The last two months have been nothing but magical for Newt Gingrich. His rise in the polls has been nothing short of amazing. The huge number of debates have played to his strengths. Even if Herman Cain had not self destructed, it is hard not to believe he would be on top polls now, regardless.
But, could he be about to blow Iowa?
Back in May, Newt lost his staff. Most of them were Rick Perry’s people anyway and when Perry decided to get back in they not only left Gingrich but did as much damage to his campaign as they could.
That left him in the position of not only being the candidate but being the field general for his campaign as well. That is actually something that plays to his strengths so it was not necessarily a bad thing.
But now, he is in the lead and the time for the Iowa caucuses is on us.
The Iowa Caucuses are a different animal.
Iowa is very dependent on consumer politics. Iowa wants the people out there, in the small meetings, pressing the flesh and making appearances. It also requires a significant infrastructure.
The secret to winning Iowa is mobilizing people and getting them to the caucuses. Barack Obama came from nowhere in 2008 to do this. Some people also claim that Obama bussed in voters from near by Chicago, but we know this cannot be true. After all Chicago Democrats never engage in election fraud, do they?
Iowa could be crucial for Gingrich. There is a lot of upside for him and little down.
The problem Gingrich has is he is so late in rising that he does not have the ground team in Iowa that other candidates have. He is also not spending money on advertising in Iowa either. Other candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, are savaging him. It is amusing to hear self-described “Progressive” Mitt Romney complain that Gingrich isn’t conservative enough.
One of the truisms of politics is either you define yourself or you let the other guy define you. If Gingrich is not careful, the other side is going to define him.
Iowa does present a great opportunity for Gingrich. If he can win Iowa, win New Hampshire or virtually tie Romney in what is essentially his home state, go and win South Carolina and then win Florida, the race could be over.
The races before Super Tuesday are not winner take all races. The delegates are awarded proportionally. However, if Gingrich can win all four, the money and the support will be behind him.
A second or even third place finish in Iowa is not fatal to Gingrich. It is a ding, but not even a bad one. The danger for Gingrich is that it keeps the primary season alive and it keeps Mitt Romney in the game.
Mitt Romney is the worst and lowest form of politician. He wants to be President for one reason. He wants to feed his ego. It is the ultimate trophy for him.
Gingrich, whether you like him or not, outlines the vision for a conservative revolution in Washington. He wants to be President for a larger purpose.
The longer Mitt Romney’s campaign remains alive, the longer Romney’s team can use the dirty tricks they are well known for.
And the longer the campaign goes on, the chance remains that self-admitted “Progressive” Mitt Romney will end up as the GOP nominee.