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Time & Trust

By Steve Deace

So my phone rings while I’m eating my breakfast Wednesday morning, and it’s a reporter from The Washington Post gauging my reaction to Newt Gingrich’s answer on illegal immigration at Tuesday night’s CNN Debate.

In case you missed what Newt said, you can click here.

I didn’t watch the debate last night. I frankly needed a break for one night from the political process. The situation is growing intense in the final 40 days, and I needed some time to catch my breath, connect with my small group, and try and seek some spiritual peace about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

However, I did have time to read some stories summing up the event before the Post reporter called, and saw the Gingrich clip in question. Given the emails and texts I got after the debate, and who those texts and emails are from, it’s clear the big question coming out of this debate is the one the reporter asked me: did Gingrich hurt himself by backing some form of amnesty?

Here’s how I answered that question.

Each of these candidates has a dueling narrative about who they are and what they represent, and there is truth in each of these narratives. These candidates, like us, are human beings. Human beings are complex creations, so each of these dueling narratives – both the good and the bad – has at least some truth in them.

Sometimes we do the wrong things for the right reasons, and the right things for the wrong reasons.

For Gingrich, the positive narrative is he’s got the brains and bravado to take the fight to President Obama and the American Left (including their willing accomplices in the media). The negative narrative on Gingrich is that this is a candidate with so much baggage he can’t be trusted no matter what he says. Like his campaign rivals, Gingrich’s actions on the campaign trail reinforce one of those two narratives. It appears as if his statement on what many are interpreting as amnesty for illegal aliens last night reinforced the negative narrative, after months of good debate performances reinforced the positive one and gave Gingrich new life in this presidential campaign.

Therefore, by reinforcing the negative narrative there is no question Gingrich was hurt by last night’s exchange, even though the framework of the position he articulated is very similar to what Mike Huckabee believed when he won the Iowa Caucuses going away four years ago. The only question is how much?

I will also say I’ve been exposed to some very high-level conservative leadership discussions on the topic of illegal immigration in the past two months, and within those circles there was much debate about whether deporting 12-20 million illegal aliens – after securing the border, of course – is either feasible or moral. This position, which Gingrich seems to have, is best summed up by Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.

At a time when the economy is so bad and taxpayers are already stretched so thin, arguing for incentives for those whose very existence here is a breaking of the law is a very tough case to make. Then again, Gingrich making that case at this time could also be turned around and used to say see, this guy tells it like it is and is being honest about what he thinks, even when it’s not popular.

Regardless of what you think of Gingrich’s comments, I doubt Gingrich did much to stall his momentum of the past two weeks. That’s because based on the numerous meetings and conversations I’ve been privy to during that time the discussion has shifted to a new phase among voters and activists.

What I’m about to share with you are my observations, not my preference or speculation.

There is now a sense that the more consistently principled candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum (nobody I know is seriously talking about Rick Perry) are running out of time to become viable, and the one thing every Iowa Tea Party person/leader and every Iowa Christian Conservative person/leader I have talked to recently agrees on is “anybody but Romney.” These people do not agree on who the alternative to Romney should be, but they all agree they want one and they all agree Romney must be stopped in Iowa or he won’t be stopped.

Bachmann and Santorum were both very good at The FAMiLY LEADER’s recent presidential forum, but there is a sense they failed to distinguish themselves and close the sale. Even in that setting that favored Bachmann and Santorum, many people I have talked to still considered Gingrich the star. The conversation now being had is how much time should be given to Bachmann and Santorum to show one of them is at least viable for January 3rd?

The clock has not run out on those candidates, which I think most of these people would prefer to support, but the clock is most definitely ticking. After this weekend when folks come together to discuss this as families and friends over the holiday, I believe you will start to see an anti-Romney coalescing in Iowa.

If Bachmann or Santorum has an arrow in the quiver they haven’t fired now is the time to use it—like today, or right this minute. Otherwise, you’ll see Gingrich – barring another immediate future moral failing or violation of conservative orthodoxy he’s been guilty of in the past – be the one people will coalesce behind.

Why? Because whenever everyone else is making fear-based decisions, the one who seems the most fearless wins.

The other, more consistently-principled candidates for reasons known only to them and God haven’t demonstrated Gingrich’s level of fearlessness when the spotlight was shining. This despite the fact some of us have almost begged them to do so. Yet still they refuse to take on Romney, and he escapes virtually unscathed in every debate. True, on smaller stages like online ads or my radio program they have done it, but when the spotlight is on and Romney shares the stage with them they almost always punt.

That strategy is working as well for Bachmann and Santorum as it worked for Tim Pawlenty. It’s almost inexplicable when people won’t do what’s in their own best interest, but in this case they haven’t.

In addition, many voters are making a fear-based decision. We are afraid we’re losing our way of life. We are afraid that time is running out on securing our liberties and prosperity for future generations. We are afraid we will miss the chance to elect a true champion of our values and be stuck with Romney as a nominee. There probably hasn’t been as much appetite in the country to undo the Left’s infrastructure since 1980, and who knows when/if we will get this opportunity again. If there’s one thing we know about Romney, it’s that he isn’t a champion of our values. Romney is only a champion of what’s in it for Romney. Gingrich has volunteered on a national stage to be our champion, and that is causing conservatives to overlook his past transgressions.

Because of everything I just said, the Iowa Caucuses now come down to do you trust Gingrich? If you do then you have already moved on from Bachmann and Santorum. If you haven’t, then you’re still giving them some time, especially after what Gingrich said on immigration Tuesday night.

But Bachmann and Santorum need to realize that time is the one thing we’re not making more of.

 


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  • Kevin Subra

    Good observations. Ominous really. I’m not sure why, but I came away from the forum less for Gingrinch than when I went in. And The Family Leader including Gingrinch in their four potentials (as Jen Green pointed out) is shocking too.

    As one of your fans, I do think that you deserve time off, and clearing one’s head is important. Maybe, though, missing a debate is not for one who has assumed a position like your own (and I am for that). Maybe take time off to clear your head from the football arena, rather than the political one.

  • hatefalseweight

    One thing Mr. Newtrich didn’t mention about McVeigh and the “Stasi” Unpatriotic Act , is that the FBI knew all about and ran Elohim City.  The had Robert Mueller, Carol Howe, Andy “the German” Strassmeier , and others running the Midwest Bank Robbery Gang and putting together the bomb used in the bombing.

    If you don’t believe that, it is all documented in the FBI’s own records, which were leaked by some Patriotic FBI employees in the Jesse Trentadue lawsuit against the FBI.  Mr. Trentadue’s brother , Kevin, was beaten to death by the FBI in  custody, in a case of mistaken identity.  They thought he was Richard Lee Guthrie, an associate of McVeigh’s. 

    Mr. Trentadue won his lawsuit against the FBI, but the govt. has refused to pay him and has tried to put him in jail instead.  You can watch his account on youtube or google video on interviews with Stan Monteith and others .. this info has been available nationally since 2005

    “Jesse Trentadue  The OKC Cover Up ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMAxT1hxENA&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLA90D97574BFC5D20

    By the way, Mr. Newt was Speaker during OKC and surely knows where the bodies are buried.  He is a nasty globalist dupe, and it is real sad that shows like this don’t know these things and are not warning america about this globalist shill.

    • Anonymous

      You are referencing the Alex Jones Show? Tell me, how is his effort to convince people 9-11 was an inside job going? 

      • hatefalseweight

        Listen to Mr. Trentadue’s story regarding how the FBI murdered his brother in custody and how he got FBI agents to leak him documents regarding how the FBI was running the OKC operation.  Then come back and tell us what you think. 

        • Anonymous

          Sorry I don’t have the time. I am making more tinfoil hats.

  • Barb Heki

    Steve – You really should have watched last night’s debate before writing your column. Bachmann was blazing last night. She demonstrated a grasp of foreign policy and national security that made everyone else look like amateurs, including Gingrich. The depth of her knowledge was evident and her explanations were clear and passionate on how to protect our country. And she held to the rule of law! She was more than impressive. She proved herself last night to be the ONE candidate who is the most prepared, experienced,  trustworthy and capable of serving as our commander in chief. 

  • slkramer

    Steve, this was not the debate to sit out. It was far more substantive and balanced than all the rest put together.

    Bachmann excelled, and Gingrich was almost even with her. In terms of oratorical style, maybe Newt came out ahead, tho he slid back some with his immigration answer.  All the rest trailed.

  • Jill

    Who’s side is Newt on anyway?

    I believe that is a question we will be asking often if Newt was elected.

    It’s not only “sitting on a couch with Nancy” and supporting amnesty that should give us pause?

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/11/26/bill_clinton_praises_newt_hes_articulate_and_attracts_independents.html