Hot Air comments yesterday that "the polls in every one of the early states have been pretty much of a roller coaster ride since summer. There’s probably time for at least one more rise and fall before the state’s [South Carolina's] residents actually go to the polls.”

The Republican campaign degenerates now to a state like that in the mid-'70s when political contrast was phrased “hippies v. hard hats.” The hard hats, rednecks today, were characteristically pictured sitting by a construction site on lunch break with American flag decals on their safety helmets and on their metal lunch pails poignant political slogans like “I’m not FONDA commies.” Yelling to passing hippies or just anyone, “Get a job! Take a bath!” (And to hippie girls or just any woman, “I like it in the morning!”)

Today, Lou Dobbs lines up the fat white men nightly on Fox Business, the hard hats apparently all radio commentators now, with their hearty guffaws to declare the Occupy people “smelly,” “need a bath,” “germy.” It is not just stupid and provincial, it is second-generation stupid. Any reference to the '60s brings uproarious laughter. Time came to an abrupt halt for this group around 1962, when the first Volkswagen Bugs entered the American mainstream.

Those were the days when Merle Haggard would sing his anthem, “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee ... " Sadly, now The Hag likes to brag that he rolled a jumbo with Hillary.

But those happy days are here again for Republicans. They have finally found their perfect provincial hard-hat candidate: Newt Gingrich.

Sarah Palin actually has good skill in political name-calling; those who misspeak publicly like Palin and Perry are creative right-brain thinkers. She, from the heartland, absorbed the '60s, the '70s, the '80s and the '90s. Her comments like the “nerd prom” are skillful, not geared at the working people or the “hippies” but the Washington reporters who have been absorbed by the political establishment and become its agents and hacks.

Sarah Palin, still a paid commentator I believe for Fox, should go direct on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show — he the honest, courageous dean of free comment today — and say this: “I am thinking of entering the Republican primary campaign.”

See what happens.

Because right now the hard-hat Republican base has commandeered the party. It retreats to a degenerative state and doesn’t have a chance against President Obama. The varying support and lack of coalition around a candidate is nature’s way of saying something’s wrong. (Gingrich, Dobbs and the hard-hat right will recognize the phrase from that degenerate hippie group from the '60s, Spirit.)

Forget Iowa and New Hampshire. Focus on South Carolina. Rick Perry, the only outside-the-Beltway candidate besides Ron Paul, is at 4 percent in South Carolina. Newt Gingrich has a commanding lead according to the Augusta Chronicle, at 38 percent, followed by Romney at 15.

If Gingrich wins South Carolina he will win the nomination and lose to Obama. The Republicans will feel good about themselves because they like to lose and really want Jeb Bush with some cover agent — Chris Christie, the first choice — in 2016. They can wait. They like to wait.

But if Sarah Palin can win South Carolina she will win the nomination and save the party from itself and beat Obama.