Fred Thompson’s gone. Duncan Hunter’s gone. All these people are gone. Huckabee could become Huckabeen — gone by next Tuesday. So could Rudy after next’s Tuesday’s Florida primary.
All of a sudden you’ve got this Republican primary coming down to McCain, Romney and Ron Paul. With all this uncertainty, just where can a conservative go? All of a sudden radio talk show hosts, who reflect the opinions of grass-roots conservative voters, are all over the lot hammering on Rudy, hammering on Romney, hammering on McCain and hammering on Paul.
Listening to them you get an idea who they want or don’t want. They don’t like McCain. Most probably they support either Huckabee or Romney. Although they think Rudy is gone, he could come back if he wins in Florida next Tuesday.
If Huckabee is finished, I think they go to Romney, who is somewhat more conservative than the rest. At any rate, conservatives could be faced with backing either McCain, or Romney, or Huckabee or even Rudy.
Or they could end up backing none of them.
Who, then, could conservatives end up backing? Well, who recently has come out with a new book? Who’s doing all the shows talking about his new book? Who is advocating common-sense solutions to the most pressing problems America faces?
Newt Gingrich, that’s who. He was out of the race for a long time, he toyed with the idea of running until Fred Thompson entered the race, and then he more or less pulled back.
Why Newt? Ask yourself why Ronald Reagan won. He won because he was able to excite a group of people in America that the liberal wing of the Republican party has never excited — the grass roots.
Newt Gingrich is the last Republican to have done that — to reach out to the grass roots, to all those conservative Republicans and Reagan Democrats. Remember, it was Newt who engineered the miraculous Republican take-over of Congress in 1994 — something that was deemed impossible two years after Bill Clinton won the White House.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he was out there quietly working the phones and hoping for a wide-open convention where the delegates — not the primaries that selected many of them — decide for themselves who they want to carry the GOP banner in the presidential election in November.
If Newt throws his hat in the ring he knows that in the blink of an eye he will have the grass roots behind him.
Look at what happened Saturday in South Carolina. McCain won with 33 percent of the vote, which means 67 percent of the voters said we don’t want McCain; only 30 percent said yes to Huckabee, which means that 70 percent said no to him. About 15 percent went for Thompson, a mere 14 percent went for Romney and 2 percent went for Giuliani.
So basically the voters said a resounding “No” to all of the above.
So who can electrify the base and get them to come out from their bunkers and ignite a groundswell? On the record, the only person capable of doing that is Newt Gingrich.
Covering all the issues that concern the grass roots: Romney represents the Reagan economic approach; McCain, the national security issues; Giuliani represents the hard-line-on-crime position; and Huckabee covers the religious position. Everybody has a piece.
Newt Gingrich covers all of those issues, and in the eyes of the grass roots, he covers them brilliantly. Just as his Contract with America dealt with many of the issues that concerned the grass roots and won Congress for the GOP, his agenda goes right to the heart of our current problems. He’s offering concrete solutions to all the concrete problems and that’s what the grass roots crave.
As a result, if the nomination gets thrown open in a brokered convention, the person who comes out of the struggle the winner will most likely be Newt Gingrich.
If I’m right I’ll back him to the hilt. If I’m wrong I’ll follow my dad’s lead and support the nominee no matter who he is.
©2008 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.