COMMENTARY | Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential bid seems to be losing many of its key players. Over the last few days, his top advisers, some of whom have been with him for years, have thrown in the towel. This mass exodus from the Gingrich camp begs the question: Is Newt Gingrich’s campaign over before it began?
The New York Times reported that “his top advisers banded together and resigned.” Reasons that were listed include the candidate’s lack of focus; his unwillingness to hit the campaign trail hard enough; and his cruise to Greece.
It would seem to me that the reasons that Gingrich’s former staffers listed all add up to a man who is not really serious about running for office. His actions in the short time after he announced his campaign have been perplexing, to say the least.
When it was revealed that Gingrich and his wife had a half-million dollar line of credit at Tiffany’s, his response was, according to the Washington Post, that he and his wife are “very frugal.” I pride myself on being a frugal person, and I can say with all certainty that I will never have $500,000 worth of credit anywhere.
It is astounding that a member of the Republican Party could ever hope to connect with the middle-class voters in America when this is how he lives within his means. The GOP stands for financial restraint and fiscal responsibility; Gingrich’s actions are nothing close to these principles.
In an effort to start taking on the big issues such as health care, Gingrich went on “Meet the Press” and referred to Paul Ryan’s solution to health care as “right wing social engineering.” My first impression was that I was glad Gingrich had the courage to speak out against something that he thought was wrong. I felt what he said made sense, and the Republican Party may actually have a candidate willing to take a stand outside of the Tea Party’s agenda.
What he did next I will never understand: He apologized to Paul Ryan. That is right, according to Politico, Gingrich called Ryan and said he was sorry for his remarks on the NBC talk show. To attempt to take back his statement was not only bad damage control — it was a major sign of weakness.
So what does a candidate whose campaign is falling apart before his very eyes do after two major missteps such as these? If you are Newt, you set sail for Greece. In what seems to be the final straw for the six top aides who left the campaign this week, Gingrich and his wife went on vacation.
While Sarah Palin is flitting about the country on her bus pretending not to campaign, and Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum hit major primary hot spots, Gingrich is missing. He has been in politics long enough to know that you don’t leave the country just as your election bid is kicking off. According to The New York Times, Gingrich explained his absence by stating that he needed to “to stop and think.” I sincerely hope that he was stopping to think about whether or not he actually wants to be president.
The staffers who left, including an aide of over a dozen years, Rick Tyler, did the right thing in leaving the campaign. They were able to see that Gingrich’s ship is sinking, even if Newt can’t.
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Meet The Press