As I write this, Newt is doing well in the polls. Earlier this year, it looked like Newt was done, but he has managed to apparently get back into the game. Of course, it is important to note that he has made gains as the other candidates have suffered losses in popularity. The polls do not seem to have a “none of the above” option, so perhaps his surge is simply do the fall of the others. That is, it is not so much that more people are really hot for Newt-it is just that they will check the Newt box in preference to the alternatives.
The general pattern for the Republicans has been a surge from one candidate followed by a fall after some self inflicted injury or other problem. Given this pattern, it is not unreasonable to expect Newt to last but a little while before he is brought down (or brings himself down). Newt does have a lot of established baggage and the media has been exposing more recent apparent problems, such as his multi-million dollar involvement with Fannie Mae. Naturally, he is trying to spin these problems and is being aided by the fine folks at Fox (while the merry minions at MSNBC go after him).
While Newt is clearly a person who has some dubious ethics, he is also a smart guy and a very experienced Washington insider. He is well connected to the established political machinery and has plenty of ties with big money. That is, he is a classic old school politician who knows the game and has the resources to play it well.
Give Newt’s abilities and resources, he does seem to have a chance of getting the nomination. Although Romney has been consistent in the polls (mainly because Romney has not done anything stupid on camera), Romney is not beloved by the base. With some shrewd political moves and some self-control (Newt has often proven to be his own worst enemy) Newt could squeak ahead enough to beat out Romney. In that case, I would expect to see Romney as the VP candidate. Another possibility is Romney as the presidential candidate and Newt as the VP.
Newt would stand up well against Obama in debates and Newt is generally adept at handling damage control. However, he would need to keep a tight rein on himself. But, I would be willing to say that he would have a shot at it. Obama would, obviously enough, easily defeat Perry, Bachmann or Cain in an actual debate. After all, they seem quite adept at defeating themselves-Obama would probably merely have to stand there and observe the self-destruction. Newt though is amphibian of a different stripe-he would stand up ably to Obama and could do quite well.
If Newt were elected, he would most likely be an old school politician in the way he would handle things. Newt knows how to use politics to his own enrichment and advantage and it seems reasonable that he would function as president much as he did as speaker. Given his experience as an insider and his intellectual abilities (plus what appears to be a lawful evil alignment) he would probably do quite well as a mostly pragmatic president. He would also parlay his election into massive personal gain after he left office-Newt is no fool and is in it to win it (for Newt).
That said, Newt might just burn out and hit the ground, like the others before him.
So, what do you think of Newt’s chances?