[Editor's Note: This article is authored by David Morris]
Gingrich seems a strange political animal, as there are many versions of him.
There's the "Regeanesque" version of Newt. The "Moderate Model" of Newt. The "viscious Newt" who shuts down the government and tries to impose labor upon children. The "friendly Newt" that reaches across the aisle to create balanced budgets and cares for the environment.
With such a career, many people will perceive Newt in many ways.
Of course, there is also the fiasco of his marital situation. Only one other president in our history has had a divorce (Ronald Reagan). It seems unlikely, however that anyone could take political advantage of Reagan's circumstances surrounding it. Newt is another story.
Newt needs to continue what he's doing now: emphasize that he's had an epiphany with God since his divorce days, and keep appealing to voters as the "idea" person. There's little precedent for how a candidate properly handles personal baggage like Newt's but then again, it might be adequately old news enough for people not to care.
Fortunately for Newt, "morality appeal" is unlikely to be the decisive factor for Primary 2012. Rather, candidates seem to rise, fall, or stagnate based on whether they apostate from conservatism, fused with a general inexperience in communicating with a national audience.
+ An old front runner of 2008, his massive based is secured by a refreshing adherence to the constitution.
- He alienates on any instance of foreign policy. Inert overall.
+ Attack on Mormonism? Little to no effect.
+ Attack on being "generic?" Little to no effect.
+ Honed campaign skills. Source of a maintained frontrunner status.
- Romneycare. Stagnates potential. Would otherwise be frontrunner unchallenged. Inert Overall
+ Racism charge connected to a rock on his ranch. No effect.
+ Calls Social Security a Ponsi Scheme. No effect.
+ Not the "best" at his first debate, but survives. Still a chance in future debates. Maintains frontrunner status.
- Talks about giving illegal's benefits. Suddenly crashes and burns
We will see what Newt does about his potential red flag on issues such as immigration, stem cell research, and moments such as the infamous global warming video with Pelosi.
Nevertheless, Newt seems extraordinarily adept at framing unorthodox stances in a manner that labels him as a centrist who delivers on conservative ideals.
A wily old pro in dealing with a media spotlight, Newt is not to be underestimated. Perhaps he'll show previous frontrunners how its done.