Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Not Newt?

Let’s start by comparing the former Speaker to President Clinton. Both rank among the most brilliant, intuitive politicians of our age, but President Clinton worked well with others. The Speaker is great on conceptualizing big ideas and strategy, but poor in prioritizing and evaluating his ideas. He needs a trusted confidant, who can tell him which ideas are achievable. The Speaker is too impressed with his own abilities (we call it arrogance) to listen to others, with the possible exception of his wife.

Both President Clinton and Congressman Gingrich are very smart, but can engage in stupid conduct.

Both of them had trouble keeping their zippers up.

Congressman Gingrich started his career in the House as a flamethrower, engaging in political stunts to enervate the GOP, which had been spending 4 decades in the political wilderness. He brought the Democratic Speaker Jim Wright of Texas down with ethical charges. His instinct is still to ruthlessly attack. He was unable to assume a conciliatory approach once he achieved power.

Even his campaign staff quit earlier in this campaign.

A major problem is that he can be both facile and flippant. The odds are that he will implode and say something, often devastatingly stupid, before this campaign is over. His comment last May about Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare is illustrative: “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering.”

He complained at one point during the negotiations with the Clinton Administration to avoid a government shut down that he was snubbed by the President on a flight back from Israel and was told to leave the plane by the rear door. You don’t hear similar statements from the current Republican Speaker John Boehner, who is believed to not be a fan of Newt’s.

Newt Gingrich has demonstrated through his life that he is a loose cannon.

Newt Gingrich, as Speaker of the House, was a Washington insider. He still suffers from Potomac Fever, living in D.C.

As a consummate politician, he is willing to compromise conservative principles in his campaign for the Presidency.

One of the main objectives of the Republican House and the Tea Party is to eliminate earmarks. Congressman Gingrich is promising programs to every state he campaigns in. He’s “pandering” as Governor Clinton did in 1992.

His attacks on Governor Romney for Bain Capital and capitalism are repugnant to conservatives. President Obama’s campaign can wage class warfare, but not a conservative Republican leader. He’s also not as good a demagogue as the President. It also doesn’t stick when coming from a politician who made $1.6 million from Freddie Mac in 4 years.

The candidate is a whiner. If he wishes to attack the media in debates because of inane and partisan questions they might be asking, that goes over well with voters. Whining on the stump though sounds like a loser. He’s done a lot of whining this cycle. It belittles him.

Negative ads, attack ads work, but they need an aura of credibility to succeed.

Governor Romney is a New England moderate Republican. Republicans, conservative on social issues, do not get elected statewide in Massachusetts. Calling the Governor a liberal though does not stick.

The Speaker also ignores one of the basic maxims in life: Those living in glass houses should not throw stones. He’s quick to attack, but often is guilty of the same sins, faults, and mistakes he accuses opponents of. He’s misused the word “Lie” often this season. The hypocrisy is transparent.

Running a promotion with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on global warming does not win friends in the Republican Party.

He has managed to unite most Republican leaders, many of whom had worked with him in Congress,in opposition to his candidacy.

And the list could go on.

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