I like to see the mechanics of political campaigns, regardless of the person or party. So I am watching with interest to see if the Newt Gingrich campaign can survive the self-inflicted wounds from the past weekend. The gaffe that started this mess was when Gingrich labeled, correctly I think, Congressman Paul Ryan’s much-touted Medicare plan as too “radical”. That set off howls from conservatives, and then a series of gestures from Gingrich to quiet the noise-makers.
While there have always been doubts about the ability of Gingrich not to do or say something rash and intemperate, no one thought he would implode this soon. It has only been about a week since he became an announced candidate! So now the question is can Gingrich do or say anything that will again put his campaign for the White House on track.
I suspect it will be very hard, as most who will be the money-givers, and die-hard supporters are not interested in glory laps for any candidate. They want a winner! The stakes are too high to have a feel-good race. From my point of view it seems Gingrich wants to be in the race for the sake of himself, as opposed to the needs of the Republican Party.
Having said that however, the GOP would be wise to understand what Gingrich said, even if it was stated in less than an artful way.
Newt Gingrich has always been a blow-hard who wraps himself in the intellectual part of his party. Gingrich is correct to say that the GOP needs to not come across as radical in its approaches to win in 2012, and that Ryan’s proposal is aimed in the opposite direction from the sensible way to run a race for the White House. But it is also true to say that for all the years and all the interviews given by Gingrich it appears that little was learned.
Bluster and bombast are not good characteristics on the campaign trail.