Steve M. takes young Conor apart for believing that Newt’s previous policy positions should hurt him with the the teahadists. It’s a thorough dissection, but I’d make it even simpler: both of the leading Republican contenders supported individual mandates for health insurance, yet opposition to that provision of ACA is one of the bedrock principles of teahadism.
It’s true that the real wingnuts prefer Gingrich (who has only supported things similar to ACA) to Romney (who actually enacted something similar to ACA), but I doubt that this reality-based analysis explains the preference. Teahadists want the candidate who rocks the hardest. It’s that simple. Rick Perry rocked when he talked about guns and lynching and Ben Bernanke, not so much when he took too many pain-killers before the debates. Cain rocked when he was 999 all the time, not so much when he was singing spirituals at pressers. Romney never rocks, so he’ll never appeal to the hard-core right, no matter how much he contorts his policy positions. (“Electability”, support from the establishment, and the ineptitude of the candidates who can rock may give him the nomination anyway.)
It’s just plain stupid to think that past policy positions — and maybe even current policy positions — have anything to do with any of this.