We can safely say the GOP nomination process has come down to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
I wrote a blog on this a couple of days ago, but somehow it got deleted (wordpress has been doing strange things) so I’m going to give a quick summary. Too bad, it was amazing… full of wit, humor and insight. You’ll just have to trust me.
Basically, here’s where we stand:
We’ve got Newt — the DC insider with a vision for the future, an impressive command of history and long-standing conservative credentials, despite his occasional wandering. If he doesn’t become our president, it will be due to lack of integrity in his personal life, and the fact that his third wife is a bit creepy looking.
Then there’s Mitt — the Wall St. insider who reminds you of A) a rich boy CEO who hasn’t worked a real day in his life, or B) a clean-cut businessman and ol’ fashioned dad from the 1950’s, before America fell apart. If he doesn’t become president, it will be because he seems to have no core principles, saying whatever he must to get into office.
I’m really at a loss for guessing who will, or should, get the nomination. Gingrich will undoubtedly deliver a killer performance in debates against Obama, and his real advantage over Romney is his ability to articulate social and fiscal conservative philosophy better than just about any other Republican in national politics. And you actually believe he means it.
Yet, when you get down to policy, there’s little difference in the two candidates, and Mitt has a couple of serious advantages. First, his personal life is clean as a whistle. He has a strong family and a wife who has a comfortable stage presence. And he’s got a career’s worth of experience building successful companies in the private sector. He’s got better business savvy than just about any other Republican in national politics—at at a time when the economy is our top concern.
My gut feeling is that when the dust settles and the Gingrich surge has reached equilibrium, the anti-Romney feeling will begin to subside. He’s been the only constant in a wild race. He has been a consistently strong debater, presidential in knowledge and demeanor. His stable family life will earn new respect after hashing through the adulterous histories of Cain and Gingrich. And for all the populist rhetoric out there, people still admire a man who has done so well in so many areas of his life. For goodness sake, the man speaks fluent French from his days as a foreign missionary!
Strangely, though he’s known as a flip-flopper, Romney seems like the most stable guy in the field.
Gingrich can certainly keep his lead, however. If he maintains a cool, humble tone through the next 11 months, the Oval Office is his. But based on his record, that doesn’t seem likely.