The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Florida Fever: Naples Struck by Sudden Outbreak of Raging Mitt-Mania Epidemic

Posted on | January 29, 2012 | 67 Comments

Mitt Romney at Naples rally, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012

Attention young conservatives: Your grandma loves Mitt Romney.

The phenomenal shift in the polls here in the Sunshine State — which has provoked much commentary and analysis about “strategy” and “messaging” — may in fact be little more complicated than that. And the massive crowd that turned out in downtown Naples today to hear and see Mitt was certainly evidence of how real Romney’s Florida surge is.

This photo was shot from the camera platform, looking back toward Fifth Avenue, and the crowd overflowed in all directions. The camera platform was about 150 feet from the stage, and the area between the platform and the stage was likewise packed to overflowing. While I’m not an expert at estimating crowd sizes, I can say with confidence that this crowd was what the experts call ginormous.

OK, so what’s Mitt’s secret? Let me put it in the simplest possible terms: Sex appeal. This will elicit a groan from ideologues who have spent the past year proclaiming that Mitt is a gutless flip-flopper, the worst RINO in the history of RINO-dom. Yet if you set aside mere politics long enough to see the two Florida frontrunners as the average Republican voter sees them, it is hard to miss the contrast between Mitt — the tall, lean multimillionaire entrepreneur with dark hair and chiseled features — and Newt, the pudgy intellectual.

Maybe you don’t judge presidential candidates by such standards, but it makes a lot of difference to Republican grandmas, and there are lots of Republican grandmas in Florida. And here’s some video that helps explain a little more of Newt’s problem with the affluent residents of retirement communities in the state that has been dubbed “God’s Waiting Room”:

“There was a time back in high school that a girl I knew in elementary school became much more interesting. You see, Ann and I went to the same elementary school. She was in second grade, I was in fourth. I didn’t notice her then. But when she was just about 16, I noticed in a big way. We were at a party together at a friend’s house. She had come with someone else. I went to her date and I said, ‘Look, I live closer to Ann than you do. Can I give her a ride home for you?’ He said, ‘Sure.’ We’ve been going steady ever since. My sweetheart, Ann Romney.”

After Mitt said that, I walked over to talk to another reporter, whose comment was: “Zing! He’s killing him!”

You see? Mitt didn’t even have to name Newt in order to emphasize the contrast: Mitt’s still with his high-school sweetheart, with whom he’s been “going steady” since 1965, while Newt is on Wife No. 3, with whom he had an affair while still married to Wife No. 2.

Maybe if you’re under 40, that kind of thing doesn’t matter much — Who are we to judge? — but to your mother or grandmother, raised on old-fashioned “family values” conservatism, it matters a lot. Put yourself in Grandma’s orthopedic shoes when she reads a headline like this:

Gingrich: Romney’s Character
Is “Very Serious Problem”

Whoa! Newt wants to talk about “character”? Ever heard an old proverb about glass houses, Mister Speaker? Those grannies in Florida aren’t buying your act. And if my ideological under-40 readers don’t mind, this is perhaps an appropriate time to quote the esteemed founder of The American Spectator, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.:

Newt, like Bill, has a proclivity for girl hopping. It is not as egregious as Bill’s, but then Newt is not as drop-dead beautiful. His public record is already besmeared with tawdry divorces, and there are private encounters with the fair sex that doubtless will come out. If I have heard of some, you can be sure the Democrats have heard of more.

Forgive my editor for his unseemly insinuation, but rest assured that Bob Tyrrell is certainly not the only conservative who has “heard of some.” There are other conservatives — people whose names you would recognize — who have made similar intimations to me.

Michelle Malkin has never said any such thing, but have you ever wondered why she hates Newt so much? I have.

The problem, as I see it, is that so many True Conservatives have allowed themselves to be persuaded that the frontrunner fight between Mitt and Newt represents the only choice in this election. But while I was at the Romney rally, I encounted two women — including Naples city council woman Teresa Heitman — who say that Florida voters should consider another candidate:

As the lady says, “family commitment comes first” for Rick Santorum, which point Steve Ertelt of LifeNews emphasizes:

Bella Santorum was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Saturday night because she has pneumonia in both of her lungs, according to campaign aides. . . .
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, on Sunday afternoon, tweeted a message of support for the Santorum family.
“Thank you, Rick and Karen Santorum, for living the Christ-like example of sacrifice and right priorities. Nothing is more precious or important than the life of an innocent child. Our prayers are with Bella, a perfect child in an imperfect world,” she said. “God bless the beautiful Santorum family.”

Dan Collins knows what the cynics will say:

Santorum Daughter, 3, Stages Illness
to Help Father’s Campaign Chances

It is not too late, I would argue, for those True Conservatives who have convinced themselves that Newt is The Only Alternative to Mitt to change their minds and reconsider the possibility of supporting a Republican candidate who lives his conservative principles.

Join the Fight!

Update (Smitty): Welcome, Instapundit readers!


  • Scalawag

    Look, no matter how brilliant a conservative you are (and I actually think Newt is a faux genius for cheap date conservatives) you can’t have a messy personal life involving serial adultery and multiple mistresses and actually win the Presidency.  If Obama had multiple wives with multiple mistresses and multiple affairs, he too would have been disqualified.

    That USED to be common sense on both sides of the aisle, but it looks like the supposed “social conservatives” in our Party need to have this truth rammed down their throat in Tuesday.

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  • tranquil.night

    Stacy: a lot of Newt supporters are with Santorum, other than when they’re being ridiculed by Santorum supporters just for being Newt supporters.

    Even throwing out the fact that Santorum’s weakness on Entitlements is a sour pill for TPers, his economic plan is more of a Blue Collar pander with unique and good ideas but not an ideally comprehensive approach to reviving the economy (because the global market has made the idea of a manufacturing-centric American economy all but impractical), or that he has a record and on some issues continued sympathies to government assistance “compassionate conservatism” (No, not talking about his family tax subsidies, etc, which are all great).

    Santorum has sooooo many positives, most of all that he’s just an incredibly graceful man, humble, knowledgeable, with an amazing family.  His takedown of RomneyCare that last debate was delicious.  I completely get your point that all of this factors in to a matter of greater relevance for those on whom traditional values are the core of what matters here.  I would support him in a blink over Romney.

    But here’s the thing.  He’s got to win.  He’s got to find a way to get himself in as the frontrunner.  And he’s can’t go this scorched earth road like Mitt.  It’s gotta be the opposite.  It’s gotta be an onslaught of totally enlightened inspirational leadership and conviction.  I’m starting to see bits of it and I really hope it can materialize before it’s too late.. because they are all in on taking Newtzilla down.

  • Adjoran

    If you needed a classic example of how Newt’s massive ego leads him to make stupidly grandiose assertions and pronouncements (which he will then denigrate you for disputing), his call for a “character debate” is rather timely. 

    He is NOT a “Tea Party” guy, he is NOT a dependable conservative, he was NEVER a stable leader, and he has ALWAYS stabbed those who trusted him in the back.

    But, boy oh boy, let him get off a couple of good lines at a debate – it’s like Pavlov ringing a bell, all the mutts salivate uncontrollably.

    Get a grip on yourselves, people.  We conservatives threw this bum out for good reasons and nothing he’s done since ever made us regret it for one single second.  Ask yourselves why the some 350 Republicans who served with him at one time or another in Congress aren’t lining up behind him.

    What do they know that you don’t know?  They know Newt.  He’s a rat bastard, but he isn’t OUR rat bastard:  he serves ONLY his own interests, and will work with you until he decides to bury a dagger in your back.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • Van Grungy

    “He is NOT a “Tea Party” guy, he is NOT a dependable conservative, he was
    NEVER a stable leader, and he has ALWAYS stabbed those who trusted him
    in the back.”

    actually he’s pretty dependable.. that’s why Nancy Reagan passed the ‘torch’ on to Newt.. Newt was the target of all Democrat and RINO ire, that’s not stable ground to lead on..  RINOs stabbed him in the back because he would not fall into line..

    just saying

  • ThePaganTemple

    And of course, Mitt Romney is such a true blue conservative, he would never let us down by supporting government health care mandates, gun control, taxpayer funded abortions, or Global Climate Change scams. Right. Yeeeeeahhhhhh, rite!

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Newt and Mitt both have a reputation for this sort of dirty infighting.  I am not thrilled about Newt and I know he is a bastard (I remember Dede Scozzafava, throwing Paul Ryan under his bus, and his canoodling with Nancy Pelosi).  But I definitely do not trust Romney either about this Allen West trashing:  

    According to State Rep. Weatherford, this is due to compliance with federal and state law. Color me unconvinced; after the way the Republican “elite” treated Sarah Palin (1) and with what now looks like a concerted effort to suppress the Gingrich campaign (2), it’s hard not to imagine that something… “funny” is going on here. Anyone who becomes a threat to the “established order” gets the political equivalent of a Mob hit.

  • ThePaganTemple

    You know what I bet is some nasty-ass flavor of Kool-Aid? That would be that RINO flavored shit you’re always drinking here.

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  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Have to admit — Mitt is a good looking man, but when it comes to men there can be a fine line between purdy and too purdy.


  • ThePaganTemple

    Yeah, Mitt looks like a god doesn’t he?

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    I didn’t say THAT! lol

    At least not my idea of a god (I’m a bit more the GI Joe/Man with No Name sorta gal myself).  

    Maybe that’s where the “too purdy” comes in. 

  • Tennwriter

    Stacy hates him some Newt for the Dede Scuzzyfuzzy treachery.  “He has to pay for Santino”.

    Its a valid point.

    But for me, its Santorum first, Gingrich second, and Constitution Party third.

  • William Jefferson Clinton

    “you can’t have a messy personal life involving serial adultery and multiple mistresses and actually win the Presidency”
    The Hell you say!  

  • Tennwriter

    In a nearby alternate dimension, Mitt wins the Oscar for ‘Superman: the Mature Years’ while the Man Who Was Jayne wins the nomination of the Libertarian Space Cowboy Party.

  • rosalie

    Mitt looks more superficial than “Superman”. 

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Clark Kent without access to the telephone booth or ownership of the cape maybe?

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    You know libertarian space cowboys might have some cachet…

  • CO

    And if Rick becomes a threat they will focus on him.
    Rick’s rational in voting for a closed shop may play in PA but it won’t wash in the nationals.  Unions and closed shops are killing America.  Many folks will not vote for a pro union candidate.

  • Adjoran

    You mean like pot pourri in a muslin bag?

  • Adjoran

    BREAKING GOOD NEWS:  According to the Philadelphia Inquier, Rick Santorum has announced that Bella will be okay, is improving and will be able to go home in a few days:

  • OCBill

    I’ve liked Bob Tyrell ever since he played Sqiggy on “Laverne and Shirley”.

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  • Anonymous

    Santorum won’t be viable. He’ll be crucified for all the homosexual remark stuff. He lost his home state by a huge margin in the last election. He’s weakest on the economics and strongest on social conservatism and foreign policy. In other words, he would have been great in 1996.

    It’s either Newt or Romney. Looks like it will be Romney. Hopefully, he can articulate a defense of the conservatism I don’t think he really believes in.

    Seriously, I’m not sure I can handle a Romney presidency either. I would like a Republican that has some semblance of a clue that the Fed is at the heart of the housing bubble and  a host of other ills. Paul would have been that candidate (and Gingrich to a lesser extent) but he had to have a history of very racist newsletters.

  • Ronny Reich

    You have the wrong superhero!  Check out this link: The Batman Primaries

  • Carol Herman

    I listened to a wonderful piece, up on You Tube, of Rush Limbaugh.  Who does remember back to the early 1980’s. 

    Fine listening.  And, at the end, Rush Limbaugh said it is a terrible mistake to make an obvious choice so early.  Because after (let’s say, Mitt gets crowned the nominee) … then Obama can tear after one person.

    If, however, the race seems in flux.  And, there’s a good chance that Sunday’s Superbowl will wipe out Florida’a results … THEN all the money Obama has will need to be scattershot all over the place.  At more than one candidate.

    As to this scene from “THE GOLDEN GIRLS” … I think they all voted for democrats. 

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  • SteveM

    >”This will elicit a groan from ideologues who have spent the past year
    proclaiming that Mitt is a gutless flip-flopper, the worst RINO in the
    history of RINO-dom”

    Those people are not ideologues, they’re idiots. Not only is Romney not the worst flip-flopper and RINO in RINO-dom, he’s not even the worst flip-flopper and RINO in the current Presidential primary. That dubious honor goes to Gingrich, the one “Republican” in the race who ever argued that the federal government could and should establish a national health-care system.

  • Anonymous

    You insult libertarians. And space. And cowboys.

  • Anonymous

    While the Romnegingatorium trio rages on trying to prove who is more conservative, I appeal to America Minus Florida to consider the one candidate who has the Constitution genetically embedded in his DNA: Ron Paul.

  • Anonymous

    He didn’t write them. Compared to Noot’s alliances with Freddie Mac Pelosi, his $11,000,000 Vegas sugar daddy, and Mitt’s Millions, Ron Paul’s investment letters authored by the equivalent of dudes who might have said something off-color in a bar 20 years ago amounts to a lemonade stand. Get past it and read Ron Paul’s chapter on racism in “Liberty Defined.”

    Hope that helps. It’s only the future of the country that’s at stake, but no big deal, right?

  • MrPaulRevere

    Someone needs to buy Dan Riehl a drink or take him  on a long walk. This is a cheap shot: “Every once in a while, the dumb ass comes out in Stacy McCain. This is one of those times.”

  • Dustin

    yep, CO.  Mitt will happily turn on Santorum with every ounce of nastiness he’s had for all others, if he needs to.  Until then, he’ll play nice, of course.

    I grant Newt’s screw ups over the years are incredibly annoying.  Dede is one of a few.  But Newt’s successes are actually highly relevant to what we need to succeed at again as a party.

    Mitt’s record includes signing into law a ridiculous tax on guns of $100 (Mitt’s idea was for $75!), free abortions, and free healthcare for illegals whom he wanted to have amnesty.  He increased taxes enormously, he increased spending with Romneycare to the point where MA is headed to bankruptcy sooner rather than later.

    If Santorum can beat him, great, but I think Newt is the most conservative guy who can win.

    Also, Santorum isn’t a limited government conservative.  But it’s not an easy call.  Newt’s mistakes make it a lot harder to cheer him on.

    Newt support is largely an anti-Romney thing, and it’s hard to build a victory on something that negative.  Romney’s looks… yeah, that’s probably more important to this country.

    That’s why Obama is our president, of course.  That’s what the problem with this country is, in a nutshell.

  • Dustin

    Just remember, Hoffman ran against the GOP after the GOP picked a nominee.  Not the year Newt endorsed Dede, but the next.  Newt’s mistake in that case is annoying, but he didn’t know she’s be such a turncoat.

    Newt’s done a lot more for the conservative movement than he gets credit for.  Rick has done almost nothing, and Mitt has done a lot for the liberals.

  • Dustin

    “I am not thrilled about Newt and I know he is a bastard (I remember Dede Scozzafava”

    What do you remember, exactly?  Newt endorsed a Republican over a guy who was a weak candidate and who later pulled a Murkowski (ran against the GOP in a general election, after losing the GOP primary).

    Newt didn’t know dede would turn out to be a petty jackass.  Sure, she was a RINO at best, but giving Newt full blame for what she did is pretty lame, and if you’re just blaming Newt for one of his endorsements in a house race being lame, well, there isn’t a major politician out there who hasn’t done that.

    His Global Warming couch thing was a ridiculously stupid mistake, but hey, Newt admits that.

    Newt’s comments about Ryan’s plan were idiotic.  I think he had a point in there, but he did an awful job explaining it in a professional way, and Ryan really went out on a limb.  That mistake can’t really be explained away.

    Still, we have Rick, who isn’t really that conservative and I don’t think has shown sufficient experience to be ready to run a two million employee organization, and Mitt, who is truly liberal in record. 

  • Dustin

    I don’t recall this blog being reliably Mitt supporting.  In fact, I basically think it’s been the other way around. 

    I think the problem here is that all the candidates have serious problems.  So other than outright Mitt support, there’s no position we should think proves much of anything about anybody.  They all kinda suck.

  • Adjoran

    They call that an “appeal to authority” – a classic logical fallacy.  The record is the record.  You can pretend it doesn’t exist if you must, but that doesn’t change the reality of it.

    Dede is only one of the latest cases.  Why do you think conservatives ousted him from the Speaker’s chair, because he was doing such a great job?

  • Adjoran

    Where did I say that?  This is the fallacy of the “straw man” – you create your own statement I didn’t say, assign it to me, then attack it.

    I’ve been critical of Romney on “greenie weenie” issues from the start.  But the biggest MA right-to-life organization gave him perfect scores on life issues – he was Governor, not Absolute Monarch, of Massachusetts.

    But even if you were right on all counts, which of those wrong policies does the President impose without Congress first proposing?

  • Adjoran

    That’s not what we hold against Newt.  It was the trash he talked about conservatives who would not accept the local Party RINO.  He didn’t have to do that, he could have endorsed Dede and shut up.  But that’s not Newt, he has to denigrate anyone who disagrees.

    And this is the guy who you think is AGAINST “the establishment” now?

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Adjoran

    I was for Goldwater, Newt was for Rockefeller.  You were for Lincoln Rockwell, so you’re more conservative than me?

    You are the one who won’t commit to supporting the nominee democratically selected by our Party.  Doesn’t that make YOU the RINO?

  • Adjoran

    Nah, no Romney fans here – the remark was aimed at me because I’ll take him over Newt six days a week, and twice on Sunday.

  • Adjoran

    Where the heck have you been the last 20 years?

    Newt’s done quite a lot for the conservative movement – his dagger is crusted thick with the dried blood from our backs.

    But I guess adulterous lobbyists deserve a candidate they can identify with, too.

  • Adjoran

    Not sure about that, but his hair would shatter a fedora into bits.

  • Adjoran

    You have to admit it:  Dan Riehl can be a far more consistent dumbass than Stacy ever dreamed.

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  • Anonymous

    Obama is bisexual. No one cares.

  • Ljm

    Go granny, nana, me mah, oma, grandma!  We love you!