The Iowa Caucuses will be held four weeks from today and Newt Gingrich is lapping the field. Recent polls show that Newt has surged to a 15 point lead in Iowa and 18 points in South Carolina; nearly doubling runner-up, Mitt Romney. Never in the history of the Republican Party has a candidate with so much baggage pulled off such a remarkable resurrection.
Newt’s meteoric rise in the polls has generated a mixed response from within the Republican Party. “Establishment Republicans”, who know Newt, fear that his candidacy would be a disaster and would ultimately destroy the party. They see Newt’s personal failings and bombastic personality as easy pickings for the Democrats. They see attack ads playing some of Newt’s more outrageous and incendiary comments followed by the question: “Is this the man you want negotiating with China or going toe to toe with Iran?” There are already rumblings from “establishment Republicans” with big money that Newt’s candidacy would signal the need for a brokered convention with hopes of attracting a Jeb Bush or Chris Christie into the fray.
But the rank and file Republican voters see another side of Newt. They see the guy who spearheaded the first Republican control of the congress in a generation. They see the guy who as Speaker passed Welfare Reform and balanced the budget. And they see a guy who, unlike Romney, they believe can go toe to toe with Obama in a debate.
With only 30 days until the caucuses the Newt campaign is snowballing and rolling rapidly downhill toward Iowa. Mitt Romney needs to figure out how to stop it before it runs him over.