Reprinted courtesy of Bretton Woods Research:
Cain & Gingrich: Megaliths of the Tea Party Movement?
Oct 26 2011
[The front-runner status of businessman Herman Cain and the steadily climbing poll numbers for Newt Gingrich — who was left for dead by the media in July — have defied conventional wisdom for how one tries to win the early battles in the GOP presidential nomination. At least that`s the story when speaking to seasoned political strategists such as Rick Perry`s campaign manager Dave Carney (who left Gingrich back in June when his campaigners bolted en masse) and former Gingrich strategist Rich Galen.
Now, without much organization on the ground or at the local level in early contest states, Cain and Gingrich are enjoying a tailwind according to recent polls. Slate columnist Dave Weigel thinks what`s at work is the influence of the Tea Party and the narrow-casted media profiles of Cain & Gingrich who have spent more than a few years honing palatable messages specifically geared toward attracting conservative, Tea Party support.
We think that it`s much more than that. The rise of Cain and to a lesser extent Gingrich — both of whom have agreed to a Lincoln-Douglas style debate on November 5 — are due to their pro-growth ideas. Cain`s 999 plan has clearly struck a chord within the GOP, where he still enjoys the first-mover advantage in the contest for the pro-growth mantle. In fact, the August 18 unveiling of 999 is what caused him to virtually leapfrog the photogenic, but hapless debater Perry, who has recently come out with Steve Forbes` flat tax platform 3.0 (a 20% rate with voluntary opt-ins and deductions). Gingrich, a supply-sider who has clearly absorbed the lessons of his government shut down during the Clinton era, is clearly capable, as seen in the debates so far, of thinking on his feet and advancing sound ideas. He has also produced his own flat tax platform.
Given how the Tea Party has mobilized itself into a formidable bloc within the GOP, efforts to win their support and enthusiasm can count for a lot. Hence, the flat tax ideas we`re seeing blossom from the right are likely to survive the winter. Of course, for Mitt Romney, who`s been stuck at about 25% of the GOP vote for the past two years, this must be alarming. His economic plan — all 59 points of it — remains thin gruel for these hard economic times. If he wants to win, and he does, he may have to become more of a convincing fiscal supply-sider or conventional dogmas will be upended and establishment pecking orders will be overturned. BWR]