Just days before the South Carolina primary, polls showed Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich. Then came the debates and the question about Gingrich's private life, which brought a devastating response from the former Speaker of the House — and a standing ovation from the audience.
Apparently the television audience felt the same way, judging by the huge turnaround in the support for Gingrich. The stunning victory in South Carolina brought Newt's candidacy back to life.
But the message from South Carolina was about more than a reaction to how Gingrich dealt with a cheap shot question from the media. Nor was it simply the Republican voters' response to Newt's mastery as a debater.
The more fundamental message is that the Republican primary voters do not want Mitt Romney, even if the Republican establishment does — and it is just a question of which particular conservative alternative the voters prefer.