Anyone paying attention to the Republican debates cannot ignore the stellar performances repeatedly given by Newt Gingrich. Time and again, he outshines the competition, and it doesn't even look like he's breaking a sweat. Creative and fresh ideas, a dizzying array of facts, piercing wit and smooth eloquence exude from the former Speaker of the House. While the rest of the candidates squabble like schoolyard children over a variety of minutiae, each attempting to outdo the next with catchy talking points, Gingrich, flashing a wry grin that reveals a thinly veiled disgust with the bickering, cooly introduces serious ideas and substance.
I was able to catch some of the Lincoln-Douglas debate between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain. The debate originated with Gingrich and the idea was to embrace a format more conducive to a substantive discussion on the issues, giving much more time to allow for a free back and forth between the men, which also included greatly limiting the role of the moderator. Gingrich, who holds a doctorate in history, was simply masterful in the debate. What impressed me the most was how Gingrich, without pause, would routinely reference a scholarly book or study to back up his point on the subject at hand. On the question of entitlements and responsibility, Gingrich recommended reading a poignant letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote to his brother, explaining why he would no longer send him money upon request, as dependency and entitlement had clearly set in.
If he wins the nomination, he has said he would challenge Obama to seven Lincoln-Douglas style debates. Who wouldn't love to see that happen? There is no question that Gingrich would easily handle Obama in a meeting like that.
For more on Gingrich's growing appeal, read this article by Dorothy Rabinowitz, appearing in The Wall Street Journal:
Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls—from near zero to the third slot in several polls—should come as no surprise to people who have been watching the Republican debates, now drawing television viewers as never before. The former speaker has stood out at these forums, the debater whose audiences seem to hang on his words and on a flow of thought rich in substance, a world apart from the usual that the political season brings.