Newt Won’t Wilt, Reprise

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.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

3 thoughts on “Newt Won’t Wilt, Reprise”

  1. What’s the matter Newt? Didn’t they teach you nothin’ about the workings of capitalism over there in that commie training camp in Moscow, Russia? Companies fail. You lay people off. Bain Capital is how things are supposed to work.

  2. I disagree. Newt showed the zany moves that his opponents and — mostly — beltway (read: elite) critics predicted.

  3. I still stand by my earlier prognostications (you read it here first) that Gingrich cannot win and knows it, and is simply vying for a party leadership position. Newt loves these last stand things. It will be Obama vs Romney. Romney, being the businessman, is the perfect Republican candidate to run in a recession. He is also a company man, so will be the perfect guy to fall on his sword if unemployment drops below 7.5% and Obama is reelected. The true blues will say he “wasn’t conservative enough” and blame the loss on the lack of a true conservative. Because hard core conservatives are, in their mind, a majority.

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