The Tea Party again may be ahead of the Republican establishment and its far-right mavens. Despite the recent bemoaning on the conservative shortcomings of Newt Gingrich from the likes of Mark Steyn and Ann Coulter of how Gingrich doesn't represent Tea Party ideology, the former Speaker of the House has the actual Tea Party endorsement.
There seems to be fear among the prognosticators of hyper-conservatism that Gingrich may be soft on abortion, immigration, global warming and a slew of their other issues. They've even voiced the fear that the Reaganite who ushered balanced budgets and welfare reform through Congress may actually be a closet progressive.
That's just the kind of short-sightedness and self-absorbed shallow thinking that could hand Barack Obama a second term.
The Tea Party outlook may have its many failings. Any movement that has had love affairs with candidates who are as unelectable as Sarah Palin and Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell has some obvious shortcomings. But as a young movement whose core issue is the reduction of government spending and taxes, it has shown the capacity to learn and evolve and unlike its self-proclaimed proponents, understands that whomever ends up winning the Republican primaries will be running for President of the United States, not President of the Tea Party.
Disaffected Democrats along with independents put off by Obama's mishandling of the economy and foreign affairs will have to be won over by the Republican nominee. Mitt Romney isn't that guy. Romney is the Republicans' Al Gore, an unlikeable, unnatural stiff that couldn't win a national election on his own. A hard-right social conservative who appeals to the core concerns of the Palin Republicans could alienate swing voters more than enough for the eloquent, intelligent sitting president to be able to overcome his present unpopularity.
For all their Newt-bashing, the GOP right-wingers haven't been able to come up with a viable alternative to him, and they should be thinking of that basic fact before they open their mouths or put finger to keyboard (or pen to paper as a previous generation would say). There are no better choices in the current slew. Paul is crazy, Bachman is inept, Santorum is a non-starter, and Huntsman has a lot of the right qualities except for the most essential; he hasn't been able to get anyone to be interested in him.
Newt's performance in the weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucuses have proved he still has the sharpness and the capability to lead and to attract new converts. He should not have to win over the people he should already have in his corner.
Gingrich may not be the dream candidate of the far right, but he's the best hope they have for a Republican to beat Obama next November. So to the Coulters and Steyns who are griping loudly enough to potentially hurt the Republicans' best shot at the White House, the advice I'd offer would be from Stephen Stills' classic song; if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.