That's how I felt Saturday night when I heard that Newt Gingrich had won the GOP South Carolina primary. Like most people I'd assumed that a Romney victory in South Carolina was a foregone conclusion. Gingrich, whose campaign rebounded from a near collapse early last year, was starting to slip again in the polls. The momentum was clearly with Romney, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul nipping at his heels. Or so went the narrative.
Then came Newt.
Not only did the former House Speaker win, he won by a landslide. Like I said, I was shocked, but in hindsight I probably shouldn't have been. Even though Gingrich lost badly in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, he performed very well in the two debates leading up to the South Carolina vote. In particular, Newt's fearless challenge of CNN's John King in the second debate wowed conservatives and was almost certainly THE thing that pushed Newt over the top.
Whether by accident or design, Gingrich touched a huge nerve with his face off against King. Conservatives have endured media bias for decades and were just waiting for someone to tell the media elites where to go. Newt did that, and conservatives repaid him with victory. Of course, his win in South Carolina doesn't mean that Gingrich is a shoo in for the GOP presidential nomination. Politics is a very unpredictable game, and voters can be fickle. Still, Newt's victory in South Carolina has given everyone something to think about and, if you're a conservative, something to cheer about.