There is a famous scene from the classic high school movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” from the early 1980’s in which one of the characters, Dimone, said that another character, Ratner, is a wussy. This was the first time I had ever heard that word and I thought it was funny. Ratner replies, “What’s a wussy?” Dimone responds “half wimp, half pussy.” Well, unfortunately, that is my opinion as to why Newt Gingrich is soaring to the top of the polls whether you like it or not. He is the only one of the three main candidates left that is not a wussy.
This wussy factor played in the 1980 campaign in which Bush, Sr. took on Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. At that time, Bush had the wussy factor and he could not overcome it. He was seen as the elitist northeasterner. Reagan, on the other hand, was the gun slinging western bad ass who could take on the commies and the problems facing America. We all know what happened there. Reagan got the nomination and the rest is history.
Then, in 1988, after eight years of the Reagan revolution, Bush, Sr. ran again, this time as the heir apparent. The wussy factor was gone. He could state he was the follow-up to the Great Communicator and, who could forget his bold declaration, “Read my lips, no new taxes!” At that point, we all knew this was a man’s man. (Of course that promise turned out to be a lie and Mr. Bush failed in his re-election bid in 1992).
Unfortunately for Romney and the mainstream Republican Party, we have the wussy factor coming into play again and Gingrich is playing it to the hilt. Don’t you just get the impression that when Romney speaks, he either doesn’t believe what he is saying or he just doesn’t have the guts to fight about it. Plain and simple, he is a wussy. And, the public has finally figured it out. In fact, the latest polls show the Romney campaign is in a tailspin and that is not even taking into account that his tax returns show the man had Swiss bank accounts until 2010. Just wait until that one hits the mainstream in full force. Up until now, he was clean and a wussy. Now, people won’t be too sure about him being clean. He will just be a wussy.
The same thing is also true of Rick Santorum. When he makes a point, it’s the same as Romney. There is no conviction or fight in his tone. He’s just talking. Whether he believes it or not, he is not going to instill that confidence necessary in the electorate to get him the nomination: again the wussy factor.
This is not that case with Newt Gingrich. Gingrich with all of his baggage and all of his past political screw-ups that were carefully laid out in my colleague Tim Ross’s column on Monday, “Anyone but Newt,” is currently leading in all major polls. In fact, he is soaring to new heights that only he could possibly screw up himself at this point. And, usually when he is the front runner, he does tend to screw up.
Newt is not a wussy, plain and simple. Newt is a man’s man. Newt is the gunslinger from the deep south. Newt is the fighter that will take on Barack Obama and either bury him politically or die trying himself. And, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where you stand right now, that is what the Republican Grass Roots wants. They want a fighter whether he win or lose in November. They do not want a wussy.
This has got the mainstream of the party literally freaking out. Since Saturday after the South Carolina primary, I have heard numerous times on Fox News and many other media outlets that if Gingrich wins in Florida, the mainstream of the party will openly abandon Romney and start looking for an alternative to Newt. In other words, all hell will break loose and we probably will have the dreaded brokered convention.
However, if that happens, Newt will continue to fight because that’s just what he is and God help the Party if they draft another wussy to take him on.