Commentary: Is GOP wary of Newt going rogue?

The (Raleigh) News & ObserverJanuary 28, 2012 

Fellow Republicans are fretful indeed these days, with the race for the presidential nomination having turned into what a few commentators have called a "circular firing squad." The question, after Newt Gingrich's take-no-prisoners, brawling win in the South Carolina primary, is not just, "Who will win?" but "Will the nomination be worth having?" We will tell you now that it will be, as you shall see from our optimistic prognostication.

Former Speaker Gingrich, after all, has pretty much turned his rival Mitt Romney every which way but loose. Let's put it this way. If you're in a gentleman's boxing match, with the thick gloves and the headgear and the Marquess of Queensberry rules in effect, then you might want a smooth gentleman like Mitt bobbing and weaving on your behalf. But if you're on a playground, in an alley, arguing over who's first in line at the Kroger, or stopped at a light after getting cut off in traffic, Newt is your guy.

Because Newt, as we all know now, will in a fight kick, bite, use the knee, do the eye jab, and, if necessary, grab a folding chair out of the stands and slam it over someone's head. And if he's caught in an embarrassing situation, he goes to the sure-fire defense. He blames the media. (We understand young Newt, apprehended by his mother in the backyard with his pockets stuffed with Oreos, turned and accused her of a frame-up and in collusion with the media. He got a spanking anyway.)

And so his scorched-earth tactics have some GOPers worried that, should Romney get the nomination, Gingrich might not join in that big unity show candidates always put on at the party convention. You know, where they all stand together and smile and shake hands. Instead, he might take off a piece of Mitt's ear.

But we say to fellow Republicans, not to worry. Neither Gingrich nor Romney nor former Sen. Rick Santorum (the guy in the vest) nor Ron Paul (the older guy who's mad a lot) will be the Republican nominee come late summer.

Romney, wounded by Gingrich's pounding insults and now trying to deal with having paid a lower tax rate than most in the middle class and having some money invested overseas, is wobbly. He'll rally to continue his barrage of attacks on the president, but Newt has done everything but pants him and take his lunch money, and he'll certainly do that if need be. ("Hey folks! If the man can't hold on to his own lunch money, how's he gonna do against the Communist Chinese! And don't believe the videotape of me stealing it. That's the media!")

Paul and Santorum? Naw. The late Molly Ivins said it best of a number of similar candidates: No Elvis in 'em. Neither of these guys has enough magnetism to pick up a paper clip.

And what of Newt? Well, his second and former wife is apparently quite mad at him, and that is never good. His former mates in the U.S. House, who put him in as speaker, didn't like his heavy hand and his swift boot and the fact that in hindsight, Newt just wasn't a guy who could be in charge and maintain his modesty at the same time. So they're tossing a few nails in the road to slow the fellow down and sent him to the pits.

In other words, Gingrich might be the only candidate with a full-time food taster.

We say to fellow Republicans, if Romney is too moderate, Paul is too anti-government, Santorum is too unknown and Newt is too ... well, much, do not despair.

You have a candidate tested and rested, with a touch of Newt and a willingness to say whatever needs to be said without pesky interruptions about facts. This candidate has experience as a governor and credibility with the tea party crowd that the candidate actually helped to bring to the forefront of politics.

This has been destiny all along. The Republican nominee for 2012 will be Sarah Palin of Alaska. Her running mate will be the foiled presidential contender Michele Bachmann. Their platform will include abolition of Social Security and Medicare, repeal of health-care reform, an end to income taxes on the wealthy, no regulations on firearms of any kind, etc.

We hear burning at the stake may make it to the platform as well, but they don't want to come across as too extreme and lose the support of moderate Democrats.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service