Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rick 1, Mitt 1, Newt 1

I'm surprised Newt won so big in SC. Intrade had his probability of winning at about 7% as recently as a week ago. I seriously considered buying up all of Newt's shares at that point, but I never expected Newt to crush Romney like this.

There's a lot of discussion in the conservosphere about how and why Newt's debate performance has impacted his momentum. But almost everyone agrees that the debates have been the decisive factor.

I think the take home message is that the "Not-Romney" sentiment is still very strong, and that sentiment has coalesced around Newt as a consequence of Newt's forceful repudiation of the abusive anti-conservative media establishment.

That said, I still think it's Romney's nomination to lose. This might be the last Not-Romney win for quite some time.

As I noted earlier, the next five contests will be in Romney-friendly territory. Newt has an advantage in the south, but we're going to be out of the core southern states for a while now. Florida is up next, but Florida is more of a regional hybrid with swing state tendencies, and Florida's Jeb Bush, a popular ex-governor, is expected to endorse Romney soon (update).

Addendum: Good insights from The Other McCain:
...Mitt’s “inevitable” mojo spell is now decisively broken, and the questions now are multiple: Can Mitt get his mojo back? Will Newt be able to avoid further “drama”? Can Santorum get the financial resources to stay in the race, hoping to be the last man standing if Newt auto-destructs?

Update II: Good insights from Red State:

Newt Gingrich Wins. What It Means...
The base is revolting because they swept the GOP back into relevance in Washington just under two years ago and they have been thanked with contempt ever since...
Read the rest...

Conservatives (accurately) perceive the media mainstream to be a de facto organ of the liberal left, and by extension, the Democratic Party - and they understand that conservative governance is absolutely impossible unless that organ is defeated or co-opted. On the latter count, ask President John McCain how his co-option efforts went. When Newt Gingrich crushes a hapless journalist, he isn't just tossing up a parlor trick: he's demonstrating an indispensable prerequisite to conservative governance today.
Read the rest...

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