It is fitting that South Carolina has gone from goading the rest of the South into a disastrous attempt at secession 150 years ago, and just this weekend have voted overwhelmingly to nominate Newt Gingrich for president. Clearly, the primal scream of sending a message has trumped even defeating Obama for the palmetto-leaf folks (they really need a better nickname for South Carolinians. I prefer "Dixienuts").
I won't entertain the possibility that Gingrich could ever get elected president, as Obama would need to admit to actually being an Iranian double agent to get beaten (and even then would still win the blue states) by that guy. Newt's approval ratings are somewhere between traffic jams and mysterious rashes. His debate strategy is satisfying in the sense that everyone loves an insult comic, but this is not a guy who can win moderates and if anything will drive up turnout among the Democratic base.
But a lot of Republicans don't care about that--right now, it's about sending a message that they don't care for Mitt Romney. Romney, to be sure, is a very weak retail politician, given to craven flip flopping, fancy hair, and exhorbitant wealth that has created a distance between him and the voters--and basically, the GOP base didn't like it any more when it was John Kerry filling that role. (What is it with Massachusetts, anyway?)
I still predict Romney gets the nomination in the end--he's got more establishment support, money, and ground organization--but his weak spot has shown. It's going to get uglier before it gets prettier.