By Ken Feltman
Newt Gingrich’s rise in the polls reflects his positive attributes: Debating skills, detailed policy analysis and that old GOP favorite, bashing the media. His fall will accentuate his negatives, just as the ups and downs of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry have shown. Gingrich has a lot stuffed in his closet, ready to tumble out, messy and sometimes titillating.
But Gingrich’s round trip, like the others, will be less about Gingrich and more about Mitt Romney. Romney just does not excite enough voters who participate in the Republican primaries and caucuses. He is lukewarm among independents. The Republicans – and the moderates and the wavering Democrats – long for someone they can trust not to disappoint them or implode. Romney does not pass the first of those tests for conservatives.
How ironic it would be if all the debates and media scrutiny, designed to produce the most viable and vetted Republican candidate, deadlocked and led to frantic efforts to entice other candidates into the contest after the early primaries or even produced a brokered convention. Then someone like Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels would have a harder time saying no and we might wonder why we ever tried to reform the process.