Gingrich won the South Carolina primary not because of advertising, but rather because of his debate performances. Eighty-eight percent of South Carolina Republicans said the debates were important to making up their minds, and in the two key debates, Gingrich hit every GOP erogenous zone. He scolded Fox News's Juan Williams when Williams asked him about the dog-whistle language Gingrich uses to stir up racial stereotypes. Williams, the author of Eyes on the Prize, a respected history of the civil-rights movement, knows of what he speaks. But Gingrich knows his party's base, and the base loves both the coded language and attacking anyone who calls them on it.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Gleeful Democratic operative Paul Begala on the heart-clutching panic being experienced today by those Republicans who once had the idea that they might actually contend in November -- and on how Newt Gingrich confounded them all in the birthplace of the Confederacy: