While Newt is wise to issue a half-serious edict for all of his staff to keep things civil, other candidates stuck in the wings of this rapidly-narrowing field are beginning to feel like Vice President Cheney’s hunting partners. Anyone’s votes are up for grabs, but perhaps the GOP candidates should consider consolidating their message backstage, then go at each other’s throats.
Ron Paul, considered to be the next flavor-of-the-month for the GOP candidate pageant, fires a fastball directly at Michele Bachmann, and doesn’t flinch. A few Sunday talk shows later, it could be the first in a long line of attacks to weed the field and secure votes before, during, and after Iowa and New Hampshire.
If you’re just tuning in, Ron Paul is in 2nd place in Iowa, and consistently a solid 2nd. He even holds a decent position in New Hampshire (Huntsman finally edged him out in one poll this week to the Top 3). Yes, in the latest round of polling as well, Newt’s star is lightly dimming (the media, ironically, has become a fan, and that’s not a good thing), and Romney’s consistent support has remained the same. But Ron Paul? Even more consistent since August 2011. It’s a steady position, actual belief in values (no matter how wacky they can be at times), and a Senator son who has made inroads with Independents, and largely peaceful to let his father focus on his campaign.
In Iowa, things are rapidly approaching…Christmas. Yes, most Iowans do love their process of selection (moreso in a non-incumbent cycle), but they always put their weapons down for a good weekend of Christmas, stuffing, and pie. Added that #OccupySanta is on a Sunday, it’s an extra-special week and weekend ahead (added, Chanukah rolls in on the 20th). So when the sweater returns are complete, the leftovers frozen or tossed, and the drinks purchased for New Year’s Eve, it’s the last chance to gain the attention of voters, unless of course, you can Herman Cain someone between now and the new year.
But this is really it for family, friends, and folks of Iowa. One week to lead into the Christmas weekend, and it’ll stay that way (whether good or bad opinion). Businesses will still march through the weekend, and campaigns will still gladhand in cafeterias and cafe alike. But for the most part, this is the unannounced break in negative messaging. Newt was smart to know this, and announced it via the media (Again, do we see the pattern here?), because it was meant to be leaked…
And though Newt is smart, owns a substantial lead in a highly-fluid race…he also gets hit by the Des Moines Register, with a full endorsement of…Mitt Romney? Not to leave anyone out in the announcement of the endorsement, but President Obama should also consider this a broadside (The Register picked Hillary in 2008 as well). After all, the newspaper doesn’t pick the incumbent President?
That’s a sign right there.
For the RNC folks who have to spend their days spinning the chaos of their organization, they should pay attention to the endorsement as a clear sign that Newt may not be the national campaign candidate, and if they get suckered into the gravity well of his ego, they stand to lose far more than just one race. The longer they wait to steer this party, the longer it will take to extricate after Iowa. It’s fine to let things stay fun and competitive until Iowa, but after hard data points start appearing on the map, they can’t dally about.
If the GOP gets led on that Newt is a contender, then they have to sell it too, and without question. And that’s a gamble that some may shy away from if the price gets too high, as many other candidates, even The Departed, were far more conservative in both form and function than the guy who took $1.6 Million from a specific GSE everyone in his own party blames for the entire recession.
For indies, it makes it a little difficult to swallow.
For Newt, not capturing the moderate/left endorsement from the newspapers that “should’ve” picked President Obama isn’t a horrible thing. It’s just another reminder that if Newt does take Iowa, the bigger the bet. The base has barreled through Bachmann, Perry, and Cain. I predict a Ron Paul day in the cool Iowa sun, and apparently the media is waiting for it too, by isolating a “she hates Muslims” moment before a Sunday morning before Chanukah begins on Tuesday? Wow.
And when Ron Paul’s brief reign ends (New Hampshire might hold surprises as well), will Jon Huntsman get a surge when he and Romney go head-to-head in New Hampshire? Will Rick Santorum get his 15 minutes in South Carolina, if Newt falls apart in Iowa? Does every GOP candidate get their media payout…or will voters finally catch on, hopefully before the real race begins?
Two weeks to real choices. Two holidays to enjoy in-between. Stay safe, and enjoy the ride. Mako out.