Other than the fact that Barack Obama and his top campaign staff will need medical attention for the priapism they develop, what would happen if Newt wins the Florida primary, as the polls currently suggest he will do? Former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt predicts an apocalypse:
Not only are we not moving toward a coalescing of support with the establishment of Newt Gingrich, we’re probably moving toward a declaration of war on Newt Gingrich by the Republican establishment. And if Newt Gingrich is able to win the Florida primary, you will see a panic and a meltdown of the Republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the English language. People will go crazy.
And you will have this five week period until the Super Tuesday states that will be just as unpredictable, tumultuous as any period in modern American politics. It will be a remarkable thing to watch, should that happen in Florida…
I think everybody in the establishment Republican circles in Washington D.C. is fixated on the numbers we talked about earlier. Newt Gingrich has a 100% name ID, has a 60% national unfavorable number and it’s a number so high that with the 100% name ID it’s impossible to come back from. You’re not electable in a general election, in a 2012 presidential election, if your unfavorable numbers are that high. Particularly against a president, that while vulnerable, is still a net positive in that number. So people look at Newt Gingrich and don’t see him as a plausible candidate in the general election, so the Republican establishment who thinks that the president is vulnerable and beatable is going to begin to melt down if Gingrich’s momentum continues.
Also something important to remember there are 33 House Republicans in districts that Barack Obama won. What is the impact in terms of Republicans being able to keep the House of Representatives in majority control if Newt Gingrich was the nominee of the party? What is the impact in the United State Senate races where Republicans have a great chance of taking majority control of the United States Senate. With Newt Gingrich as the nominee of the party, that is, perhaps, all up in the air.
Josh Marshall echoes that sentiment:
It would be quite difficult for Newt Gingrich to beat President Obama. The bigger story is that he would likely devastate the congressional Republican party. He’d probably weigh down the GOP up and down the ticket. And that puts the whole thing in much sharper relief for Republican officeholders, committee chairs and money folks.
If I’m right about that, that means they have to and will do virtually everything possible now to crush Gingrich and make Romney the nominee.
Marshall thinks Gingrich wins Florida but that the Romney machine will eventually “grind him down.” I think so too. But Daniel Larison says, “Gingrich isn’t going to be the nominee. The Republican primary electorate can’t be that stupid.” Such naivete. Of course they can be. I’m gonna need more popcorn.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: