Last week I wrote that Newt Gringrich was different than the prior GOP surge-and-burn crowd (Bachmann, Cain and Perry) because he has long experience in the national spotlight and would not make the high-profile stumbles that brought down his largely untested opponents. As I expected, Newt indeed hasn’t wilted under the kleig lights. But as I didn’t expect, he’s crashing in the Iowa polls anyway.
Steve Benen also finds Newt’s fate intriguing:
What I find interesting about Gingrich’s precipitous fall is how different it is from the other former frontrunners. Bachmann, Perry, and Cain were each riding high for a short while, but were brought down by self-inflicted wounds — gaffes, awful debate performances, controversial policy positions, and in Cain’s case, sex scandals. Gingrich’s collapse is very different. The former Speaker didn’t do anything in particular to derail his chances…
Maybe nothing in particular about each individual frontrunner is causing this remarkably fast cycle of GOP rise-and-fall candidacies. Whenever any of them gets sustained media attention about who they are and what they believe, a large portion of the electorate learns that they don’t like this latest frontrunner too much either. It’s another indication that we are looking at the weakest field of candidates the GOP has fielded in a generation or more, and the voters in Iowa know it.