By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
Bottom line takeaways from Saturday night’s GOP debate: Mitt Romney is finished and Newt Gingrich is dangerous.
Michelle Bachmann was the one who stuck the fork in Mitt by coining the phrase “Newt Romney,” pillorying them both for the similarity of their stances on TARP, the individual mandate, cap-and-trade, amnesty for illegals, and the payroll tax cut extension.
And she’s right. There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two of them on these core issues. So if there is no fundamental difference between Newt and Mitt, why would anyone vote for Mitt?
Newt can talk circles around anyone, and even has a lot of Tea Partiers believing he’s one of them. That’s no mean feat, considering he just got through taking $2 million from Freddie Mac to help torpedo the housing industry and the economy and took $37 million from the health care industry to flack for the individual mandate, the two things that created the crying need for the Tea Party in the first place.
His Svengali-like ability to swindle conservatives into thinking that he is the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan is a striking testimonial to his slippery gift of glibness.
Plus, Mitt kneecapped himself with the $10,000 bet to Rick Perry, a bet he would have lost so fast it would give you a nosebleed. He has advocated individual mandates for the entire nation repeatedly. Clips of him doing so are readily available on YouTube, providing irrefutable proof which not even ten grand - chump change for a man of Romney’s wealth - can cause to disappear.
In fact, Jon Huntsman, whom I have affectionately appointed the head of the “Mormons Against Mitt” committee, is circulating a video with just such proof. Mitt is toast. Why would anyone vote for the stilted, plastic, flip-flopper when they can vote for the fluid, glib flip-flopper?
The debate, sadly for the conservative movement, only helped Newt and will cement his position as the frontrunner. Genuine conservatives can only watch helplessly as the big-government Newt-tron bomb glides toward its inevitable implosion. The only question now is whether the meltdown will occur during the primary election season or the general election season.
Bachmann and Santorum both turned in strong performances Saturday, with Bachmann’s skewering mash-up of names a memorable moment. But neither can gain any traction and there is no likelihood that they will.
Ron Paul continues to demonstrate an alarming naivete on foreign policy in general and Islam in particular. He would be a positive menace as commander-in-chief.
But he is wildly popular with the 20-somethings who would like to shoot up, smoke dope, sleep around and visit prostitutes without anybody bothering them about it. Ron Paul is their man, and his message, which makes a virtue out of the slogan, “Every man did what was right in his own eyes,” will generate votes and enthusiastic support from libertines who would thrive in the moral chaos a Ron Paul presidency would create.
Huntsman is a non-starter, Bachmann and Santorum can’t generate any momentum, Paul is too libertarian to convince a majority of primary voters, and Romney is finished, a wilting flower whose day in the sun is just about over.
All this reduces the potential field of winning candidates to two, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Perry’s controversial ad criticizing the repeal of the ban on homosexuality in the military and vowing to end Obama’s war on religion will only help him with conservatives who are looking for someone, in contrast to Ron Paul, who will stand unapologetically for the same moral values and the same authentic Christian faith that animated the Founders, and who, unlike Newt, has a personal life history of fidelity to those values.
(Perry’s ad had triggered an astonishing 637,738 dislikes to just 19,792 likes by 10:53 Eastern time this morning, clearly stamping him as the candidate the vengeful, hate-filled, vitriolic homosexual lobby wants to destroy. If you’re looking for your values candidate, conservatives, you may have just found him.)
My prediction is that Romney will rapidly fade, falling off the electoral map by January 3, no matter how much adrenaline snark Ann Coulter tries to inject into his campaign. Newt’s surge got a boost on Saturday, and Ron Paul will always have his rabid fans, so I think the chances are good that the results in Iowa will be 1. Newt, 2. Ron Paul, 3. Rick Perry.
Whether Perry can make a comeback will largely depend on how willing voters in the conservative movement are to continue to support Newt, a candidate they can only support by suspending rationality and sober analysis, and can only support by choosing a candidate based on outward appeal and rhetorical glitz rather than inner substance and conservative consistency. The one thing we know: it’ll get more interesting before it gets less interesting.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)