I think I have figured out the message that worked among Republicans in South Carolina, has been driving the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street-ers, and could work nationwide in 2012. It comes straight out of the 1976 movie Network.
Click on top to see the original. (Ignore the French subtitles. This was the best clip I could find of the full scene.) Doesn’t he look more than vaguely like Newt?
Better yet, rent the movie from Netflix and see it in full context. But before getting carried away, remember, in the film, Howard Beale (the ranting, mentally unstable newsman played brilliantly by Peter Finch) is totally exploited by the TV network executives (Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall) , and ultimately assassinated on air when his ratings go down.
The public hot button, then as now, is the same: rage. Rage from the left, rage from the right, no matter. We live in hard times: depression, recession, fear, unfairness, broken dreams, empty promises, corruption, shrill politics, arrogant finance, social gridlock, and the rest. How can there not be outrage?
The one who can figure out how best to tap it — be it Gingrich through his rants, Obama though his intellect, or someone else — will be hard to stop.