Posted by Peter Lawler
With Thompson and Gingrich both in the race, Rudy’s lead over McCain almost disappears. And the Democratic race is polarizing on class- and ideology-based lines with Obama closing in on Hillary.
I'm beginning to wonder if Gingrich intends to get in.
He might just be trying to steer the debate, define the topics for discussion. He doesn't seem serious about fundraising, though he is trying to build a grassroots movement.
If the surge works, McCain's numbers will begin to percolate upwards.
Giuliani intends to carry the Empire State, he intends to carry New Jersey. Which explains his refusal to curry favour with the base by uttering the right mantras on abortion.
If McCain goes out there and starts hitting hard on those themes he mentioned at VMI, he's going to be a difficult out. And there's no doubt about that.
I would not want to have to beat BOTH McCain AND Giuliani for the nomination.
I think the candidate that is getting by on fumes so far is Fred Thompson. His homespun act isn't going to last .....
And I think Gingrich hurt himself big time by his performances at Cooper Union and recently against Kerry. Gingrich is out there blasting fantasy based foreign policies. And yet his quest to establish some "dialogue" about the nation's problems is as fantastical as anything. It's almost as if he were channelling GW, complete with "new tone." Gingrich actually waxes rhapsodic about "discussion," "dialogue," "conversation," so much so that he's tried to tie the candidates to a series of lengthy "discussions," nine of them, to be exact.
And yet in his last two offerings with Cuomo and Kerry, his Democrat interlocutor blasted away at the GOP, while Gingrich stood there grinning. It reminded me of Kemp against Gore. Gore insulted the GOP but exempted Kemp from the criticism, and Kemp thanked him for it. And to add insult to injury, Kemp thanked him with a dopey look on his face to boot. Gingrich made a few points, but mostly, he allowed the other guy to get away with rhetorical bloody murder. Kerry was actually laughing at him. And I don't think Gingrich is aware of how much he's been hit, how much damage he inflicted on himself. And for what? For what?
He asked all of his supporters to tune in, and then he goes out there and acts like a stooge, like a new tone stooge. It was shades of GW. And Limbaugh was livid with him, and let him have it on his radio show in the days that followed. Does it need to be mentioned that Limbaugh goes over well with the base, so when Limbaugh is ripping you, you've got political problems.
Gingrich's followers are rightly quizzical, and are asking themselves: "What gives?" If Gingrich continues on his own new tone course, ................... hell, ...................... he might as well not even bother.
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