I just heard Newt’s speech after Florida and I have come to realize that Newt is going to win the GOP nomination and be the next president.
I understand that most people think that Romney is most likely, but I do not agree. First, Romney has never shown the ability to get the majority of the votes in any primary. Second, Romney’s win in Florida took place with no actual consideration of Romney’s record or ideas — Romney’s entire campaign was based on the idea that Romney is the only person who can beat Obama. His whole campaign in FL was on attacking Newt. Third, the voting numbers showed Gingrich did very well in the Fl. panhandle, which votes like southern states. This suggests that Gingrich will likely sweep the South.
Gingrich’s problems in FL were easy to fix. Gingrich got off message. Gingrich froze in the face of shock and awe from Romney’s attacks. Finally, Gingrich faced the one state that only Romney had a strong campaign organization in. The fact of the matter is that Romney had to compete in Iowa with almost everyone and lost. Romney had to compete in NH with Huntsman and won. Romney had to compete in SC with Santorum, Perry, and Gingrich and lost. FL was always too big for anyone but Romney to have a strong organization and ad campaign in. Gingrich had the momentum, but Romney had a uniquely large organization advantage for FL.
In future states Romney will continue to have an organization advantage, especially through Super Tuesday, but as the primary goes on, Romney’s advantage will drop as (1) later states even out since Romney is running a campaign like Clinton did in 2008 and his organization is strongest early, (2) as the race goes on voters will develop more solid opinions and organization will mater less, and (3) Gingrich will emerge as the alternative to Romney and will be better organized as people realize he is the only hope for conservatives in this race.
In terms of campaign focus, Gingrich is now developing a new contract with America and I expect he will use that to stay on message and contrast himself with Romney. Gingrich held a vote on all items he promised to and did what he could to pass them for the original contract. That was a promise kept for him. He will have credibility for his new contract and this will contrast him with Romney who cannot be trusted and is not conservative.
In terms of Romney’s shock and awe attacks, it is hard to see Romney get much worse. Romney’s negatives have already shot up, and it is almost impossible to think of what worse things Romney can attack Gingrich for. Romney already used several lines of attack have had blow back, and if he picked those as ‘go,’ it is hard to think he has anything left to fire with. The Romney smear campaign will need to let-up at some time or Romney will completely implode. How long can a campaign be 99.9% negative?
What it comes down to is that Gingrich is a real candidate, and Romney is a pretender. Gingrich has real conservative ideas to fix the problems we are in. Romney has talking points.