Lessons from South Carolina



The political chattering classes were SHOCKED and SURPRISED about Newt Gingrich’s win in The Palmetto State’s primary.  I wasn’t.  I saw the pre-vote debates, and noted the audience reaction to Newt.  I talked to some people south of the border, and noticed the last-minute positioning of some key state-level political players.  All signs were pointing to a rough road for Romney and a good day for Gingrich.

Now, for some post-game analysis:

1. The chattering classes, for the most part,  have NO IDEA what they are talking about.   Just about all of those people on the cable news shows — left, right and alleged mainstream — were predicting either a Romney runaway or a close Romney-Gingrich 1-2 finish.  (We GOT Gingrich in a rout.)  These people all attend the same elitist cocktail parties and merely repeat and recycle each other’s gossip and opinion.  It’s likely that most of them have never met an unelected, average, run-of-the-mill resident of South Carolina.  (I heard one idiot talking head on a cable news show suggest that many South Carolina voters would have to cut their cockfights and banjo practices short so they could go vote.) 

2. Newt was the perfect capitalist. He gave the people what they wanted.  Santorum did the same thing in Iowa.  He had the advantage over Newt there because he practically moved in to the state.  Rick spent a lot more time there than anyone else, and it paid off.  Romney won New Hampshire because he is a known quantity there.  A lot of his supporters in Massachusetts have fled to New Hampshire since he stepped down as governor.

Rewind to 2010. Remember the huge marches and rallies in Washington?  Remember the angry confrontations with Members of Congress?  That anger is STILL there, and it is boiling over.   Romney reminds people too much of John McCain — play nice, be civil, don’t say BarryO’s middle name, don’t attack Barry or those gosh-darned independents will be miffed.  Then lose by A LOT.

The folks in The Tea Party want the Tony Soprano management style: You wanna raise taxes, Dingy Harry?  I DON’T THINK SO !!!   *WHACK*

Or maybe it’s more like Reagan running against Jimmy Carter in 1980:  “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job.  A depression is when you lose your job.  A recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his job!”

Give the people what they want.

3.  Instead of mocking Newt or the voters, learn from what he’s doing.   The establishment is frustrated.  They have been trying to shove Romney down our throats for months now, and the people are not swallowing it. It disappoints me that Ann Coulter is SO in the tank for Romney.  Here’s what she had to say about the South Carolina results:

“Apparently, South Carolinians would rather have the emotional satisfaction of a snotty remark toward the president than to beat Obama in the fall,” Coulter, the author of “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America,” said. “We saw it in the debates when Gingrich would say things that didn’t really make sense. That is what you usually associate with Democrats, which I described in my last book, ‘Demonic,’ how mobs behave.”

Um, Ann, have you READ any of your books or columns?  (Miss Kettle, YOU are black.)

My take on current events is that people are clamoring toward Newt’s approach, more than Newt the man.  Early polling, following the SC results, shows Newt with 41% to Mitt’s 32%.  It is looking like deja vu all over again. Ann and the rest of the chattering classes are going to get even angrier.

In business, when your competitor is beating you senseless, you analyze what he’s doing right, then integrate those tactics into your game plan.  If you want President Romney — he needs to give the people what they want.

We’ve got two paths here.  The establishment can keep up the “my way or the highway” attitude, and we’ll have a bitterly-divided party going into the general election like in 1964.  Our country is currently in a situation strikingly similar to 1980. If the party comes together behind an aggressive, conservative alternative to the incumbent, we can have similar results to 1980.