Dream Candidate

Florida Primary: Why Liberals Should Cheer for Newt Gingrich

Gingrich may have lost Florida, but he’s souring voters on Romney and wreaking havoc on Mitt’s support among independents. What more could a Democrat want? Plus, read more Daily Beast contributors on what Romney’s win means.

02.01.12 3:05 AM ET

Speaking on Fox News this weekend, Sarah Palin said, “Vote for Newt, annoy a liberal,” proving that she knows as much about liberals as she knows about most other things. True, some liberals may be pure of heart enough to recoil at the idea of a borderline personality like Gingrich getting anywhere near the nomination of a major political party, but I’d bet $10,000 that I’m not the only one cheering him on.

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 31:  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks as his wife Callista looks on during his Florida primary night party January 31, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. According to early results former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defeated Gingrich, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to win Florida's primary.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, on primary night in Orlando

Despite what Mitt Romney said during his victory speech, this increasingly ugly primary isn’t helping any of the Republican candidates. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Tuesday showed that a plurality of voters, 40 percent, see Romney’s background at Bain Capital negatively, without the Obama campaign having to do a thing. Voters are also souring on Romney personally. As Greg Sargent reported last week, “Romney’s unfavorability rating among independents has spiked 20 points in the last two months.”

One can only dream, then, of the kamikaze damage Newt can inflict if he keeps his promise to continue fighting to the convention. His manic post-defeat speech, with its fantastical list of all the things he plans to accomplish on the day of his imaginary inauguration, suggested he might actually do it. Besides, while he was clobbered in Florida, there were a couple of things for him to cling to in the exit polling. He beat Romney by 3 points among white evangelicals and 12 points among strong Tea Party supporters, demographics that could prove significant in the South. That doesn’t mean Gingrich can win this thing. But it might mean he thinks he can, which is all that matters. His Brobdingnagian ego and epic capacity for pique could help secure Obama’s second term. Forty-six states to go!

Well, 45 without Virginia. Never mind. Go, Newt!