Thingish Things

John Podhoretz Nails It

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 31•12

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz hits it out of the park this morning with a piece entitled, “Mitt Passes the Trash Newt Test.” It made me say “exactly” aloud at my desk while reading it.

Mr. Podhoretz argues that many Republican voters turned to Newt Gingrich not because of his conservative bonafides — they are erratic — but because they believed the former Georgia congressman had the stuff to take it to President Obama in the general election.  He had the toughness Mr. Romney lacked, or so they thought.

But lo and behold, what has happened. Governor Romney has systematically eviscerated Mr. Gingrich along the campaign trail, and not just in television ads.  He has stood toe-to-toe with him, looked him in the eye, and called him out on things like his work for Freddy Mac. He gave up not one inch of ground when Mr. Gingrich huffed and puffed and blew back.

Writes Mr. Podhoretz: 

“Wanting your party’s candidate to demonstrate an instinct for the jugular is a leadership quality that would never turn up in polling data or in focus-group discussions. People know better than to say they want to know their guy can be an SOB when necessary, just as most politicians know it’s a problem if they come across as an unmitigated SOB.

“But the plain truth is that the willingness to confront a rival directly while looking him straight in the eye and saying some pretty harsh things, and the ability to withstand the counterattack and keep on with the assault, are qualities of toughness and perseverance every successful major politician must demonstrate.”

These pages have argued for some time that Newt Gingrich has only helped Mitt Romney in his bid to clinch the Republican nomination and become president.  But never so well as John Podhoretz writes it today. 

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