Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Implosion of Newt Gingrich

I can think of several reasons to oppose the candidacy of Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination. From the mismanagement of his campaign thus far to his lack of any real organization on the ground and no money to speak of to his questionable ethics both in his professional and private life, there are numerous red flags being raised warning us of what a Gingrich presidency might look like. Exhibit A, however, is his arrogance and the anger management issues that come with it.

Last night, after losing to Mitt Romney in Nevada, the former Speaker of the House decided not to host a party and give a speech, as is traditional in these cases. Instead, the Speaker chose to hold a press conference in which he attempted to do what he does best; chastise the media and blame his campaign's failure on Mitt Romney's "dishonesty", calling him a "Soros candidate". The episode quickly disintegrated into an episode of a man desperate for any explanation of his poor performance other than his own inability to raise money, earn support and organize a GOTV campaign. Former GOP House leader Dick Armey, now Chairman of Freedome Works, has pity for Newt, but still calls Newt what he is, namely, a sore loser:
Armey said that Gingrich’s criticisms of Romney were not helpful for either the GOP in November or Gingrich’s own campaign during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “I feel bad for him. I think he’s digressed into a state of taking a second-rate campaign and turning it into a first-rate vendetta,” said Armey

Of course, Newt's problem is not that he's incapable of being president. It's not that he is a poor debater. Nor is his problem that he is not intelligent or an important conservative thinker. Newt's problem is that he's not as smart or effective as he thinks he is, and after two subpar debate performances in Florida people are beginning to figure that out. If Newt Gingrich wants to have any chance of being competitive in this race again, he'd better figure that out for himself, and soon. Politics requires a certain arrogance if you are going to survive in the mine field of elected public life. But it also requires more humility, or at least feigned humility. Newt has neither feigned nor actual humility (which one might find odd for a man on his third wife).

The simple truth is that arrogance, not a determined desire to be president, is what is driving Newt's campaign. His over the top rhetoric as he grapples to explain to himself why he is losing is only making it worse. More from Mr. Armey:
“I thought that last night was really sad for him,” said Armey about Gingrich’s Saturday speech. “Quite frankly again so much of Newt’s whole life is overstated, he overstates the case in such a hyperbolic fashion, it just looks vindictive.”
And that's what it is.

It's time for Mr. Gingrich to take a page out of Mr. Romney's 2008 play book and step aside and make way for the GOP nominee.

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