Let me begin by putting my cards on the table. I adore Ann Coulter. After all, what’s not to love? She is beautiful, smart, funny, and conservative. She is always right about the left and she is usually right about the right. But her analysis of why Gingrich won South Carolina is not only wrong, it’s wrong to the point of placing her firmly in camp of those who are actually helping fuel the Newt surge.
On Sunday’s edition of “Fox and Friends” Coulter opened her diatribe against South Carolina by saying, “Apparently, South Carolina would rather have the emotional security of a snotty remark toward the president than to beat Obama in the fall.” She followed by accusing the “tea party crowd” of loving the name calling while ignoring Gingrich’s past. She ended with a flourish saying, “With Gingrich you throw out the baby and keep the bath water!”
The only baby being thrown out here is Mitt Romney. His moderate, rehearsed, milk toast, methodical answers in the debates sound like they were written in some political spin room by professional politicians who know how to turn a phrase but are clueless when it comes to turning out the base. Obama bamboozled the American electorate and we are in no mood for another slick politician who has perfect hair, the perfect answer to every question, and who happens to be the next establishment candidate in line.
If Ann Coulter thinks the presidential election of 2012 will be won by the dispassionate, robotic approach of Mitt Romney she is greatly mistaken. The American people are angry. We are tired of being lied to by the left and by their mouthpieces in most of the mainstream media. We are done with politicians who refuse to boldly speak the truth and then back it up with some genuine passion. We are through with small ideas and a middle of the road mentality that beats a hasty retreat every time one of the elite, ruling class says, “boo.”
I was present at the Fox News Republican debate in Myrtle Beach the Monday night before the South Carolina primary. I knew the election was turning when the crowd erupted with emotion at Gingrich’s impassioned exchange with Juan Williams. In a moment, Gingrich captured the rage of decent Americans who have had about all of the left wing grandstanding and moderate soft talk we can stand. He stood up and spoke out with clarity, not compromise, and just about every person in the house stood up with him. Maybe the response of the crowd wasn’t reasonable but it was real. It may not have been well thought out but it was felt throughout America.
There were clear winners and losers both coming out of and remaining in South Carolina. A clear loser that remains is Governor Nikki Haley. She gave Mitt Romney her endorsement, campaigned with him, and invested all of her political capital toward a Romney victory. For Romney to lose by over 12 points with many of those points representing tea party votes is an embarrassment for someone whose political fortune is clearly tied to the tea party movement.
The losers coming out of South Carolina include Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Ron Paul lost because he expected a third place finish in South Carolina and he finished fourth. Romney lost because his pathway to the nomination, which is being paved by the Republican establishment, ran headlong into the Tea Party. In her attacks on South Carolinians and their way of thinking Ann Coulter seems to forget that the historic takeover of the House of Representatives by Republicans in 2010 was fueled by Tea Party Patriots and not by status quo Republicans.
The winners out of South Carolina are Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Gingrich raised 1 million dollars in the 12 hours following the primary. He turned an 18-point polling deficit in Florida into a 9-point plus advantage. Can he sustain it? It depends. Romney will now have to go on the attack. Can he rise to meet Newt’s passion in the debates or will he continue his platitudes in the face of Newt’s reasoned attacks against the left and passionate defense of American excpetionalism. I suspect that Newt’s attacks against the media will have a short shelf life if he pursues them too often.
Santorum is a winner coming out of South Carolina because he was able to post a strong third place showing. As long as he stays in the top three he will continue to raise enough money to soldier on. His conservative message of traditional, evangelical, family values paired with fiscal conservatism and a strong understanding of America’s role as a leader in the world will continue to resonate. And who knows, if he hangs in there in this crazy, unpredictable political climate, the other candidates might take each other out giving Santorum a renewed chance of winning the nomination.
Dr. Tony Beam received his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Limestone College, Gaffney, SC, 1980; his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary, Wake Forest, NC., 1990; and his Doctor of Ministry from Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY, 2002. Dr. Beam is currently Director of Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University. Dr. Beam is Host of Christian World View Today, AM 660 from 7 - 8 a.m., Mon. - Fri.