What it is ain't exactly clear.
I've had a great time reading and listening to all the various pundits struggle to explain what happened in South Carolina yesterday. From the network newsheads to our own Mike "gamecock" DeVine ( SC teaches its gamecock a lesson: Newt is acceptable ), they're trying to come to grips with the fact that a candidate with supposedly fatal flaws has captured the hearts and minds of the conservative electorate. How could we possibly vote for a filandering egomaniac who was booted from House leadership for ethics violations?
I've often found myself wondering why I have always admired Newt Gingrich. I know I liked it when he stood up to Pesident Clinton, a serial filanderer, and forced a government shutdown. Whether the confrontation was handled effectively is open for debate, but I sure would have liked having someone with the stones to shut down the covernment negotiating these debt increases lately! And maybe that's it. Stones. and stones beget the roar. What roar, you ask? Read C. Edmund Wrights fine analysis over at American Thinker.
Mr. Wright says it far better than I ever could:
...what the voters are craving in the debates and on the stump is someone who can look liberals squarely in the eye and tell them why we are right and they are wrong. The American conservative base has had to put up with being called stupid, racist, greedy and unfair for decades by not only the Democrats but the vast majority of the media. The pent up frustration of these decades is magnified by the fact that George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain would not or perhaps could not confront this.
In fact, rare is the Republican candidate at any level who refuses to put up with this and fights back. When they do, they become sensations. Even Chris Christie and Donald Trump -- neither one a real conservative -- earned the love of the Republican base by simply deigning to fight back. Marco Rubio and Allen West are far more popular and well known than they have any right to be simply because they refuse to accept the argument on liberals' terms. They fight. They elicit the roar.
That's what I've always admired about Newt. He's a fighter. For all of his other faults, he's like a little bantam rooster. I don't need a perfect candidate, I don't need a saintly candidate and I don't need a pretty candidate. I need a candidate who believes in the American people, in small government and in free and open markets. I need that candidate to be competent and intelligent. But above all, I need candidate who's not afraid of a brawl and "who can look liberals squarely in the eye and tell them why we are right and they are wrong."
I need a candidate who elicits the roar.
Rick Perry could have and should have been that guy.
But he's gone now and neither Santorum nor Romney can elicit the roar.
Newt's the man.