Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gingrich fails to qualify for GOP ballot in Virginia...Opportunity lost...

Gingrich fails to qualify for GOP ballot in Virginia...takes no responsibility...Opportunity lost...

"By now you've likely heard that our effort to gain access to the primary ballot in Virginia was not successful. This was not due to a lack of effort by our volunteers, but the cumbersome process in Virginia." - Michael Krull, National Campaign Director, Gingrich for President-2012

"Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action. Throughout the next months there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days - but in the end we will stand victorious."  Statement from the Newt Gingrich Facebook page, 12/24/11) 

"My favorite political governing slogan for the next 20 years is 2+2=4. Simple, basic, honest facts." - Newt Gingrich, February 10th, 2011 CPAC Conference, Washington DC...

I find Newt Gingrich fascinating. 

Not to be confused with his party's halfwits (Palin, Bachmann, Cain, etc...) the former Speaker of the House has serious things to say. He is an idea man. He is smart. He is also terribly flawed, but who among us isn't? The difference is, of course, that most of us aren't running to be the next President of the United States. 

I've heard many liberals dismiss him as a crazy, untrustworthy, ego maniacal extremist who has zero chance of being elected. I also hear repeatedly that Gingrich would be the best debate foe the Republican Party could ask for to go up against Barack Obama. Both statements are somewhat true in my opinion, the former, less so than the latter. 

I don't think you can dismiss Gingrich in any way, shape or form. He's smart and has an impressive command over politics, policy and history which makes for a formidable candidate anyway you slice it. Yes, there are loose ends that may be his undoing, but we don't know how this plays out just yet. I can see dismissing Michelle  Bachmann or Herman Cain. Not Newt Gingrich...

When I read about his failure to successfully be placed on the Virginia GOP ballot I was stunned. We all know his campaign had a shaky start, but in the last six weeks the Gingrich campaign had roared to the top spot in several national polls. Its kind of where I felt he was supposed to be all along. Last Spring, I felt it would be a battle between Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for the party's nomination. T-Paw didn't last long, Romney is running a smart/safe campaign but the start Gingrich had was mind-boggling. Despite the rocky start, he's found his footing and had surged strongly back into contention. He matters again. 

This latest news, involving the State he's called home for the last ten years, is alarming. Almost as much as the statements being released, purportedly with his blessing, are. (I won't get into the nitty gritty on how he, along with fellow GOP hopefuls Perry, Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman ALL did not qualify for the Virginia primary. Review the basic story here, here and how the Virginia General Assembly could approve emergency legislation to allow all the GOP hopefuls to participate in the primary here .) For the campaign to blame the process in Virginia doesn't speak well for the "personal responsibility" Ginigrich has always championed. Suggesting this event is analogous to the bombing of Pearl Harbor seventy years ago, where over two thousand Americans lost their lives is, well, nuts. Crazy, full goose bozo level nuts kind of talk. 

I think the over/under is about five days before Ron Paul or Mitt Romney folds this into a damning campaign ad. "Newt Gingrich thinks his not being on the Virginia is the same kind of tragedy as Pearl Harbor was. Really? How arrogant. Aren't we trying to get arriogance out of the White House? Elect Ron Paul for President..." Or how about this one? "Newt Gingrich blamed the State of Virginia for his campaign's failure to be on the primary ballot next year. Doesn't President Obama also blame others for his troubles, too? Yes, he does, doesn't he? We need Mitt Romney as our next President..."

It would've been so much more effective to show personal responsibility, admit blame and move on from this organisational failure and fight elsewhere, another day. For a candidate who is so critical of President Obama, it would've added to Gingrich's credibility. Consider his apparent willingness/eagerness to force judges to testify before Congress to explain their decisions should President Gingrich not agree with them, which is a true oddity of this campaign season. Gingrich gets some level of support for that in some quarters (plus a healthy dose of criticism on both sides.) Can you imagine if President Obama announced his intention at the next State of the Union speech in January to do the same thing? The world would simply explode. Tyranny and a New World Order coming right up, please.

Newt Gingrich must step up his discipline and quickly. The Romney machine isn't making these unforced errors and when the rubber hits the road, these kind of things matter in national level politics. Its more often perception than reality, I've been reminded countless times since Obama was sworn into office, that counts. If Gingrich's actions mostly equal what the public perception of him is, well- its a done deal. Say hello to our new President, Mr. Romney....

Opportunity lost. 


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