( – promoted by lowkell)
by Paul Goldman
If “all politics is local” as beloved House Speaker Tip O’Neill so brilliantly stated, then we need to view tonight’s results from South Carolina through a Virginia-centric prism. The polling trends say former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will score an upset victory. If so, this means that Ron Paul and Bob Marshall will be the big winners tonight, provided they know how to play the game.
150 years ago, another posse of angry South Carolinians dragged Virginia’s governing party into a fight it didn’t want, as the Palmetto State led the first wave of secession.
Now, all these generations later, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, head of the state’s ruling party, is down in South Carolina this morning trying to head off another revolt against a would-be Republican president. Only this time, the revolt is coming before the Republicans have settled on their candidate.
I ask you: When was the last time a Northerner cruised to victory in a GOP presidential primary in the Deep South? Never. Newt should know, he was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s Southern coordinator in 1968, proud of supporting the “liberal”!!!
Okay, Newt is right: It was 44 years ago. He’s changed, then changed again, and now changed the change. This time, he says he is sincere, in for the long haul. Right.
Better yet, when was the last time the GOP nominated a genuine Northerner for President?
1948: Governor Thomas Dewey of New York.
Last year, I got summoned to appear on national television to defend my co-authored, apparently controversial column predicting Mitt Romney had ZERO chance of becoming President based on an analysis of the historical data. ZERO as in nada, zilch, no way.
The article focused on Romney losing the general election, it didn’t offer a definitive comment on whether he could win the GOP presidential nomination (although it pointed out why the idea of Romney as the “inevitable” nominee had no historical basis given the data presented).
Nothing that has happened in Iowa, or New Hampshire, disputes that column’s prediction. The results tonight in South Carolina will likewise prove consistent no matter the outcome.
But if Gingrich wins tonight – by any margin – then the impact on the March presidential primary here in Virginia could be a game changer. And the blowback could easily continue all the way to the June U.S. Senate primary.
Admittedly, Gingrich’s rise in South Carolina is more anti-mainstream media than anti-establishment. It also is partly Romney being backed by the South Carolina Governor, while her nemesis, the Speaker of the House, is supporting Gingrich.
But in VA, the choice in the Republican presidential primary is capable of being turned into anti-establishment versus conservative rebel. For Ron Paul, that means he has a decent hope of creating this dynamic by election day if the campaigns of Gingrich/Santorum join with him, urging a vote for Paul as the only way to “send the pro-Romney establishment” a message.
What about Bob Marshall? Should he openly join in with the anti-establishment rebels should the opportunity develop? I ask: What other chance does he realistically have? He needs the Tea Party, anti-establishment rap big time by June. He doesn’t have the money or the stature that George Allen does. But a Paul/Gingrich/Santorum triad whipping up the revolt against McDonnell, etc. does.
Even if the revolt fails in March, a constituency has been created. Turnout in June will be far lower than in March. So, if the GOP base is stirred up in March, and if Marshall can figure out a way to reach them as they come to the polls, then he will become a credible contender.
Ron Paul and Bob Marshall are not in the hunt right this minute. But by later tonight, it could be a new ball game.