A guest submission from Rochelle Edvalson

I’ve heard a lot of talk about Newt Gingrich being “the smartest guy in the room” at every debate. To be fair, I have perpetuated the talk. Upon further reflection, however, I am of a mind to change my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, Newt is a smart guy, but I think the label is wrong. Newt is the wittiest guy on stage. He is enjoyable to watch. He is the class clown of the 2012 presidential class. Newt is the most popular guy around- he’s the big man on campus. It doesn’t matter what he does, he will be applauded for it. There-in lies the problem.

While we love Newt’s scathing remarks to the media, and his love-fest with all the other candidates, we forget, that if elected President, he will need the media to guide public opinion. If he alienates the media, his ability to lead the nation is diminished. The bully-pulpit of the Presidency is a powerful tool, if used correctly, but without fair media coverage is much, much less effective.

Additionally, while we would all enjoy watching the two professors debate, is that a reason to nominate a candidate? We would all love to see Newt debate President Obama. Heck, we would love to see Newt debate anyone. I for one, would love a reality show titled ‘Debate Newt’ where people could challenge Mr. Gingrich to debate on any topic. It might be the best TV around! However, will debate skills translate into leadership?

So that leads us to take a look at the former Speaker’s record. Yes, in some cases he can lead. And yet, those who served under him in congress are not jumping to endorse him. Why is that? Here is some insight into that question from Senator Tom Coburn:

As told in “Breach of Trust,” written by Coburn after he left the U.S. House and before he ran for the U.S. Senate, Gingrich’s leadership “seemed erratic” after the 1995 government shutdown. Coburn also wrote that the speaker had “an inability to discipline himself in his public comments.”

Coburn, R-Muskogee, and other conservatives clashed with Gingrich several times over spending, and some talked in 1997 about removing him as speaker.

Read more: http://newsok.com/book-by-sen.-tom-coburn-says-newt-gingrich-drained-lifeblood-from-republican-revolution/article/3629950#ixzz1frZyHuST

Now, Senator Coburn is not what I would call an extreme conservative. He did, after all, endorse John McCain in 2008. So this isn’t the Tea Party speaking against Newt.

Speaking of the Tea Party, polls show that the overwhelming Tea Party support is focused toward Newt. This doesn’t make sense. He was one of the original supporters of the individual mandate as a conservative principle. Now Perhaps he only intended it to be a principle, but you can’t work in the world of theory when you are president. You must make decisions and with those decisions come consequences.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Newt, he is and always has been my number two guy. In fact, I think he has been everyone’s number two guy. That is why he has gained so much support. As other candidates have dropped, or it has become obvious they wouldn’t gain traction, support has moved to the number two guy. I just wonder if everyone has really taken a good look at their number two guy, who has become number one in the polls.

Which leads me to my last conclusion; Newt is not the anti-Romney. Newt is the runner-up benefiting from the shifting scenery. I actually don’t think there is an “anti-Romney” vote, outside of the media pundits, who say it gleefully, hoping that the general public will buy it. Romney is as strong a candidate as ever, and Newt may only be the flavor of the month. Of course he picked a good month to be the top flavor.