When Rick Perry announced he was going to run for the Presidency, I saw my friend Kelly, and many across the country throw up their hands in dismay. He polled well initially and everyone was horrified by the idea of Perry as president. I told all my friends from other states, “don’t worry, as soon as people get to know him he’ll fade fast.” I suspect (or maybe just hope) that the same thing will happen to Newt Gingrich in time…people just have to get to know him.
One reason I feel confident about this, is that Newt Gingrich may in fact be the worst person in the world. If Herman Cain had to abandon his run because of accusations of infidelity, how does the part where Newt left his cancer-stricken wife for his mistress. Or the hypocrisy of his moral quest to get to the bottom of Clinton’s infidelity. I just can’t see these things playing well in the mainstream. Even if you hate Obama, the fact that Newt is so unlikable has to have some negative impact on voter motivation. Then you have the great “electability” weapon. Once people get to know about his personal life, the ones who still like him will be worried that others won’t.
Of course interestingly he will also have challenges from the ways in which he isn’t awful. He’s already getting smacked from the right about his rather leftist sounding policies. Even if he tries to distance himself from them now, being in favor of controlled markets and climate change legislation isn’t going to play well in the current political landscape. It seems to me that he has all the weaknesses of Romney and then some. It’s really not even clear to me what is causing him to poll that well, other than people not knowing him well.
It may take a while since unlike Perry he can at least stay awake during the debates and put together a couple of sentences, but it seems to me that much like the Texas Governor, once people get to know him he won’t get the same traction.