On the subject of primaries, voters and surprised (and even aghast) pundits, I’m with Jim Treacher: “Come on, everybody. Admit you have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. It’s not so bad. I kind of like it, actually.”
I also agree with Michael Walsh on the specifics of the Romney/Gingrich matchup in South Carolina. Whatever Newt’s failings – as a congressman, as a husband, as a man – he does, indisputably, excel at articulating important intellectual concepts and injecting passion into them (he’s also good at connecting with the base in its long-simmering contempt for the obvious liberal biases of the legacy media). In contrast, Romney’s well-groomed and calculated ambivalence makes him look (to borrow from, and mangle, Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s comment on Thomas Dewey) like one of the grooms on a gay wedding cake. Ok, so he’s Not Obama; is he sufficiently Not Obama to be able to convince the voters that he will make a positive difference? Myself, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Romney would be a better president than Obama; the question is, can he convince primary voters that he’d be a better president than Gingrich? That’s Romney’s big challenge going into Florida.