Bachmann self destructed.
Front runner Herman Cain is fumbling badly, changing his stories about what happened and what he knew fifteen years ago faster than a chameolon on speed and shoved into a kalediscope could change its colours. His doggedness to try to control the situation with constant revisions of what he has now remembered (was it an agreement? or was it a settlement?) will sink him like a stone. Apart from that, his 999 tax plan has hit the snag that it increases taxes for most Americans while reducing taxes for the very wealthy.
Texas Governor Rick Perry's animated speech at the Cornerstone Action Dinner in New Hampshire last Friday – click here to see the funny video – showed the Governor in a merry mood, both before and after walking offstage with a bottle of maple syrup.
Despite the attempts by many to characterise Perry as perhaps being high (Rachel Maddox did her best to say this without saying it when she aired the video), this incident is unlikely to sink Perry. Perry's downward trajectory started with this non-debates during the debates, and will continue with each debate he fluffs in the next few months. Perry's tax plan is an abomination: he has tried to have it both ways by introducing a so-called flat tax but allowing taxpayers to continue with the old tax system if they chose. If the old system makes you pay less tax, would you choose Perry's new system? Trying to straddle both tax systems will cause the Governor some distress if he does not succeed, as a barbed wire fence would if you slipped.
Mitt Romney is doing his imitation of flipflop a day. His poll numbers seem stuck in a narrow band, without the ability to break out. The bulk of the Tea Party seem adamant they dislike this Mormon candidate, both for his religion (or is that a sect?), as well as his changing positions. Acting like a weathervane to avoid annoying the far right has not worked for Mitt: he is losing even those who thought he was the only adult in the room.
That leaves Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich's masterpiece was his brilliant victory over the Democrats when he ran on the Contract with America platform and became Speaker after the Republican sweep in 1994.
He will appeal to independents, because he is not as flaky as most of the other candidates, nor does he give the impression that as president he would bow to the nutty Tea Party extreme positions. Those positions of the Tea Party that he agreed with, he would support; but if they did not make sense for him he would not.
The irony is that if Gingrich is chosen, which I think is probable right now, and won, he would have as Speaker of the House the tearful John Boehner who tried to mastermind a coup to replace Newt as Speaker when Newt had his brush with the House Ethics Subcommittee.Be interesting to watch that race over the next few weeks.