I happened to catch a Jonah Goldberg column comparing and contrasting Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich only today, though it’s most of a week old. Goldberg is generally a good writer, but he excels at funny and illustrative imagery. I’ve laughed all day at this (laughing now, even):
It’s quite a matchup. Romney has been brutalized for having too little personality, Gingrich for having way, way too much. Romney looks like the picture that comes with the frame. Gingrich looks like he should be ensconced in royal velvet as he gestures at you with a half-eaten turkey leg in one hand and a sloshing goblet of wine in the other. Romney seems terrified of fully committing to any idea. Gingrich speaks as if he just text-messaged with God.
Oh, the velvet, turkey leg, and goblet of wine is a scream. Times like this I wish I was better at Photoshop.
Look, whether it’s Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Eminem, or a quart jar of organic applesauce, I’m voting for whoever/whatever runs against our esteemed president. So Romney would get my vote. I wouldn’t be excited about it, but he’d get my vote.
But I could vote for Gingrich with—dare I say?—a bit of gusto. I’ve been eligible to vote in five presidential elections, starting in ’92. My votes have been Clinton, Dole, Bush, Bush, McCain. I was probably most excited about ’92. I was just out of college, and I believed there was such a thing as a “different Democrat.”
Since then? I suppose Sarah Palin energized my vote a bit last time, but I’ve never really had any punch about it. I might could muster some punch for Newt.
Love or loathe him, he really does tend to be the smartest person in most rooms. (Wouldn’t you love to see him dismantle Barack Obama in a debate?) Of the current plausible results, he seems like he might have the best chance of getting some traction on rescuing the republic. Indeed, I’ve spoken of him favorably before. I’ve also said he’s too damaged to be electable. He’s made some questionable personal decisions, and in case you haven’t noticed, he’s just a tad arrogant. Heh.
I wonder, though, if he might be bringing enough humor and modesty to it this time around to skate juuuuust enough. I think his response to his current success will say a lot. The old Newt would react too self-importantly and blow it.
But let’s watch the 2011 Newt for a couple of weeks and see what happens.