures that this will continue at least for a while. If it continues all spring and into the summer, Obama will have a lot to be happy about no matter whether his ultimate opponent is Romney or Gingrich.

Read Less

Why Romney Failed With Evangelicals

CNN is touting exit polls that said South Carolina voters who cared about a candidate’s religious beliefs overwhelmingly rejected Mitt Romney. They are speculating that this might mean that evangelicals turned down the former Massachusetts governor because of his Mormon faith. Given the polls that have backed up the idea of the prevalence of such prejudice, this isn’t a completely unreasonable conclusion.

However, it must be pointed out that such voters are also most likely to dislike Romney for other reasons. Romney’s reputation as a flip-flopper on social issues is a much bigger problem for him among conservative Christians than Mormonism. We’ve heard much less talk about Romney’s faith this year than we did four years when this appeared to be a major issue, especially in South Carolina.

Read More

CNN is touting exit polls that said South Carolina voters who cared about a candidate’s religious beliefs overwhelmingly rejected Mitt Romney. They are speculating that this might mean that evangelicals turned down the former Massachusetts governor because of his Mormon faith. Given the polls that have backed up the idea of the prevalence of such prejudice, this isn’t a completely unreasonable conclusion.

However, it must be pointed out that such voters are also most likely to dislike Romney for other reasons. Romney’s reputation as a flip-flopper on social issues is a much bigger problem for him among conservative Christians than Mormonism. We’ve heard much less talk about Romney’s faith this year than we did four years when this appeared to be a major issue, especially in South Carolina.

What this defeat points out for Romney is his inability to generate support from conservative grass roots. That’s a much bigger issue than his religion.

Read Less

Late Deciders Look to Have Taxed Romney

A few moments ago the networks declared Newt Gingrich the winner in South Carolina. A week ago, Romney looked to have the nomination sewn up. But even if the Gingrich surge doesn’t last — and I don’t believe it will — this will turn the GOP race into a long, bruising slog.

As it turns out, one bad week may have cost Mitt Romney an easy stroll to the nomination. Reportedly, the exit polls are showing that half of South Carolinians decided whom to support in the last days before today’s primary and half of them chose Newt Gingrich. That means two debates that were judged to be successes for Gingrich and the distracting issue of his tax returns might have transformed the primary from easy Romney win to a surprising Gingrich triumph.

Read More

A few moments ago the networks declared Newt Gingrich the winner in South Carolina. A week ago, Romney looked to have the nomination sewn up. But even if the Gingrich surge doesn’t last — and I don’t believe it will — this will turn the GOP race into a long, bruising slog.

As it turns out, one bad week may have cost Mitt Romney an easy stroll to the nomination. Reportedly, the exit polls are showing that half of South Carolinians decided whom to support in the last days before today’s primary and half of them chose Newt Gingrich. That means two debates that were judged to be successes for Gingrich and the distracting issue of his tax returns might have transformed the primary from easy Romney win to a surprising Gingrich triumph.

Clearly, Romney’s reluctance to release his tax returns did more to damage him that the expensive ad campaign launched by Gingrich supporters that aimed at tarnishing the frontrunner’s business record.

Ironically, the decision by ABC to broadcast an interview with Gingrich’s second wife Marianne may have also turned the tide for the former speaker. Instead of her charges hurting him, the instinctive revulsion of conservatives at what they perceive as liberal media bias rallied them around Gingrich.

Whatever happens in the future, and Gingrich has many obstacles to overcome if he hopes to actually win the nomination, this is a big night for the former speaker.

 

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.