While some GOP leaders could face a political bruising from this week’s payroll tax debacle, one top political analyst believes that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich can turn the issue into a political plus.
“He could say ‘I took action. I didn’t kick something down the road for two months and leave it up in the air,” insists InsiderAdvantage head and pollster Matt Towery, who also holds the distinction of being Gingrich’s first debate coach.
Gingrich’s decision to allow the federal government to shut down in 1995 rather than accept a compromise to keep it open eventually led to a balanced-budget agreement in 1996.
According to Towery, the former speaker could argue that the short-term pain at the time was necessary to achieve the largest drop in federal discretionary spending in more than 25 years.
Gingrich blasted the two-month deal that was approved by the House on Friday by a voice vote, calling it a “complete failure in leadership” by President Barack Obama and Congress.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax on Thursday, Gingrich said that House Republicans should have conducted a media blitz to make their case to the American people as to why a two-month solution was simply unworkable.
“A two-month tax break is a nightmare,” he said. “Businesses normally report on a quarterly basis. Businesses normally make out their compensation forms on a 12-month basis. To now be told, the first two months are going to look like this, we don’t know what the next 10 months would look like is an administrative nightmare. In addition, you’re a family; what are you planning on? Do you trust the Congress?”
Gingrich said that Congress is setting itself up to have a new crisis every two months. “This is the worst functioning government I’ve seen in my lifetime in terms of its utter inability to do things,” he insisted. “And I have to say as somebody who served in the House, the spectacle of the Senate passing a two-month tax break and then arrogantly leaving town, I find infuriatingly unacceptable.”
Republican strategist and political commentator Bradley A. Blakeman says that he is not necessarily convinced that voters have a sufficiently long enough memory to remember the government shutdown in the 1990s for Gingrich to benefit in the 2012 elections.
“His past will certainly be a factor, but his present will determine whether he’s selectable or electable,” said Blakeman, who served as a member of President George W. Bush’s senior staff.
One of the most respected pollsters in the United States, Towery also acknowledges that he has no confidence in the polls coming out of Iowa as of today and he anticipates a big change in positioning by Jan. 3.
“I think that Ron Paul is going to melt like a snow cone in July,” declared Towery, adding that Romney is likely to experience a strong turnout based on the strength of his political machine.
“I think that Newt Gingrich is going to rise again in the polls,” Towery also predicted. “I think you are going to see Rick Perry come on strong and Santorum come on strong.”
While the overall winner in Iowa is far from a certainty, Towery says that there is little doubt that voters will be fed up with negative advertising when the caucuses finally arrive.
“The key will be who in the world has a final message that is halfway compelling and how can they use that message to turn people out to vote for them as a legitimate nominee of the party,” he explained.
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