Really not sure whether front-running Republican hopeful and eternal flip-flopper Mitt Romney has really done his campaign a lot of good with his not so subtle dig at the thrice-married Newt Gingrich in his current campaign ad. One political pundit analyses the vid and concludes that it might help Romney by focusing unforgiving conservative attention on the issue of 'character', but could backfire when the issue of 'stability' quickly translates from personal stability to political stability. There, says 'Allahpundit", Romney quickly sinks and Gingrich becomes most favoured candidate.
But as Gingrich becomes the most likely conservative alternative to Romney, there is some talk that a Gingrich-Obama contest could be a great ideological stand-off, focusing on genuine policy differences and with detailed back-up, rather than just rhetorical generalisations. The 'New Republic' pundit Michael Kazin posits just this situation, noting that Gingrich is determined to challenge Obama to lengthy debates. Policy might just hold the field in this putative contest.
That all assumes Gingrich's oft described 'colourful' private life can be kept off the burner. He might have less trouble from an Obama campaign on that score than from his own conservative supporters - the Washington Post reports continuing questions from Republican leaders about Gingrich's ability to steer a campaign that could focus on his 'personal life'. They're also concerned that Gingrich is not easily docketed as a straightforward Tea Party supporter.
I like the idea of a Gingrich candidacy. He's different, trenchant, original, intelligent and turns the identikit candidate notion on its head. And it really would be good to see someone whose flaws have been so publicised overcome the negative effects of such publicity; it could mark a real turning point in media reportage.
Hat-Tip to Andrew Sullivan's always excellent Daily Dish for the Allahpundit and Kazin links. Now, here's Mitt's smug little video ad -