Over at NRO I offered my take on Newt’s surge. An excerpt:
Newt’s unmistakeable rise in the polls makes me chuckle. Not because I don’t take him seriously. I do. He’s a formidable opponent — a great debater (as we’ve seen), a big-picture thinker, and a person who’s literally seen everything his opponents can throw at him. If I had a dollar, however, for every time I’ve been told that the conservative movement won’t ever support Mitt because he’s “establishment” and because he’s a “flip-flopper,” I’d be part of the 1 percent. Yet is there a conservative in this race more “establishment” than Newt? The former speaker of the House has collected vast sums of money from from quasi-lobbying activities and has been a fixture in conservative Washington for decades. Newt as an outsider? No way.
Keep reading and you’ll see where I note Newt’s many policy shifts. If this race really does become Newt v. Mitt, then I suspect the “flip-flop” argument will grow a bit less common. I conclude my post with this observation:
If Newt Gingrich is to be the “anti-Mitt,” then so be it. He’ll be a worthy opponent and (if he won) would be a vast improvement over the current president. But if he is the anti-Mitt, then I think it’s safe to say that the race will have moved well past arguing about who is (or isn’t) a “true conservative,” well beyond the sometimes inane ideological hair-splitting of early debates and controversies, and perhaps into the much more conventional debate over which longtime conservative leader is best equipped to lead a nation in distress.