Can’t believe I’m saying this but … second look at Newt?

Yeah, I know I’ll probably get chastised for even thinking it, but Newt’s impressed me a lot in the last several debates. I know he has a lot of baggage, there’s the Pelosi ad disaster, and the fact that he could not exactly be presented as a “family values” candidate – but options are kinda limited right now, in my view. Perry has been a huge disappointment at the debates, in spite of the fact that he is extremely likable and has – in my opinion – been a good Governor for the state of Texas and would make a good POTUS. The fact that he can’t debate well is a huge problem considering he’d be tackling the maestro of debates in Barack Obama. Never thought I’d see someone who was worse than GWB when it came to debating. No, we’re not electing a skilled debater but we DO need someone who can effectively counter the Obama spin machine without breaking a sweat.

Romney is out of the question for obvious reasons, and Cain, whose fierceness and never-say-quit spirit is inspiring to me, nevertheless isn’t doing it for me. That may change, but for now I’m not on the Cain Train. Michele Bachmann lost me over the whole Gardasil issue.

Which brings me back to Newt. Rich Lowry at NRO wonders if now is “Newt’s moment”:

It’s counterintuitive to categorize a former speaker of the House and the builder of a sprawling archipelago of Beltway organizations as an outsider-populist. But Gingrich never lost his genius for the outré. In his prickly hostility to representatives of the media at the debates, he’s trained his fire on the institution that unites all Republicans in their disdain. He can be as inflammatory as Donald Trump and as populist as Sarah Palin. Yet he brings to the table the wellsprings of knowledge of a history Ph.D. and an incorrigible — insufferable, perhaps — policy wonk.

No politician has spent so long saying we need such fundamental change. It is typical of Gingrich that his 21st-century Contract with America is conceived as “a larger and more complex developmental challenge than any presidential campaign has undertaken in modern times.” Cue the eye-rolling. But the country now has such grave challenges even beyond the headline problems of joblessness and spiraling debt that there’s a place for a candidate devoted to upending 20th-century structures in health care, education, and more. Never have Gingrich’s extravagant overstatements seemed so apt.

In many ways, Gingrich would be better-suited as an intellectual ombudsman of the GOP race than as a candidate himself; he has more baggage than Queen Elizabeth II on a road trip. But the hour is late and the pickings are slim. He ran when others didn’t, and his outsider-populism is tinged with brilliance. Republican voters not sold on Mitt Romney might have to decide that you go to political war with the alternative you have.

Bear in mind that I’m not in anyone’s “camp” just yet. My vote has yet to be earned by any of the candidates. But Newt is looking like a viable option more and more every day (my friend Matt Margolis has already endorsed him). Can you imagine a Lincoln/Douglas-style debate with him and Obama? It won’t happen, but drool …

Thoughts?

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