Newt Wins SC: So Much for Inevitability

I just got through watching Fox News’ coverage of the South Carolina Primary.  While it was better than the other cable news channels (of course), there was an edge to it.  You could really tell that Brit Hume and others were not happy with Newt Gingrich’s overwhelming victory.

Well, that’s just too bad.

The Washington Post covered the story:

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has surged to a stunning win over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in South Carolina’s first-in-the-South presidential primary, a come-from-behind victory that signals the GOP White House race – which as recently as a week ago seemed to be Romney’s to lose — is now far from over.

Gingrich’s strong showing is a major upset over Romney, the GOP frontrunner who had been looking to a solid win in South Carolina as a key step toward sealing the nomination. It’s a win that appears to be fueled in large part by what voters perceived as the former speaker’s strong performance in recent debates, according to Saturday’s exit polls – even as Gingrich faced a tumultuous recent few days in the race.

Since 1980, the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to win the GOP presidential nomination. That means Gingrich’s primary win is a significant one — and the conventional wisdom that Romney is his party’s inevitable nominee could well be shattered.

The final tally:

Newt Gingrich    41%    229,639    (17 Delegates)

Mitt Romney      27%    152,777

Rick Santorum   17%      97,282

Ron Paul               13%      75,274

Rick Perry              1%         2,336

“It’s not that I am a good debater,” Newt Gingrich said, speaking in South Carolina. “It’s that I articulate the deepest felt values of the American people. You know, Rick Santorum showed enormous courage in Iowa, when he had no money, nobody covered him, and he just kept campaigning,” said Gingrich — which led to the audience chanting “V.P.!” He continued: “I rest my case — I mean, he has made an impact, right. I mean, here’s a guy who articulates the values of social conservatism, who articulates the importance of manufacturing, and who may have been as right about the dangers of iran as anybody in this country in the last ten years.

“And then as a further example of how wide open our system is, you have Dr. Ron Paul — who on the issue of money and the Federal Reserve has been right for 25 years. And while I disagree with him on many other things, there’s no doubt that a lot of his critique of fiat money, and of the Federal Reserve, is in fact absolutely the right direction and something I can support strongly.

“And finally, Governor Romney, with whom I disagree on many issues, is nonetheless a good example of America. He is hard working, he has been very successful, he has organized large systems, he did a terrific job at the Winter Olympics.”

“And the fact is, if you look at the four of us, we are proof that you can come from a wide range of backgrounds, and in America you have a chance to try to make your case — no matter what the elites think in New York and Washington.”

Newt continued his campaign theme of paychecks versus food stamps, saying “Obama has been the most effective food stamp president in American history.”  He then said that he wants to be the most effective pay check president.

Newt also stated that America needs an “American energy project” so effective “that no President ever has to bow a Saudi king ever again.”

He also added this gem:

Barack Obama is so weak, he makes Jimmy Carter look strong.

The fallout from Newt’s victory has been very interesting.  Romney supporters were all over the internet last night, berating Conservative Christians for being hypocrites in voting for a serial adulterer.  An anonymous poster quipped that

Yankee RINOs have been all over Southerners for allowing Social Issues to influence our votes.  We didn’t this time and now they’re mad.

Actually, Conservative Christians who voted for Newt did so because he’s

  1. Not Romney
  2. The most Conservative candidate left who has a chance of beating Obama.
  3. Not Romney

So why is Romney’s campaign in freefall?

One reason is his performance in the second SC debate where he seemed to have a real issue with releasing his income tax returns, to the point of causing conservative talk show host Michael Reagan to nickname him “Muttering Mitt”.

However, I believe that the main reason that he was defeated last night is something Rush Limbaugh said on 10/12/11:

Romney is not a conservative. He’s not, folks. You can argue with me all day long on that, but he isn’t. What he has going for him is that he’s not Obama and that he is doing incredibly well in the debates because he’s done it a long time. He’s very seasoned. He never makes a mistake, and he’s going to keep winning these things if he never makes a mistake. It’s that simple. But I’m not personally ready to settle on anybody yet — and I know that neither are most of you, and I also know that most of you do not want this over now, before we’ve even had a single primary! All we’ve had are straw votes. You know that the Republican establishment’s trying to nail this down and end it. You know that that’s happening, and I know that you don’t want that to happen, and neither do I.

Now, as for Romney — and you should know, by the way, that I’ve met Romney. I’ve not played golf with him but I’ve met him, and I like all of these people. This isn’t personal, not with what country faces and so forth. I like him very much. I’ve spent some social time with him. He’s a fine guy. He’s very nice gentleman. He is a gentleman. But he’s not a conservative.

South Carolina Conservatives stood up en masse yesterday and said with their votes

No way,  GOP Elite.  Not again.

Now, the only question remaining is: How many of the other Republican primary states will join them?

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One Response to Newt Wins SC: So Much for Inevitability

  1. josephine says:

    Well, we will see if the momentum continues. You are right and so is Rush. Romney is a gentleman; but he is not a conservative. He has no issues to go after, he has nothing as far as I am concerned, except his gentle manner. That is not going to do this time around.
    Santorum is beginning to get on my nerves. Most of what he’s saying is a twisted pack of lies.
    #withnewt