(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section.)
Despite Mitt Romney’s strong showing recently, it should not be a foregone conclusion that he will win the South Carolina primary. It turns out that he didn’t even win the Iowa caucus. And after Newt Gingrich’s strong showing in the debate last night, it looks like Mitt might come in second place.
So let’s make the calls for South Carolina.
First place goes to Newt Gingrich. Newt gets a lot of mileage off of his rather combative retorts to questions during debates. He got a couple of standing ovations at last night’s debate when he took CNN’s John King to task after a question about the infidelity to his second wife (whose interview had just aired on ABC). He actually called King ‘despicable’. To be honest, King kind of asked for it. In a poorly worded question, King tossed Gingrich a piece of red meat which just happens to be Newt’s specialty. King brought up the subject of Marianne Gingrich’s interview and finished with the question, “Would you care to comment on that?”. At that moment he was in Newt’s wheelhouse.Newt used his classic bratty retort and curtly replied, “No.” and then tore into the standard conservative ‘liberal media’ bashing tirade. The audience went wild.
In some ways, King did a double disservice by asking the question right off the top of the debate. Not only was it a tabloid question to ask but by giving Newt the opportunity to eviscerate the media he allowed Gingrich to sidestep the intent behind the question; which was to call into question Gingrich’s character and qualifications to be President based on his past pattern of behaviour. It would be surprising if any journalist is brave enough to revisit the matter in the future.
Second place, not surprisingly, goes to Mitt Romney. Romney had fallen in the polls recently in light of his tepid debate performance. Several of the other candidates took Romney to task over his tax returns. I expect he’ll place close to Gingrich.
Finally, Ron Paul reluctantly places third. I say reluctantly because South Carolinans appear to dislike Paul but his poll numbers have remained steady even rising a little after Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman exited the race.
And then there is Herman Cain. Or rather Stephen Colbert masquerading as Cain (see previous article for details). It’s unclear how much support Cain/Colbert will receive particularly since Colbert is a native son and South Carolina is an open primary that Democrats and independents can participate in. It would not be surprising to see Cain/Colbert oust Ron Paul from third place. With all of the volatility that has occurred in just the past two days it’s a fair bet that the unexpected could happen.
(Ed. Note: This article was submitted via the author’s smart phone since a winter storm in his home state has knocked the power out for two days and counting. It may be revised later in the day if power is restored)
- Raising Cain in South Carolina (538refugees.wordpress.com)