A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Convention

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Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina Republican primary.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, fresh from his win — er, loss — er, tie — with Rick Santorum in Iowa, dropped the proverbial house on the field in his part-time home State of New Hampshire. Following his Granite State triumph, Romney rolled into South Carolina wearing his new title of “presumptive nominee.”

Then, the Romney Express missed the curve and slammed face-first into the wall at full speed. Normally, conservatives would cheer the defeat of the only-marginally-better-than-Barack-Obama Romney. Unfortunately, normal didn’t make the trip to the Palmetto State. Instead of a candidate who can untangle America from the Gordian knots of Obama’s hyper-liberal Administration, South Carolinians handed their delegates to Newt Gingrich. You’ll pardon me if I seem less than enthused.

The news gets worse. Gingrich’s beat down of his rivals touched off a tsunami of second-guessing among the GOP establishment. Now, a party that was ready to hand the crown and scepter to Romney has skipped the off-ramp and accelerated down Unnecessarily Protracted and Bloody Nomination Fight Freeway. With Florida’s cache of delegates looming on the horizon, ex-Sunshine State Governor Jeb Bush has announced that he will reserve his endorsement. Certainly, Bush is as much a bellwether for the neocon wing of the Republican Party as anyone outside a certain Crawford, Texas, ranch. So the Republican candidates will spend months and millions of dollars going toe-to-toe while Obama waits, counting his multimillionaire cronies’ cash and further crushing the Nation’s hopes.

To add insult to injury, Gingrich led a field which included Romney in second and Santorum in third. Congressman Ron Paul, who remains the only candidate unblemished by political gamesmanship, Obamacare-type governmental intrusions, ties with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, million-dollar dances with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae or worse, could manage only a fourth-place showing.

It strikes me that the GOP has forgotten the lesson the voters issued in 2010. Americans did everything short of handing pink slips to the entire Democratic Party. Had Obama faced re-election in November 2010, he would have been back to “community organizing” by January 2011. I am as mystified by the idea of an incremental return to mediocrity as I am by the idea that Obama’s ratings are any higher than those of MSNBC’s nightly freak show. Gingrich, Romney and Santorum to win, place and show in South Carolina? Need I remind anyone of liberty’s lost year of 2008? Should someone drag John McCain back into the ring?

The lone positive postcard from the Palmetto State is the apparent reluctance of Republican voters nationwide to simply hand the Oval Office keys to the latest RINO, to push his way to the front of the herd. Gingrich may have won a resounding victory in South Carolina, but he’s a far cry from the promised land. A Romney victory in Florida might well place Gingrich on the shelf with Rick Perry; crossing his fingers for a Vice Presidential bid. Santorum will run onward, but seems unlikely to visit the winner’s circle again after his did-he-or-didn’t-he win in Iowa. And Paul must wait — perhaps for a brokered convention in Tampa, Fla.

Obama’s tenure has been — to put it gently — an unmitigated disaster. In 2010, America called out for meaningful change, not the bumper-sticker babble that carried Obama to victory in 2008. Should the Republicans force the electorate to choose between the lesser of two evils in 2012, perhaps defeat is what they deserve.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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