Monday, November 28, 2011

Gingrich Endorsed by NH Union Leader

Over the weekend, all the political news buzz was about Newt Gingrich's endorsement by the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper, the only statewide newspaper in that state.

While Republican strategists say that the New Hampshire Union Leader’s endorsement Sunday of Newt Gingrich goes a long way to projecting the former House Speaker as the preeminent “anti-Romney” candidate in the GOP primary field, some strategists suggest that it won’t give him enough of a boost to overcome former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s formidable lead in the polls.

“It legitimizes Gingrich’s status as the conservative alternative to Romney in a way no other candidate has been able to yet,” Republican political consultant Jim Dyke told TheDC.

“It is a blow to everyone trying to be the anti-Romney,” echoed Dan Hazelwood, a Republican consultant.

“It adds another layer of legitimacy to his rise,” emailed Republican consultant Reed Galen.

The Union Leader is a conservative bastion and New Hampshire’s only statewide paper. It was one of the first outlets to throw its weight behind Ronald Reagan, all the way back in 1975 when Reagan primary-challenged President Gerald Ford. Its endorsement gives Gingrich a boost in the first in the nation primary state, but it also has salience outside of the state, Dyke said.

“It affects perception broadly until something trumps it,” he argued.

“It will also help fundraising and further push the lower tier candidates to the sidelines,” said Galen.

Do endorsements really matter to most voters in the long run? Probably not so much. But they do create buzz which helps raise money and allows more air time on 24 hour cable channels.

Do I think this will allow Gingrich to win New Hampshire in the GOP primary? Probably not. Romney has a very comfortable lead there and is a favorite son of the state, having been a neighboring governor and a property owner in New Hampshire. But, it may create the kind of momentum for Gingrich, if the buzz is sustained, to allow for a longer primary fight. That's is a good thing.

A longer primary fight will strengthen the eventual nominee. And, that will bring about a stronger candidate when that person goes up against the Chicago political machine behind Barack Obama.

From an interview in Newsmax:

In a September interview with Newsmax, Clinton had predicted that Gingrich, who at the time was polling in the single digits, would make a comeback.

“He’s articulate and he tries to think of a conservative version of an idea that will solve a legitimate problem,” Clinton told Newsmax in the exclusive interview this week, by way of explaining the Gingrich resurgence. Gingrich holds frontrunner status in the race for the GOP nomination, as several polls have him surpassing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Clinton continued: “For example, I watched the national security debate last night. And Newt said two things that would make an independent voter say, ‘Well, I gotta consider that.’

“He said, ‘OK, I don’t want to legitimize immigrants who came here undocumented, illegally.’ On the other hand, a lot of those people have been here for years, they worked hard, they paid taxes, they’ve got kids in the schools, they’re not criminals, we’re going to have a hard time sending them all home, there’s millions of them. So, I’d like to have a process where they could be here legally but not have a path to citizenship. That sort of splits the difference between the immigration reforms proposed by President Bush and President Obama, which would give a path to citizenship, and would be a version of what President Reagan did.”

Clinton was impressed that Gingrich devised a “red card” system that would be used to be used to stop normalizing the immigration status of illegals if efforts to control the border proved ineffective.“That was a thoughtful response,” Clinton said.

The former president also credited Gingrich for innovative thinking in his plan to give workers an option to invest their Social Security retirement funds privately. Gingrich said there should be a guarantee, so that, if markets nose-dive, workers would not receive less than they would have received under the old Social Security system.

“See, that’s a new wrinkle on this,” Clinton said, crediting Gingrich for thinking out of the box. “So he’s always . . . I think he’s doing well just because he’s thinking, and people are hungry for ideas that make some sense.”

Don't for even a minute fall for this sorta kinda praise from the former President who was impeached by the House of Representatives under the leadership of the former Speaker. Clinton only worked with Gingrich during his time in office because he had no other choice. The political hoopla over Hillarycare brought on a majority of Republican leadership in Congress for the first time in forty years and Clinton had to work with them. Under Gingrich's leadership, Clinton was forced to sign welfare reform and balancing the federal budget, to name two examples of Gingrich initiatives which changed Washington, D.C.

So, for Clinton to now sound somewhat supportive of a position held by Gingrich one has to think it is just political theatre. Clinton has a new book out and enjoys the spotlight that support for a Gingrich initiative would bring. For Clinton, it is about himself, not Gingrich.

Like everything else in the world of politics, take it with a grain of salt.

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