Many punters have compared Newt Gingrich to Winston Churchill, justifiably in my opinion. They both have the same larger than life personalities, the same lack of love from political colleagues, the same record as reformers, and the same checkered political history of wins and losses. So, in light of Rick Santorum’s barnstorming caucus victories in Colorado and Minnesota tonight, I can only repeat Churchill’s quote upon hearing the news of Pearl Harbor: “So we had won after all!” As I am imagining that is how Gingrich is feeling right now.
Santorum in many ways has just saved Gingrich’s campaign. He’s just put a huge puncture in Romney’s “inevitability” in a way that Gingrich himself could not have done. It throws Newt a lifeline to pursue his “Southern Strategy” on Super Tuesday and beyond – he can go hard in Georgia and Tennessee knowing that Santorum has the ability to kneecap Romney elsewhere. It also means that Virginia voters, seeing a real contest emerge, may catapult Ron Paul to victory there in an attempt to stop Romney. Both Santorum and Gingrich would be foolish not to endorse Paul there, either overtly or covertly. And Newt can perhaps resurrect his more positive and friendly campaigning style which worked for him so much better than the whiny and childish fits he has been prone to since Romney spent $15 million attacking him in Florida.
This race just got exciting again. If you were betting on Romney, I’d put a hold on it. The nominee could be any of these three guys, or could even be someone else. Don’t be surprised if we get to the convention in Tampa and the GOP has to put up Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin, simply because none of these guys get enough delegates.