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November 14th, 2011 3:25 pm
Newt Agonistes

Now that he is surging in the polls, Newt Gingrich is likely to come under renewed scrutiny. Jennifer Rubin was nice enough to quote me extensively in this blog post, but she also wrote a whole lot more worth reading, including this:

It is far from certain whether Gingrich will hold up under scrutiny any better than Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and Texas Gov. Rick Perry did. Unlike Perry and Cain, he won’t be perceived as lacking a basic understanding of the issues. But soon he will need to fend off questions about his years in Congress, his support for the individual mandate and the ethical lapses. He will need to address a slew of not-very conservative positions he has taken over the years on everything from TARP to cap-and-trade to illegal immigration. Frankly, he’s been to the left of most of the GOP field on a number of issues.

Rubin also extensively quotes some reader comments, here. Some are rather devastating, such as reasons 4 and 5 from a longer list from somebody named ChrisFord:

Many people remember him as so personally dislikable and intemperate in the 90s he was rejected out of hand for a Presidential spot in 1996 and 2000. That unpopularity lingers, outside Republican ranks, showing him far behind Obama in getting the moderate and independent vote.  Outside the policy wonk area, Newt has shown horrible executive and organizational skills. He has raised little money, despite all his inside the Beltway connections, and his whole staff quit on him last summer over his conduct.

Actually, Rubin had a trifecta of hard-on-Gingrich posts. Here’s another:

When invited to explain why he thinks Romney is merely a good manager and and not a change agent, Gingrich declined. His willingness to sign onto Perry’s notion about reducing all foreign aid to nothing didn’t show him to be a deep thinker. This is an easy applause line, the sort that Gingrich would normally say is beneath him. To be frank, the assessment of many that he “won” the debate reflects the ease with which many are beguiled by Gingrich’s professorial tone. What he says is far less impressive than how he says it.

Carter Eskew, a Democratic consultant to be sure, also hit Gingrich. And now a new e-book, by people who are seen as center to center-right, may cause him more problems.

Then again, if you are surging into first place in the polls, none of this may bother you right now. Truth is, Gingrich wouldn’t be receiving such renewed scrutiny if he hadn’t pulled off a political near-miracle by coming back from the political dead. It seems somebody forgot to put a stake through his heart when they buried him.

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