Tags: towery | newt | gringrich

Towery: Gingrich Is Emerging As GOP's Leader

Wednesday, 15 Apr 2009 07:03 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Syndicated columnist and author Matt Towery tells Newsmax that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has emerged as the leader of the GOP and is the “brightest mind in the modern Republican Party.”

Towery, a former state legislator in Georgia, also said Florida and Ron Paul both had a huge impact on the 2008 presidential election, and discussed why John McCain and Sarah Palin lost that race.

Towery, the CEO of the Inside Advantage polling firm and a former campaign strategist for Gingrich, has a new book out, “Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency.” Newsmax TV’s Ashley Martella asked him about his contention in the book that Florida turned out to be the key to the 2008 election.

[Editor’s Note: Get Matt Towery’s new book, “Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency” — Go here now.]

“What happened was that Florida very early on decided, with the Republican-controlled House and Senate, that they wanted to move their primary to the forefront so they could be a leader in the nation,” Towery explained.

“When Florida chose to move their primary forward, two things happened. The Democratic Party, controlled by Howard Dean at that time as the chair, and the Northeastern establishment elite of the Democratic Party used that as an opportunity to say that Florida would not be counted in terms of their delegates.

[Editor's Note: Watch author and political analyst Matt Towery discuss Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party’s presidential prospects in 2012 - Go Here Now]

“That had a tremendous effect on Hillary Clinton because Florida would have delivered a phenomenal number of delegates to Clinton. There was not much doubt that Clinton would carry it regardless of how well Barack Obama did in other states.

“But it also did another thing. It moved the other caucuses and primaries up. Iowa moved to almost right after New Year’s.

“So the entire function of the presidential race was compacted. It made the Iowa caucus even more important and gave candidates very little time to prepare for it, allowing Barack Obama to take advantage of his organization in Iowa — and also, I might add, allowing the former governor of Arkansas, Gov. Huckabee, the opportunity to take the momentum from the CNN-YouTube debate, which he was viewed as having won, thus creating havoc on the Republican side as well.”

Martella asked Towery about another contention in his book — that Ron Paul played a greater role in the 2008 GOP primaries than most people realize.

“If you actually go through and look at the results of the Iowa caucus, the New Hampshire primary, South Carolina, — the first few critical primaries and caucuses — Ron Paul was actually pulling somewhere in the area of 9 percent, 11 percent,” Towery said.

“And they were basically conservative to libertarian-type Republicans who might otherwise have gone to, say, Mitt Romney or one of the other candidates. But instead they were with Ron Paul.

“Ron Paul had a much greater, deeper following than most people were willing to recognize — certainly the media, they simply ignored him.

“When you’re a pollster and you’re looking at these races you look at several things. You look at not just who’s winning, it’s who is taking numbers away from other candidates. So John McCain was able partially to emerge as the nominee because you had just too many candidates splitting up the, quote unquote, conservative vote in the Republican Party.”

Martella asked why Towery thinks John McCain lost the election last year.

“He certainly was not the ideal candidate in terms of what the Republicans were facing,” Towery opined.

“They were facing a Republican Party that had been decimated during the Bush years, particularly the last four years of George W. Bush, and the Republicans had drifted away from what had been a longstanding concept of controlling our spending and controlling the deficit.

“Suddenly the Republican Party almost seemed like a non-Republican Party.

“John McCain brought a strength in the sense that he was sort of the anti-Bush … but the other problem that he had was that John McCain could not excite the independent voter, even though he is an independent individual. The independent voter and the younger voter simply saw him as a continuation of the Republican Party even though he really wasn’t.”

Martella asked: “How do you believe Sarah Palin influenced the 2008 election?”

“She certainly caught the eye of the conservative movement in the Republican Party that wanted something to take their message forward,” Towery responded.

“But once the problem emerged with regard to her daughter being pregnant and a few other issues — and of course she gave the interviews to the networks that weren’t necessarily successful — suddenly you had people who were supposed to guard Sarah Palin basically tell her that she had to toe the line, not to speak her mind, and that really took away the spontaneity and the excitement that Sarah Palin brought to the campaign.

“Suddenly she became a liability, which I think was unfortunate. I think the McCain campaign mishandled that.”

Martella asked who Towery believes will emerge as the Republican leader in 2012.

“Obviously I could be accused of bias because of my longtime relationship with Newt Gingrich, but I don’t think there is any disagreement right now that Gingrich is viewed as the leader of the party,” Towery declared.

“In my former colleague and friend Newt Gingrich you have the idea man, the person who comes up with brightest ideas, probably the brightest mind in the modern Republican Party and the modern history of the Republican Party. . .

“He is the one person who is consistently being asked to appear on all the major Sunday talk shows, asked to speak before the joint fundraising event in Washington that the Senate and House Republicans have.

“So I think that Gingrich right now is sort of the leader of the party in the sense that there’s a vacuum and there is no one else out there. Whether he will be that four years from now, I don’t know the answer to that. A lot of that depends on if someone else emerges.

“I certainly think you’ll see a re-emergence of Mitt Romney as a candidate for president and I think you’re going to find … a group of individuals who were very enthralled with Sarah Palin and they will want to see her move forward.”

Towery concluded: “I think if you ask people in D.C., if you ask people around the country, no matter what they might think of him in terms of his part personal life, I think they view Newt Gingrich as the leader of the Republican Party.”

[Editor's Note: Watch author and political analyst Matt Towery discuss Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party’s presidential prospects in 2012 - Go Here Now]

[Editor’s Note: Get Matt Towery’s new book, “Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency” — Go here now.]

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