Newt-ron Bomb

(To distract myself from basketball, I will revert to politics.  It’s for our own good.)

What’s more dangerous: a 25-foot crocodile, a 100-foot T-Rex, or a great white shark of ordinary size?  Now, imagine you have to fight them a mile out to sea – which one is most dangerous then?

People who are surprised at Newt Gingrich’s triumph in South Carolina just don’t know politics.  South Carolina is the cradle of the Confederacy.  It is the state that gave us Strom Thurmond and Jim DeMint and Joe “You Lie!” Wilson.  And it is therefore a place where the Southern style of politics reigns supreme – where policy differences are so slight that the entire race turns on personality and showmanship.  In other words, a state that will vote for whomever can sling the shit.

No one slings the shit like Newt.  Indeed, no one (bar perhaps Lee Atwater, another son of South Carolina) did more to complete the Southernization of American politics than Newt.  He offers the one thing the Confederate base treasures more than anything: red-meat demagoguery, heaping gobs of abuse seasoned with thinly-veiled racism.  In the Confederate mind, Gingrich is an intellectual, a legitimate genius who can easily take down the slick-talking socialist in the White House with the devastating force of his mighty brain.

Which just proves the extent to which the GOP base has separated itself from the reality-based community.  Here on planet Earth, Newt’s unfavorables are roughly double his favorables.  A CBS poll three days ago has Obama over Newt 50-39 in a theoretical November matchup, and that’s before people start paying serious attention.  I find it difficult to believe that the highly-notional Independent Voter is going to be attracted to a guy whose track record includes divorcing two women in the hospital, getting censured by the House to the tune of a $300,000 fine, shutting down the government in a fit of pique over his Air Force One seating arrangements, and writing terrible alternate history fiction in between speaking engagements bragging about how clever he is.

Republican insiders are already talking darkly about the possibility of a Gingrich run – not only that he could lose to Obama in historic fashion, but that he could simultaneously lose the House and leave the Senate safely in Democratic hands.  He has the potential to leave the structures of the GOP standing while simultaneously destroying it as an effective electoral force in 2012.

The only question now is how the party insiders will go about accomplishing the necessary Newt-ering.

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