There were two political contests yesterday that got press coverage and Mitt R-Money (sorry, Romney) won them both. One was the Maine caucuses, which he has won before in 2008 and the other was the CPAC straw poll, which he won in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Reading the press coverage, you would think he lost. His margin was bigger four years ago, the turnout to both was miniscule, blah blah blah...
Quite simply, the press has a narrative and doesn't like to give it up. The earlier narrative for R-Money (sorry, I keep doing that) was that he was inevitable, but after a loss to Gingrich in South Carolina there were questions. He won Florida and Nevada and then he was inevitable again, but a bad Tuesday for him and a great Tuesday for Santorum this week and suddenly it's Beat Up Mitt Time again.
Want to know who deserves to get beat up? Newt Gingrich deserves to get beat up, at least figuratively by the press. After a win in South Carolina which most people rack up to his insulting of debate moderator Juan Williams, Gingrich has gone downhill in a big way. Here's the ugly tally.
Florida: gets 31.9%, finishes second by 14.5% in a state that neighbors his former home state of Georgia. Newt wasn't born in Georgia and no longer lives there, but he was elected to the House from Georgia's 6th District. He's a Washington insider now and has been for decades.
Nevada: Gets 21.1%, loses to R-Money by 28.9% (You know what? I'm going to stop saying I'm sorry. That's the way I spell Mitt's last name now.) Barely beats Ron Paul for second place.
Colorado: 12.8% of the vote, a distant third. Can only beat Ron Paul.
Minnesota: 10.8% of the vote. Finishes fourth. Not even in the conversation. Ron Paul gets more than double his votes and Santorum gets four times as many votes.
Maine: 6%, 12 points behind Santorum. Not even in the discussion with R-Money and Paul.
The technical mathematical term we use for a sequence of numbers like these is a plummet.
I'll be fair, because it's my nature. This is a strange race and Gingrich may yet pull out of this tailspin. I have a hard time believing the Republicans will decide in the end that Santorum truly is the NotRomney, but I now believe that eventually, they will have to admit R-Money is their candidate, like it or not. (I also think a lot of Republicans may decide on "not like it" and clamor for a third party candidate, which hands a second term to Obama on a silver platter.) But the narrative for Newt Gingrich now should be Old And In The Way. Maybe he'll find some way to get his mojo back in a debate, but between now and February 28, the next primary date that matters, Newton Leroy Gincrich is sitting on a big pile of negative momentum. Just like Perry and Bachmann and Huntsman before him, he's going to have to decide soon that it's time to go.