9:00pm November 27, 2011

Why Newt Can Beat Obama in 2012


The personal flaws of Newt Gingrich are not enough to stop him from beating the flawed Obama administration in 2012 general election match-up.  

It is evident from the momentum found in the “Anybody But Romney” sentiment that some candidate flaws do matter in a campaign, especially when social conservatives will govern the Iowa Caucus in just a few weeks. That appears to be the case regardless of what some polling data might suggest regarding Mitt Romney’s overall chance of winning the White House in 2012. Anytime political power brokers convene a Mafioso-type secret meeting aimed primarily at overcoming an unwelcome front-runner, shifts in past policy positions are not enough to win over a determined majority from an essential voting base.

However, some flaws – even ones deemed to be fatal politically – can be overcome through contrition and time, allowing the flawed to become respected (if not beloved) political figures again. Further, such flaws are not obstructions to winning the presidency. A quick glance at the backgrounds of the past three presidents tell a story that some GOP candidates are hanging on to as they march into 2012: that American voters, under the right circumstances and with the right explanations, are willing to forgive personal flaws if the potential for presidential greatness is there.

That is why the personal flaws of Newt Gingrich do not matter half as much to social conservatives as people think they do. In fact, in a presidential campaign quagmired by high unemployment and economic uncertainty, divisiveness from issues such as Mormonism do not have the relevancy it did in 2008 with many voters.

By playing his flaws as nothing more than a ruse to distract voters from the issues, the former Speaker of the House has a unique opportunity to pull off a much-needed trifecta in time for the Iowa contest on January 3. By being the Republican godfather fending off the media, boomeranging past former front-runner Herman Cain by way of a clever “compare-and-contrast” debate with Texas Tea Partiers, and captivating the “Anyone But Romney” vote previously lost by Bachmann, Cain, and Perry, Mr. Gingrich is now positioned to win Iowa.  He will also march into Florida with a good shot of having two of the first three GOP primary contests in his personal win column.

Gingrich’s presidential appearance during all of the debates so far, and his record of leading within divided government to garner American prosperity in the 1990s gives him momentum. Combined, Gingrich suddenly becomes a tough candidate for President Obama to beat in the general election at this point. Social conservatives know that, despite head-to-head polls showing Speaker Gingrich behind President Obama.

The current GOP front-runner has a record on key economic indicators that Americans crave today that the incumbent president cannot provide – namely strong economic growthentitlement reform, and a balanced budget. This record of success, coupled with the Speaker’s well-documented debate skills and the president’s challenges with this economy make Gingrich a likable candidate for the GOP conservative base, despite some of the perceived political warts both past and present.

Social conservatives may still care about issues such as abortion and universal health care, issues that seemingly scare them off from supporting Mr. Romney. However, they care more about issues such as unemployment and economic recovery, which is why concerns over the past are not enough to halt the continuing surge for the former Speaker at this point. Watching the one-time presidential cast-off come back from near-fatal GOP polling numbers and staff implosions to come within 3 percentage points of the margin of error against President Obama will keep the social conservative base excited about Gingrich as he settles into the GOP front-runner position. Time will tell if he is able to maintain that lead. He seems to have the political moxie to do so.

If nothing else, President Obama provided some of the political roadmap that Mr. Gingrich has been using to claw back into this nomination race. Americans want a president that can articulate a vision, not just provide experience at the top. Americans can forgive past mistakes if they see promise for a better future. At this point, they will take choppy success over picture perfect disappointments. It comes down to a presidential race between two different men: one who can eloquently talk past his personal flaws to address the problems over the past 4 years; and the other who will have a hard time justifying his record despite his own eloquence.  Don’t be surprised if the flaws of one man overcome the flawed administration of another in November 2012.

Lenny McAllisteris a political commentator found every Saturday with host TJ Holmes and fellow pundit Maria Cardona on “CNN Saturday Morning” at 10:30 AM Eastern (9:30 Central / 7:30 AM Pacific), and “CNN Newsroom” this Sunday at 6:15 PM Eastern (5:15 PM Central.) This week’s “Saturday Remix” is now available exclusively onPolitic365.

About the Author

Lenny McAllister
Lenny McAllister
Lenny McAllister is the host of the radio show “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” found on LMGILIVE.com and often re-broadcast on Politic365. He appears weekly on “CNN Saturday Morning” with host Randi Kaye and former DNC Communications Director Maria Cardona at 10:30 AM Eastern Time. He also regularly appears weekdays on CNN's "Early Start" at 5am - 7am and "CNN Newsroom" at 12:30pm Eastern. He also appears as a political commentator on multiple outlets including Sirius-XM Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC Radio in Australia, and Chicago Public Radio. Lenny has written previously for a number of publications including Rushmore Drive, Global Grind, and The Chicago Defender. In 2009, McAllister was a panelist at the 10th Annual State of the Black Union and the CNN panel discussion Young & Black In America: Empowering the Next Generation of African American Leaders. In 2010, Lenny was featured in the Studio 360 series “American Icons” in the episode, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He was also featured in the November 2010 Essence Magazine roundtable discussion “Race (Still) Matters” that featured the Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP President Ben Jealous, and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.


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  1. Mike

    lol wow. This is random unintentional comedy like ive never seen

  2. [...] machine have countered with a convincing argument that the president deserves re-election. …Why Newt Can Beat Obama in 2012Politic365Are Romney and Huntsman the Only Serious 2012 GOP Candidates?ForbesThe Harbinger: GOP [...]

  3. Sam moazami

    The author of this Text is either high on something as newt is most of the time. There is no way the American people will allow such person be commander in chief. He is the most dangerous person in American politics. Even the crazy Bachman is more suitable.

  4. ac58

    my foot can beat Obama.

  5. Of course Newt can win — he can energize the stupid vote, which Mitt can not. The real issue, however, will be voter suppression, which is exactly why there is a huge effort by unknown people ( their initials are Koch Brothers) to deny voting rights to as many poor and minorities as possible, because they rightly assume 90% of those would vote for Obama. In fact, if they can suppress just 10% of the minority vote, the election will not even be close. So the real fight is not in issues, which GOPs would lose, but in voter suppression.

    • 1) The stupid vote … are you referring to the two black women who were giddy when Obama was elected as they gushed on the radio that now they were going to get Obama money? 2) Voter suppression … are you referring to ACORN and SEIU voter caucus fraud in 2008 primaries against Hillary? Newt Gingrich is Obama's worse nightmare. Watch Obama try to avoid any and all debates against Newt.

    • Joshua

      Stupid base? Please. You Libtards are the stupidest bunch of people. And don’t dare say that we are racists or suppress minority rights. What party gave us Jim Crow? The democrats. Plus you morons had clansman in congress. God, man… You really are stupid.

  6. CharlestonVoice

    The Newt's a consigliare in the CFR

    The Irrelevance of the Republican Party http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2011/11/irrelevance

    The Real Newt Gingrich http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2011/11/real-newt-g

  7. carol

    Maybe someone with experience with the inside workings of Congress is just what this country needs. Regardless of his flaws, he did do some good things while he was in congress including having the ability to work across the aisle with Clinton. He did do some stupid things and like all us has probably learned from his mistakes.
    Obama was a bright light, but unfortunately with the little experience he had he could not rope in congress even when the Democrats controlled both houses. He concentrated too hard on Healthcare reform ( to honor Ted Kennedy's legacy) and it wasn't until Scott Brown won Massachusetts and a couple of Republicans beat incumbents in NJ and Virginia that he began focusing on jobs.
    If you look at history it is awfully hard for a president to win reelection when the economy is in the tank.

  8. Insightful and cogent analysis. Newt Gingrich is probably Obama's worse nightmare.

  9. He's a war monger, took $300,000 working as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac in 2006, and wants to start a new war against Iran that will cost the US $2 trillion.

    He can't get the Democrat vote, because he's not a full blown socialist, and he can't get much of the Republican vote, because he's too cozy with Freddie/Fannie, is a warmonger, and has a bad marital history.

  10. [...] machine has countered with a convincing argument that the president deserves re-election. …Why Newt Can Beat Obama in 2012Politic365And the GOP 2012 Nominee Will Be ….. [Drum Roll!]The International News Magazine2012 [...]

  11. Eric

    I can't remember, how many wives has Newt Gingrich had? Which one was it that he left dying in the hospital of cancer to go marry a younger woman?

  12. Wilbur Crick

    Are we electing a Saint or a President?

  13. Wilbur Crick

    Are we voting on sainthood or for a President?

  14. CharlestonVoice

    When a candidate's character doesn't matter to you:

    Newt Gingrich's Skeleton Closet http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2011/11/newt-gingri

    The Real Newt Gingrich http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2011/11/real-newt-g

  15. Rob

    Obama is like an empty suit with a taped message that keeps repeating his worn out message that encourages poor people to remain poor by thinking they will make it on the rich mans taxes.
    Sounds like Mr Obama likes keeping the poor enslaved like the democratic party by offering them once again nothing more than false hope and the only change is moving the country deeper in debt faster than any President in our history by devaluing our dollar to monopoly money that cant buy jack. Go back to chicago if they”ll have you.

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