Although it’s still early in the presidential campaign season, this go-round has already brought some surprises, especially from the GOP. We’ve seen Rick Perry’s debate debacle and the end of the Cain Train, but Newt Gingrich’s unlikely rise also befuddles many politicos. So what, indeed, is up with that? —KA
AP via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I can’t decipher what’s going on,” said Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., one the tea party’s best-known first-term lawmakers.
“I’ve had a little trouble figuring it out, too,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, one of Congress’ most conservative members.
Fueling the perplexity are three independent polls of Iowa Republicans, who will hold their caucus Jan. 3. They show Gingrich leading, with Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas battling for second, and four others trailing.
Republican elected officials and strategists offer an array of theories, with varying degrees of confidence.
One school holds that Gingrich articulates conservative positions so forcefully that he attracts hard-right voters willing to overlook his record of inconsistencies and foibles. While many people see Gingrich as a consummate Washington insider—making $1.6 million advising Freddie Mac, for instance—his sharply anti-Washington rhetoric and unorthodox views convince others that he’s willing to buck the system and make needed changes.