The University of Minnesota has a piece suggesting that Mr. Gingrich the only candidate in the recent debates who has come under no attacks from his fellows. Why?
Why? One obvious reason might be that until lately, he hasn't been worth attacking; only recently has he begun to poll seriously. The main reason that UMN comes up with is that Mr. Gingrich has played fair on the point -- just as game theory would suggest, not attacking people is a good road to not being attacked. Only Rep. Paul has launched fewer critiques of fellow Republicans, and on top of that Mr. Gingrich has pointedly criticized moderators who tried to draw him into attacking fellow Republicans. Thus, he has drawn a clear standard, and he has upheld it: and this is the sort of conduct that game theory would suggest produces a peace between players.
I think there is one more reason, though, which is that Mr. Gingrich is far and away the smartest guy on the stage. If debates are about intellectual strength, then Mr. Gingrich benefits from our old motto: Peace Through Superior Firepower. It is simply wisdom from the rest of the field to recognize the disparity, and not call down his fire upon themselves.
Intelligence and knowledge aren't the only factors in choosing a nominee, of course. There are several reasons not to prefer Mr. Gingrich, the most significant for me being his treatment of the women in his life. Still, I suspect that one reason that Newt will continue to escape sharp criticism in the debates is that he is more than capable of collecting the heads of anyone who tries. Since he has also offered a clear road to avoiding that rather public humiliation, I think he'll tread safely unless he proves to have lasting electoral strength.
What is likely to happen instead of a direct conflict is an attempt to stab him from a place of safety, as in his back. Rather than attacks in the debates, Mr. Gingrich is in danger of anonymously-sourced hit pieces of the type that has so damaged the Cain campaign.