1. I’m back home.
2. For those who doubt those who doubt the sincerity of Gingrich’s indignation, let’s look at what Gingrich said at the debate and after. He said that he was “appalled” that moderator King made the ex-wife story the first question and went on that making the story a major question in a presidential debate is “as close to despicable as anything I can imagine” and then went on to say that he was “frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.” Then, after the debate, Gingrich said that the moderator did a “great job” and that he was “direct and tough.” Now it is possible that Gingrich really was furious at the beginning and that he became elated as the debate went on and figured some oily flattery of CNN would be a good idea. People are complicated. But people who look at the combination of Gingrich’s reactions and see a phony have their reasons. Though it must be said that the idea that Gingrich’s opposite reactions were both equally sincere is more plausible than his past assertion that Freddie Mac paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a historian who told them that their business model is a joke.
3. Gingrich’s surge is based on an illusion about Gingrich and Obama. It is a power fantasy that Gingrich will get Obama in a debate and America’s eyes will be opened and liberalism will be destroyed across the land and that America will respond to Gingrich’s denunciations of Obama the way the South Carolina Republican crowd responded to Gingrich’s attack on Ed King. For the illusion of Obama’s weakness, people might want to look at Obama’s debate performances against Alan Keyes and Gingrich’s debate performance against Ralph Nader. Gingrich would be at best mediocre and maybe a disaster having to debate Obama for the support of persuadable voters. Luckily the campaign is going to expose Gingrich as vulnerable in debate as the focus goes back to Gingrich’s record and weaknesses. He is still vulnerable for all the reasons that caused him to tank right before Iowa. Hardly anybody thinks he is a really good guy. Some fraction of the voting public have bought into the idea of his invincibility. They will drop him again when he shows that he is human in future debates as the other candidates focus their fire on him. It won’t happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen. Again.
4. I sure hope Santorum stays in because the voters that drop Gingrich will be looking for somewhere to go. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to have any kind of strong fundraising base and retail politics gets less useful as you get into Florida and the later primaries. He also seems to be getting little or no support from the office holding elites of the Republican Party. He has gotten some support from social conservative activists, but it has been scattered.