Monday, January 23, 2012

Lessons learned from South Carolina Republican Primary

Someone wrote after the South Carolina primary: “More analysis: I am expecting both the establishment and the Left to absolutely crucify Newt now that he is no longer written off as a has been.”

But see that’s the difference. We are so accustomed to candidates who just stand there and allow themselves to be pummeled and do nothing about it. The GOP has low expectations, and I still think is afraid — like the Stockholm Syndrome — of the news media.

Newt may be far from perfect.

The fact that so few candidates have learned these lessons narrows the circle of GOP candidates who can take on the assault and win, and over come it.

But Newt is not going to offer a stationary target, allow the artillery to get the range, and just sit their and take incoming artillery shells.

It would be better if we had a candidate who (a) knew how to fight but (b) did not need to defend himself on so many issues.

But Newt knows how to make his critic hurt MORE than his critic hurts him.

What happened with CNN John King v. Newt Gingrich is that Newt transformed a CLEAR LOSER, and a very BAD attack, into a WIN.

He didn’t just survive the barrage.

He converted a bad thing into a good thing. He actually gained ground by an attack that would have devastated most other candidates. He profited from the attacks.

So what distinguishes Newt from the typical candidate is that he is going to *PROFIT* politically from many of the attacks on him, and make his attacker hurt worse than the attacker hurts Newt.

NOTE: Mitt Romney did the same thing with Bain Capital, and almost destroyed Newt heading into the debates. Romney probably should have sunk the knife in.

Romney’s team converted the questions about Bain Capital into a NET BENEFIT by claiming that Newt and Santorum were adopting a left-wing view of economics and talking like liberals who did not understand business and want government regulation of everything. For a while, Romney was clobbering Newt and Santorum on that theme. Romney was actually GAINING more than he was losing on that theme. Had Romney been able to milk that issue a little further, he might have nipped Newt in the bud in SC.

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