I’ve certainly had critical things to say about Newt Gingrich?, but he proved again Monday night that he’s in possession of some of the greatest skills in American politics. Gingrich was the dominant figure in last night’s debate, in part because of his ability to create fairly dramatic moments, including his confrontation with Fox News?’s Juan Williams. The former speaker was energetic, in command of the issues, and sent a jolt of electricity through the audience. He clearly owned the evening.
The South Carolina leg of the GOP campaign in some ways represents Gingrich in a microcosm. Last night we saw Gingrich at his best. But last week we saw him at his worst, leading an assault on Bain Capital (and the free market more broadly) that was terribly damaging to his campaign. Among other things, Gingrich’s approach earned him the praise of such liberal/left-wing stalwarts as the film director Michael Moore? and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.