If America's top hockey mom decides to make an endorsement in the Republican presidential primary, it doesn't sound like Mitt Romney will win that sweepstakes. (As Katie notes below, Palin's husband has decided to back Newt). Via Fox News:
Her logic is certainly worth considering. The Democrat/MSM playbook against Romney isn't an especially well kept secret. Cast him as an out of touch, greedy one-percenter who "likes being able to fire people." That would be the formula: craven blame shift and nuclear class warfare. If Republican voters believe that dual strategy will eclipse Obama's woeful record as president -- and that the Left's attacks against any of the the other GOP hopefuls will be less effective -- they ought to take that into account as they vote. Another consideration is which Republican campaign will be most adept at anticipating and countering attacks. On one hand, Romney has done a good job of parrying criticisms from his primary opponents in debates and has demonstrated the ability to unrelentingly make Obama the issue. On the other hand, is Team Romney prepared for the avalanche of Bain blowback -- fair and unfair -- that the Left is preparing to unleash? We know they've got at least one rebuttal down pat: That three Bain-backed companies alone created over 100,000 American jobs. But as Jim Pethokoukis points out, those figures only go so far, and the Romney campaign will need to do better. This is a meaningful admonition, particularly in light of today's Wall Street Journal examination of Bain's dealings (verdict: mixed), which Kevin addressed earlier.
My one quibble with Palin's assessment is the notion that the unholy Democrat/MSM alliance has handled Mitt with kid gloves so far. The Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee have almost exclusively punched at Romney throughout this process, and the much-lampooned "Attack Watch" feature has morphed into a drumbeat of negativity about the former Massachusetts Governor. Lefty media and outside groups are hopping on board, too. Chris Matthews has obviously gotten the memo, as have Reuters and MoveOn.org. So it hasn't been a cake walk for Romney thus far, but Palin is certainly correct that the flame will burn much hotter if he clinches the nomination.
Gingrich also told The Brody File that with regards to New Hampshire, “If he’s under 40 percent in one of his three strongest states, he has a big problem about trying to communicate why he should be the nominee.”
This is a smart play. At least one major poll has detected a downward trend in Romney's New Hampshire numbers, even as he continues to lead:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s lead in New Hampshire has dropped by 10 points in the last five days, but he’s still the clear frontrunner in the Granite State, according to a Suffolk University/7News poll released this morning. Romney retains support among 33 percent of likely voters for a 13-point lead ahead of second-place Ron Paul, who commands support from just 20 percent of likely voters. Jon Huntsman comes in third at 13 percent, Newt Gingrich fourth at 11 percent and Rick Santorum fifth at 10 percent.
I'll leave you with this movie trailer from a pro-Newt super PAC, which might as well have been ripped directly from Democrats' perverse class envy hymnal. Newt has expressed a great deal of indignation over (mostly) accurate attacks from a Romney super PAC, which at least hit the former Speaker from the Right in a Republican primary. This "first rate hackery" just shameful:
Remember, that material was created by supposed conservatives. Newt isn't directly responsible for this content, but his supporters are, and he's promoted this film during recent debates and campaign appearances. Romney's record has many flaws (as Ramesh Ponnuru asks, why not make a devastating 30 minute movie about Romneycare?), but hammering a Republican for the wealth he's earned is very ugly. Especially coming from a guy who made millions by throwing his influence around to promote bigger government.
UPDATE II - When Romney smacked Rick Perry from the left on jobs and Social Security, I ripped him, too. (Although I'm glad Romney eventually backed off and rolled out a relatively strong entitlement reform package of his own).
UPDATE III - Noted RINO/Romney shill Rush Limbaugh castigates Newt for employing the "language of the Left."
UPDATE IV - Outspoken Romney critic Philip Klein nukes Newt/Huntsman/Perry's anti-Bain demagoguery.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography