With that line, the reader must finally understand that George Will is no mere opponent of Newt Gingrich, but rather a columnist-with-a-mission, and that mission is the deflation of the Newt bubble. If the Newt campaign was a hot air balloon, Will’s columns have been highly accurate cannonry trained on and firing at will for the past few weeks. Had Will fired alone, Newt might have hung on in Iowa and surged a bit in New Hampshire. But Will had many allies in the effort to turn back Newt, and most of them weren’t running for president. So the former Speaker is retreating to South Carolina and hoping for something like a personal Battle of the Cowpens to happen there. Energy and money don’t follow candidates on the decline, however. You don’t have to win, but you do have to rise. Newt is falling, fast.
As is Ron Paul, whose outburst at Michele Bachmann opened the eyes of some his faithful, and his grouchy exit from a CNN sit-down did the same for more. Racist newsletters, old or new, are fair game in a campaign for someone who really wants to win the Iowa caucuses. Iowa voters somewhat attached to Paul have to wonder if the free ride he has gotten is because of the unpleasantness that would attach to serious scrutiny of the Congressman’s long history on the fringes of the GOP.
Romney is executing his plan and getting his summer-fall responses in order, while keeping an eye on the field to see who surges in the next ten days, camouflaged perhaps by caroling and sugar cookie-induced dozing. I had both Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann on yesterday’s program, Jon Huntsman on Tuesday’s show, and hope to have Rick Perry and Newt on today’s broadcast, but it seems like all the energy is with Rick Santorum, and those voters not yet decided in Iowa will land on his square or Romney’s. A Romney-Santorum showdown in the Granite State would be an interesting collision of conservative and center-right, of long-time conservative D.C. smarts v. the private sector.
Few if any in the Manhattan-Beltway media elite think much of Santorum. One reason to cheer a strong showing by him in Iowa would be the pleasure of adding yet another line to their long indictment of cluelessness on all things conservative.