Finally, there’s “mean.” According to the left, every Republican, by nature, is mean, cruel, rapacious, callous, and nasty. This is the easiest charge to combat, because all you have to do is not seem arrogant or uncaring.
And this is Newt Gingrich’s problem. Newt’s professorial manner is both his blessing and his curse. It’s a blessing because we want somebody to school Obama, and Newt can do it. It’s a curse because we don’t tend to like politicians who talk down to us. The last president before Obama who talked down to us on a routine basis was FDR, and that’s only because he played Freudian father figure. Nobody likes a pedant, and Newt is above all a pedant.
Newt may be able to get away with it because the country needs an adult in the room, and Obama is even worse than a normal pedant: he’s a pedantic, childish know-nothing. And there’s nothing more fun than watching an obnoxious teenager type get schooled by Mr. Feeny.
But Newt had better start cultivating his inner warm and fuzzy, because the media will jump on him with both feet. Newt’s personal history means he’ll already have a bit of trouble drawing the female vote; his tendency toward looking down his nose will make him even less popular with single women, who tend to resonate to the candidate who can “feel their pain.”
This is not to argue that Romney would be better on this score. He wouldn’t. He’s ice cold, and cloyingly glib to boot. But it is a word of advice for the probable Republican candidate: emotion wins elections, not mere recitation of facts and figures. If Newt can master the art of allowing inner warmth to show through, he will dominate Obama. If not, the election will be a battle to the end.
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