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Cue the Newt puns, the US primaries just got interesting

Well, Newt Gingrich just went and blew the Republican primaries out of the water. What was shaping up as a done deal for Mitt Romney, and quite frankly, a decidedly boring outcome for political junkies everywhere, just got interesting. As Rundle writes today, “this thing is on”.

And to think that Newt’s moment, his turning point, his moment of truth, came via that traditional campaign killer, the disgruntled ex-lover.

Gingrich, with nothing to lose and not much of a choice, opened the second South Carolina debate by blasting CBS for its first question about ex-Mrs Gingrich’s charge that he had requested an open marriage. Gingrich then went on to win the SC primary with more than 40% of the vote. Of course, the first three minutes of a debate didn’t do it alone, as Rundle points out today, Newt’s secret weapon against Mitt Romney is … Mitt Romney, but it was, as they say, a moment. A chance for Gingrich to align himself with the conservatives by attacking the elite media.

Never mind the hypocrisy of the man who led the charge against president’s Clinton’s impeachment (while at the same time conducting an affair of his own, with now-third wife Callista). No, no nothing to see there. Ever the wordsmith, and the man can debate, he addressed that issue back in March last year. And besides, as South Carolina non candidate Stephen Colbert pointed out, “Here’s the thing that I don’t think Newt Gingrich gets enough credit for: a lot of politicians screw around on their wives, but he was enough of a gentleman to ask permission. That’s a Southern gentleman.”

Yes, far be it from Newt to inject any sense of reality to this campaign. After all, he got the biggest cheer during the second debate for his jibes at the “food-stamp” President. He’s being lauded for his authentic conservative profile, which apparently trumps his chequered past, and he’s found fertile ground attacking Romney’s business record, sneering the term “CEO” as the ultimate insult. Romney in turn has now finally agreed to release his personal tax records, which might be an idea, given his mumbling admission a week ago that he “probably” paid 15% (which is more than John Kerry paid, but let’s not quibble with details here …)

A few weeks ago The New York Times introduced a storm of derision by asking if the paper should become a “truth vigilante”, which might sound like the Grey Lady was preparing to take up arms, but really just meant they were asking if they should test the truth of candidates’ sound bites as part of their reporting, as opposed to just repeating the statements ad nauseum. To which everyone, including us, responded, hell yes. Until the US media start go vigilante, Newt and Romney and the whole damn race will continue as always to campaign on the vibe of the thing, without context, qualifiers, or any inconvenient facts.

In the meantime, to Florida …

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  • 1
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    It was the ex-wife (No.2) that dobbed him in on the open marriage request, not an “ex-lover”.

  • 2
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Well so much for evangelical christian values - guess even three marriages tops one Mormon.

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    What a funny little “state of affairs(?)” - they hate this black bloke in their “White House” so much, these Rupublicans will vote to put one of these “Hypocrites R’ Us” in there instead? And then wonder why they don’t get the respect they deserve from other countries – another reason to “shoot at ‘em”?

    (Wasn’t his second wife an “ex-lover”?)

  • 4
    CML
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I heard an American woman interviewed on the ABC today who said that Gingrich’s “food stamps” comments were decidedly racist, because most of the American poor who qualify for this assistance are Afro-American. It was seen by most Americans as just another racist jibe at the Afro-American President. The woman being interviewed was from a polling organisation, but I didn’t catch all the details. Nice people these Republicans.

  • 5
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    After reading ‘red dog’ Andrew Bolt’s column in the Herald Sun today in a stop over in Geelong, I wonder if he noticed that POTUS is coloured?

    Bolt has managed to smear every refugee in Europe as “illegal” today.

    Seriously, is the man a white supremacist?

    Why has he failed to write a column explaining his contact, if any, with Anders Behring Brievik? Or at least disclaim any email list contact? Or at least condemn the apparent mass murder of youth who supported multiculturalism?

    The banality of evil courtesy of News Corporation?

  • 6
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the ironic reference to ‘red dog’ is because it’s a movie aimed at the emotions with hardly a black fella to be seen anywhere. A very white bread version of North West Australia. Hence red dog Bolt.

  • 7
    ScottoJames
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes, my wife is certainly also my lover.

  • 8
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    What’s the attraction in politics for these “sociopath Catholics(?)” that can
    use their “beliefs” to validate everything they do to everybody else? “Bigger impact”?
    Difference being with this one, he’s been twice divorced.

  • 9
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    …. at least he’s not a Mormon!”?

  • 10
    Steve W.
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    The only thing Newt’s win in South Carolina will achieve is to force Romney further to the Right. He’ll be drinking more Cool-Aid and it’ll be fun to watch. Neither of them will beat Obama but Romney has the better chance. Gingrinch’s run will force Romney to create more choice soundbites for Obama’s campaign when it all gets serious in October.

  • 11
    Jean
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Sure would like an explanation of how this all actually works. Can’t find much on Australian or US sites.
    Does someone have to win a certain number of primaries to be nominated?
    Does each primary carry equal weight?
    I seem to remember last US election there was something about delegates to the party congress.

    Oh, sorry, that would take a bit of research, wouldn’t it? And isn’t that against the code of journalism these days?

  • 12
    Malcolm Street
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Steven - I agree the rise of Newt is a Good Thing in terms of making life more difficult for Romney. And if Newt does get the nomination he’ll be about as electable as Barry Goldwater.

    Personally I was disgusted by the fawning over Newt re. his questionable marriage - were his fans so forgiving over Clinton? Like hell they were, they would have been howling for his blood.

  • 13
    AR
    Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    ChrisD - spot on, current Mrs Newt - Callista was the ex-lover, among many tuthers. The TV show featured the betrayed WIFE, for what it’s worth which, even for raving born again/evangelical/common or garden Xtians seems to be SFA.
    NB Crikey’s grammar editor, if any - repeating the statements ad nauseum. To which everyone, including us, responded,
    would be, nauseam dative, and ourselves, the nominative, as required by a sentence with a verb.

  • 14
    Jean
    Posted Tuesday, 24 January 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    When you marry your mistress, you create a job vacancy”

  • 15
    A. N. Onymus
    Posted Wednesday, 25 January 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Jean, this might help you — http:people.howstuffworks.com/primary.htm

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