I read that MSNBC political pundit Chris Matthews said that the right won a victory in the GOP contest with Newt Gingrich’s shellacking of Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary Saturday (meaning that Romney represents the more moderate wing). But now I wonder: might this be full circle for the right wing?
Barry Goldwater began it all in the 1964 race when he was the nominee, beating out the liberal or moderate or both elements of the Republican Party. Ever since then the party has been under the thumb of the hard right (even though the presidents it has had have not really been so far to the right as is often suggested, I would argue). In the 1964 election, Goldwater went down to defeat at the hands of Democrat Lyndon Johnson in the largest, or one of the largest, political landslides ever. If Gingrich is the nominee, might he succumb to the same fate?
But then again, how far to the right is Gingrich? I think his record shows that he is capable of taking many positions on the same issues, depending upon the circumstances. He actually may be more like Romney than he is given credit for.
At any rate, there does seem to be much disarray in the Republican ranks this time around. I actually think it is good for both Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans might be able to free their party from the stranglehold of the far right (even if they remain essentially conservative) and the Democrats may get the president re-elected.
ADD 1: Well now isn’t this ironic? I now recall that Goldwater used to pride himself in being different; He was not another “me too” guy, as he put it. Now after posting this comparison between the Gingrich and Goldwater phenomena, I see on the web, so has everyone else — and I thought I was original. There really is nothing new under the sun. Guess I’m just another “me too” guy this time around.
What follows is really my just previous post — my initial reaction to the Gingrich win in South Carolina:
I blog a lot about politics, but politics or blogging is not my job, just kind of a pastime, an interest. I must confess, I didn’t even realize that South Carolina’s primary was on a Saturday (I was thinking Tuesday).
But anyway it is or was and since it is an open primary, I’m wondering if Democrats were allowed to vote. Might they have helped Newt Gingrich win (dirty trick, and if so it might backfire, I would suppose)?
ADD 1: I thought I saw an article on that. Just read it again and it said all voters, regardless of party affiliation, can vote in the S.C. primary, so I don’t know what effect, if any, that could have had.
Gingrich did win, and oh what an upset. I think up until the last few days Romney and his supporters and many observers may have thought he, Romney, had the momentum. But Newt is a Southern boy and he found a new trick too — take on the media. And I actually almost hate the term “media” because I think it primarily connotes the attitude of people who think the news should be reported in a certain way, a way in which they agree with, which is not to say that there is no bias in news coverage and that people don’t have a right to object to that. Nonetheless, a lot of the ill will among the general public focuses around the term “media” as if there was some central, and liberal/socialist, force pulling the strings. So I guess to counter that there is FOX News, which makes a mockery out of journalism by constantly focusing on the modern right-wing agenda, but I digress.
This is the first time in my memory that the Republican nomination race has been remotely interesting. I don’t recall now what it was like when Barry Goldwater got the nomination — I was in high school and I followed it somewhat, but don‘t recall details, except we were told that in our hearts we knew he was right — but I think I have read he was kind of a sacrificial lamb because the Democrat Lyndon Johnson had the momentum because he had taken over for a fallen president.
Gingrich claims that he is the best debater and that is what the Republicans will need to beat President Barack Obama.
I indeed do think a debate or debates between those two would be a good match, but I also think the electorate as a whole, including all parties and independents, might be looking for substance over flourish or cleverness this time around — but I could be wrong.
Maybe if Newt continues to growl at the moderators or his questioners the public will be so caught up in the fervor to hate the “media” that he will win hands down.
And meanwhile, Mitt Romney could find that just like one-time super rich senatorial candidate in California Michael Huffington found out, all your wealth will not buy you an election.
But, then again, even with its track record for projecting winners, South Carolina is not America as a whole. And Gingrich has a penchant for getting carried away — for running his mouth just a little too much.
It’s going to be fun to watch.
The late Sen. Goldwater of Arizona is often called the father of the modern conservative movement. But if he were alive today he would be booted out for being too liberal.
Romney also lost because there is a big evangelical Christian voting block in South Carolina and many of them don’t think his Mormon mysticism is compatible with their brand of mysticism (I just had to say that — please Lord do not strike me dead — the Devil made me do it).