What Gingrich has going for him is that presidential elections are about something beyond gauzy biographical ads and rehearsed debate one-liners. “We’re in the personality phase of the campaign,” says Republican pollster David Winston, who worked for Gingrich when he was House speaker. “But eventually it’s going to move from personality to policy. GOP voters are going to ask, ‘What are your solutions to fix the nation’s problems?’ And that is the moment that plays to Newt’s greatest strength.”
Almost nine months before the scheduled date for the Iowa caucuses, it is difficult to predict what issues will frame the GOP conversation. Hint: Real issues involve more than predictably denouncing ObamaCare and demagoging the deficit. Not only can the external political environment change in an instant (yes, this is the obligatory Osama bin Laden reference), but odd issues can galvanize primary voters. At this point in 1995, no one imagined that the 1996 GOP campaign dialogue would be dominated by Steve Forbes’s advocacy of the flat tax.
Running for president involves more than running your resume up a flagpole and seeing who salutes. That future-oriented part of the conversation is what baffled candidates like Rudy Giuliani and Wesley Clark in 2004 for the Democrats. But from the days that he was over-enthusiastically touting what-comes-next thinkers like Alvin Toffler, Newt Gingrich has always been about the future. The former House speaker’s ideas may not always parse and sometimes have an amnesiac’s lack of consistency, but more than any Republican running (especially cautious candidates like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty) Gingrich is likely to ride the intellectual wave of the primaries.
Why Newt Gingrich Could Win The Republican Nomination For President | The New Republic