“He seems to be above a lot of the bickering that goes on,” said Ms. Palin.
In some ways its surprising the Gingrich has even survived on the trail long enough to appear on Tuesday night’s stage. In June his campaign was in tatters after his entire senior staff resigned in protest at what they felt was their candidate’s disinterest in traditional campaigning. Reports noted that he was taking a long vacation cruise with wife Calista at a time when other candidates were working Iowa’s hustings hard.
By August his support as measured in polls had declined by about two-thirds from the beginning of the year, to under 5 percent in RealClearPolitics’ rolling averages of the GOP field.
But he’s done well in debates, as opposed to Iowa State Fair handshaking. He’s generally played the role of Greek chorus, attacking moderators for trying to create divisions between candidates and focusing his own remarks on what he sees as the incumbent’s shortfalls.
“Maximizing bickering is probably not the road to the White House,” he said on Tuesday night.
He’s been rewarded with a rebound in the polls. As of Wednesday he was back up to an average of around 8.3 percent in major surveys. At some points in recent weeks his number popped up into the low double digits.
Right now, Herman Cain is serving as the main challenger to steady near-frontrunner Mitt Romney. Some, including Palin, have called Cain the flavor of the month, a designation he rejects. And it is true that there are reasons to believe that he’ll persist in his top tier position.