We've been told by the likes of Karl Rove that a strong, passionate, conservative message will scare off the "independent" voters.
The underlying assumption with this has long infuriated me: And it is mainly that "independents" are really squishy east-coast patrician moderate polo-aficionados that get embarrassed over cocktails when the conversation turns to Sarah Palin or abortion. In the world of the professional political class, "independents" are natural political cross-dressers that look and act like country-club republicans, but, in the privacy of their homes, strip down and lounge about in the silky nostrums of liberalism-- especially when it comes to "social issues", and that we shouldn't offend them by having a strong candidate with passionately held beliefs about American greatness, American patriotism, and limited government. It scares them.
No, we need mush to attract them. We need a squishy, dissembling "moderate" that offends no one, but inspires no one, too.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to Karl Rove's house: Newt Gingrich won the "independent" vote over Mush Romney by 31% to 26%. And, this includes the guys with dental implants that receive messages from the CIA to go vote for Ron Paul, who only got 21% of the independents.
Of course, we were also told that Newt "Iron Zipper" Gingrich can't win the women's vote, either. Ooops. He won that, too, 39% to 28%. In fact, Newt appears to have won all the age demographics, including the 45-65 "Baby Boomers", and the most Florida-centric sub-group, the 75 and older crowd, which he won by a whopping 41%.
In fact, the only sub-group Newt lost was the pro-life advocates, which was won by Rick Santorum by over 50%. But, even here, Newt garnered some 30% of the vote, with the Mittster coming in at 6%.
But, then during the coverage of the election results on FOX, we are treated to Karl "The Architect of the 2000 Florida Disaster" Rove telling us that Newt's win was no big thing. Karl had his handy little white-board out this evening with all of his stupid chicken-scratches on it trying to point out the Newt's margin over second place Mitt was within the realm of historical averages (-something I was able to do in one sentence WITHOUT a whiteboard. Obama needs a teleprompter; Karl Rove needs a whiteboard, I guess.)
The statistic I would like to see, though, is how far back in the polls in South Carolina during the week prior to the election, was a candidate that eventually went on to win it? This all points to a serious, salient fact: This race has never been a narrative about the inevitability of Mitt Romney, just as the fall election WILL BE about Barack Obama.
The professional political class has been wrong about every election in my lifetime: That we must appeal to independents and moderates by muting our conservatism--; Newt proved tonight they can be attracted to strength and passionate appeals to conservative reason.
As long as our candidates are willing to optimistically educate, elevate and elucidate, we win every time. Way to go, Mr. Gingrich-- you've pocketed South Carolina doing it the right way.