The latest polls of the Republican presidential field show Newt Gingrich holding on to and in some instances, expanding his lead over Mitt Romney. Romney still holds a commanding lead in New Hampshire, but it’s been dramatically cut by in-roads from Gingrich over the past few weeks. The other candidates are well behind, and while it’s possible that Ron Paul (who’s running in third place in many early contests) or someone else could score, it’s unlikely to hold as the primary process drags on.
So, we’re looking at a two-man race, as most presidential primary contests usually become. Newt and Mitt: two men with incredible brains, talent and drive as well as some serious weakness. (None, however, as great as Obama’s fundamental destruction of America.)
With the Iowa caucuses just three weeks away, the heat is now on. What was until recently gentlemanly debate is already turning quickly into a political cage match. Both men are super-ambitious. Both men desperately want the nomination. Both men can taste the presidency.
And that’s why they must try to destroy the other so they can prevail. This is politics, which is brutal. But presidential politics is a bloodsport. Is either man prepared for it? Not really: Mitt is a gentleman uncomfortable with hitting opponents (yikes if he ends up facing Obama) and Newt is an effective bomb-thrower but unorganized and unfocused. He literally just set up his Iowa campaign headquarters about three weeks ago.
Each needs to go on offense against the other if they’re going to have any hope of beating the other. Don’t worry about them ripping into each other: it only makes the eventual candidate stronger. (Unless they commit political murder-suicide, in which case watch for another candidate to come up the middle.) Regardless, it’s better to get hit by your own side now, rather than experience it for the first time from the Democrats next year. If Romney and Gingrich can’t take the hits from each other now, how in the world are they going to deal with what Obama, Axelrod and Plouffe have ready?
Besides, the brutal and protracted primary contest between Obama and Hillary made him a tougher, better prepared candidate in the fall. And he won (God help us). So sit tight and let the process strengthen our candidates. They will be better for it, and so will we.
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