Newt Gingrich, last night, forfeited his best chance to get a bounce out of his big victory in his adopted home state. At least since the Mesa, Arizona debate where, as Michael Barone put it, the former Speaker adopted a “grandfatherly” tone, “taking the long view on issues, agreeing congenially with other candidates quite often,” Newt has been less whiny than he had been after his defeats in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida. For a few weeks, we generally Newt the savvy conservative strategist, the man we have seen offering sage political commentary since he stepped down as Speaker and challenging the bias of the legacy media.
In making his remarks after he was declared the winner in the Peach State, however, Newt adopted his world-historical stance, speaking extemporaneously, convincing that every word he offered had last significance. Instead, he rambled on and on (and on and on). It seemed he was more interested in discussing the ins and outs of this campaign than in putting forward a conservative vision.
Had he done that, he might have positioned himself better for the coming contests. “Fox News analysts,” Charlie Spiering reported in the Washington Examiner, “ridiculed Newt Gingrich’s lengthy speech in Georgia, where declaring it a major comeback for his campaign“:
“It was just odd,” said the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayward. “It felt like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, reliving the exploits of his high school football game.”
“He made history,” Brit Hume deadpanned. “He gave the longest victory speech ever given by somebody who is 2-18 in the contest so far and one his political home state and the one next door.
Juan Williams said Gingrich was too self-absorbed.