Newt Gingrich reduced to a Deep South strategy

After he skewered a doubting news media and a hostile GOP “establishment” on Tuesday night, a crusty — yet cheerful — Newt Gingrich concluded his victory in the Georgia presidential primary with a vow to carry his fight into Kansas, Alabama and Mississippi.

By the time the sun had come up on Wednesday, Kansas — which holds caucuses on Saturday — had been dropped from the Gingrich itinerary. And campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond acknowledged that the former U.S. House speaker had been reduced to a Deep South strategy.

Gingrich’s hopes of keeping his presidential ambitions on this side of reality now rely on his ability to cut a swath of victories from South Carolina to Texas. Somewhat like General Sherman in reverse — except that Sherman didn’t finish third in Tennessee.

Of the pair, neighboring Alabama may be an easier win for Gingrich. Not because Huntsville has a space camp, but because it’s not Mississippi — where the family of former Gov. Haley Barbour still hold sway.

Henry Barbour, the governor’s nephew and a member of the Republican National Committee, is a former supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry — and now a Romney backer.

Two months ago, during the South Carolina campaign, Henry Barbour declared that a Gingrich nomination could lose more than a race for the White House. He still thinks so. “When the top of the ticket is erratic, it makes it dangerous for the majority in the [U.S.] House, and could keep us from winning the Senate,” Barbour said Wednesday.

The RNC member gives Santorum the edge in both Mississippi and Alabama, but declares that Romney has a decent chance of finishing second in Mississippi.

Atlanta Journal Constitution
3/7/12