I mostly agree with Jennifer Rubin’s description of Newt Gingrich’s flaws. Anybody who lived through the 1990s ought to have serious reservations about how Gingrich would translate to a general election audience, to say the least. But I think it’s a stretch to say that a vote for Gingrich is effectively a vote for Romney.
For that argument to hold, it is not sufficient to point to Gingrich’s liabilities. One must also make the case that a.) Rick Santorum can win the nomination and b.) that the cause of stopping Romney is somehow helped by Romney winning another primary. Santorum was ill served by the media narrative that Iowa was an unambiguous win for Romney, but his momentum stalled before that conventional wisdom took hold. But even with the certified Iowa results, each Romney victory from this point on will only make him harder to stop.
By all means, make the case for Romney over Gingrich and suggest that Santorum be enlisted to take him down a peg. But let’s not pretend Romney winning the South Carolina primary will somehow help a better non-Romney to emerge down the road. Republican primary voters must pick their poison.