"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, January 23, 2012

Defeat. Jaws. Victory.

Newt Gingrich's victory in the South Carolina primary is a victory for all of the conservatives (like the Regular Guy) who have shouted back at the TV when liberal reporters or commentators make statements we don't like.   We've done it for fifty years (my old man used to yell at Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley), and now we finally have someone who not only will shout back, but will do it in person and to their faces with gusto.   Gingrich is saying all the things we right-wing curmudgeons have wanted to say for decades.   Bravo, we say.   Bravo.  

But.   But.   But.     

While Gingrich's theatrics (and they are theatrics:  two hours after he called John King of CNN despicable he was warmly thanking him for conducting such a good debate) play to the blog-reading, TV news-watching, talk radio-listening wing of the party that knows the issues and is stirred by media-bashing, it won't play to the moderates and independents Republicans will need (and who are there for the taking) to defeat Obama in November.   So while his victory feels good in the moment -- and aren't Americans all about feeling good right now? -- in the long run, if it means he ends up the nominee, Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot.   A Gingrich leading the party likely means not winning the Senate, perhaps losing the House, and certainly not gaining the Presidency.   And that would be a tragedy.   

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