Lately I have been thinking a lot about which candidate would be better for President Obama to have to face next year. It’s a very important question with the first primary voting starting in a couple of weeks. Some believe President Obama would do better against Mitt Romney, while others believe Newt’s the man to take on Obama. I happen to think that Newt Gingrich is the bigger threat to Obama than Romney and want to lay out the reasons for that.
Both candidates come with a lot of baggage. Many on the left points to Newt’s baggage as a big reason he would not fair as well against Obama as Romney, but there is one big thing that plays into this.
Newt’s baggage is well known. It’s baggage we have seen him carry since he left the House as Speaker. Republicans know this and have accepted it. Look at his rise in the polls for actual proof of this.
Newt also is very skilled at talking his way out of these problems. We have seen this happening lately and it seems to be working.
Likewise Romney has some baggage too. His support of a mandate while he was governor and his constant flip-flopping on issues are the biggest ones. These actually hurt Romney amongst the base of the Republican Party. Romney is still viewed as a governor of a very blue state and for him to become governor there he had to share some of that state’s liberal views. That is a big thing with core Republican voters, but one that could help him with Independents. Overall though I think the baggage issue will have to give Newt the advantage.
Newt’s Marriage Problem And Romney’s Religion
This is something the left feels is an Achilles heel for Newt. Sadly they are wrong. We live in a time that being married twice or even three times is accepted, even amongst the religious base. Newt has also taken the most important step for these people to accept him – he has found God.
Think back to Ted Haggard. Here you had a family values “man of God” who was caught up in a gay sex scandal. Gay sex to these people is much more a sin than having a couple of failed marriages, yet he has also been forgiven because he let “God rid him of the demons” .
The embracing of God and using him as an excuse to justify your previous indiscretions is a very acceptable practice with the religious base. What isn’t is belonging to a religion that is viewed as a “cult” by many devout Christians. And that brings us to Romney’s problem.
Polls have shown that Republicans would easily vote for a thrice married man over a Mormon. Mormonism has a very bad view with the Christians. From it’s high secrecy to belief in polygamy make Mormonism a highly contentious issue. And speaking of polygamy, Newt’s thrice marriage problem doesn’t seem that big when you are talking about a man who’s faith says you can have as many wives as you want.
On this issue I also have to give Newt the advantage.
Remembering the 90’s
One thing that the right and left can agree on is that things were much better in the 90’s. Newt Gingrich is a man highly associated with those times. At the last debate we also saw Newt starting to remind people of the 90’s and taking credit for the times. He said things like “I helped get us to a 4.5% unemployment rate” and “I helped craft a balanced budget”. These are big issues today and with Newt trying to take more credit than he deserves, he can easily peel off a lot of independent voters using the same rhetoric.
Then there’s something else Newt said at the last debate; “I have a track record of getting both sides to work together”. With a congressional approval rating of 9% and people viewing Congress as broken, Newt can use what happened in the 90’s to remind voters of a time when Congress actually was able to work together.
While the left focuses on the Newt that brought us the impeachment of Bill Clinton, a scathing ethics report and leaving his dying wife on national television to be with a new woman, many on the right and even Independents will focus purely on what the 90’s were like and that gives Newt a big advantage here.
Base Republicans -V- Establishment Republicans
Ever wonder why Tea Party darlings like Nikki Haley and Christine O’Donnell have broken with the Tea Party to support Romney? It’s because they are members of a Party who’s leadership wants Romney to be the nominee. They know to continue their political lives they need these people to support them since they don’t have much else and that support only comes from embracing the establishment choice.
But a problem exists there and one that gives Newt a big advantage over Romney. Anti-party furor is at an all time high and it’s even bigger in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. The base has been backing Newt over Romney for almost a month now and one of the reasons is that the GOP establishment is against Newt.
When it comes to elections the base is who decides, not the establishment and with Romney as the candidate you will see the base turned off. Many will be willing to sit out in November or vote for a third party candidate if they got the choice of Obama or Romney.
Now I know many think that doing that very thing would be the same as a vote for Obama, something base Republicans would never do, but consider this. A lot of the GOP views Romney as another version of Obama. If Obama were to win in November then the GOP only has to stomach him for another 4 years and can use that time to point to the “destructive liberal agenda of the White House”, but if Romney were to beat Obama then the GOP might end up being stuck with him for the next 8 years. That’s something a lot of base voters don’t want to think about, so this gives Newt another advantage.
The Trump Factor
This is the biggie. Trump doesn’t like Romney, but he loves him some Newt. Trump has also not ruled out a third party run, instead saying he is holding all options open and most likely won’t decide until the end of May, when the Apprentice ends and ironically enough most of the primaries.
If Newt is the clear front runner come May I can easily see Trump deciding not to run. But if we see Romney as the front runner, I wouldn’t be shocked one bit to see Trump get in. A Don in the race will produce a Nader effect for the right. A lot of the disenfranchised base I talked about previously will now have third party candidate to vote for. That makes Romney even weaker against President Obama.
The Independent Vote
This is one I actually have to give Romney the advantage on. I can see more independents voting for Romney than Gingrich. On the flip side of that I can see a Gingrich versus Obama race as turning off a lot of Independents and they might end up sitting out this election. That would end up hurting both parties, but could really hurt the Democrats in a fight to retake the House, especially with the anti-incumbent mood sweeping this nation.
There’s a lot of reasons why Newt is the stronger candidate against Obama and not many at all for Romney. I really think the left needs to consider this and not take a Newt Gingrich nomination for granted. He won’t be as easy for Obama to beat as many think.