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A Newt seduced South Carolina's Christian electorate

Newt Gingrich in South Carolina
Finally saw "The Ides of March" on Saturday night.  What put me in the mood? Why, South Carolina's Republican primary, of course.

Talk about life imitating art.  A morally flawed candidate comes out on top in a down-to-the-wire thriller.

Oops, that's the movie. 

After all, Newt Gingrich hasn’t come out on top in the Republican race -- yet. But there are plenty of similarities between the big screen and the Big Ego.

And although I wouldn't want to ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it, suffice to say that in it, certain folks learn about their candidate's real-life flaws but, in the end, choose power over morality and ethics.

Who knows whether that's what happened in South Carolina. But among a conservative, strongly evangelical Christian electorate, the vote went to the adulterer. Talk about Christian charity. 

Apparently, better an adulterer than a "soft" conservative (and a Mormon). 

Much has been written that Republicans are searching for the non-Mitt. But what they’re really searching for is the anti-Obama.

So, when (forgive the tortured biblical analogy) a Newt offered South Carolina's voters the apple of victory, the "values voters" bit, and hard.

The meek shall inherit the Earth? OK. But only the mean, apparently, shall win the White House.

"Turn the other cheek"? Not Gingrich. Asked on CNN Sunday about a 1997 ethics probe  that resulted in a record $300,000 fine during his term as House speaker, he snapped: "Anybody's who concerned, go read the 1,300 pages. It's online, for free."

How much of a roll is Gingrich on? Well, Saturday night, this is part of what he said to fire up the crowd at his victory rally:

"We are going to argue American exceptionalism, the American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the American Federalist Papers," Gingrich said as the crowd chanted, "U.S.A.!"

Great. We need to fix the economy, and healthcare, and education, and our battered infrastructure. But befitting a sometime professor, Gingrich gives us a history lecture.

Certainly, Gingrich has momentum. But Romney has money -- lots of it -- and that will come in especially handy in the race's next stop, Florida.

And this isn't a movie.Because if it were, the ending would probably be what President Clinton's former advisor, Paul Begala, predicted last year:

Gingrich's run is "going to end with Newt and a can of gasoline and a Bic lighter. That's the way things always end."

RELATED:

Editorial: Gingrich's 'outsider' gambit

Newt Gingrich's best value among 'values voters'? Beating Obama

Santorum made more than one kind of personal attack on Gingrich 

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: Newt Gingrich speaks in Columbia, S.C., after winning the state's Republican presidential primary Saturday. Credit: Jeff Siner /Charlotte Observer

 

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