Earlier today I was talking to someone who had a take on Newt Gingrich that isn’t uncommon on the right side of the political spectrum these days: “I’d love for him to be the nominee — imagine how he’d crush Obama in a debate!”
Yeah, by our definition he might… but then what? Nobody thinks Obama is the president right now because he out-debated John McCain do they? I mean, maybe he did (RINOs aren’t exactly a debate challenge for liberals), but that’s not the reason he won. Obama won because because he wasn’t vetted, successfully sold the gullible on the concept of Xanadu and had a wink-wink nudge-nudge relationship with the “one-percent” that he demonizes in broad daylight and accepts huge campaign donations from behind closed doors.
When considering voting for Newt for no other reason that he would clean Obama’s clock in a debate, the words of the late William F. Buckley, Jr. are worth remembering:
“A good debater is not necessarily an effective vote-getter: you can find a hole in your opponent’s argument through which you could drive a coach and four ringing jingle bells all the way, and thrill at the crystallization of a truth wrung out from a bloody dialogue – which, however, may warm only you and your muse, while the smiling paralogist has in the meantime made votes by the tens of thousands.”
If being a kickass debater equated to success in gaining elected office, Buckley would have spent the late 1960’s as Mayor of New York City.
That said, it’d be great fun watching Gingrich debate Obama. But if I voted for Newt in the primary that wouldn’t be the reason.
Judging from the latest poll heading into the primary tomorrow, Republicans in South Carolina might want to see that debate. One thing’s for sure, the ABC News interview with Newt’s ex wife hasn’t ruined his chances… quite the opposite if anything.