Thursday, December 8, 2011

David Frum: Of all the reasons Newt Gingrich's campaign will implode, the key one is that he is an incompetent leader

David Frum writes (hat tip: memeorandum):

The most important thing to remember about Gingrich is not the three marriages, not the dubious financial practices, not the abrupt reversals on healthcare mandates and climate change. It’s not the grandiosity of language, not the habit of casting opponents as un-American, not the lack of self-awareness that allowed him to impeach a president for lying under oath about an extramarital affair while engaged in an extramarital affair of his own.

The most important thing to remember about Newt Gingrich is that his colleagues in the House of Representatives effectively fired him as their leader even before the impeachment crisis, shifting power instead into the more competent hands of Tom DeLay. It was Tom DeLay who ran the caucus while Newt Gingrich was traveling the country giving speeches about Total Quality Management and the Struggle for Western Civilization.

Gingrich was not pushed aside by his caucus for any of the offenses listed above. He was pushed aside because he plunged the caucus into chaos, because he lost fights that he himself had chosen, because he could not control his mouth, because he wanted to be a star more than he wanted to get things done. There’s a reason Gingrich is fascinated by management gurus: he needs the help.

That weakness in Gingrich will not now abruptly change. The chaos that surrounded him as Speaker, the chaos that engulfed his presidential campaign earlier this year – that chaos will replicate itself again.

Wow.

Here's the part of his analysis I disagree with:

Today’s question is: will the Gingrich balloon deflate like all the previous Not Mitt balloons?

The answer is: yes of course–but given that these balloons take typically 6-8 weeks to shrivel, the impending Gingrich bust may not arrive soon enough to save Romney.

1. Frum forgets that this primary is heavily back-loaded compared to previous primaries. The "Gingrich" balloon doesn't have to deflate by the very first round of primaries to take him down.

2. Secondly, as we approach the first round of primaries, the level of attention, media scrutiny, and cycling media narratives will only accelerate. If previous balloons took 6-8 weeks to shrivel, any balloons this close the first primaries are likely to have a shorter life.

3. Even by Frum's own math of 6-8 weeks, we're in like what, Week 3 of the Gingrich balloon already? Maybe even the beginning of Week 4? Ever since Herman Cain's campaign started imploding in November? That's plenty of time before the Iowa Caucuses.

The biggest issue here, however, is not how all of this will affect Romney's chances, but what it means for Ron Paul, the highest-polling, best-funded candidate of the remaining non-Mitt Romney candidates that have not yet had a "surge." When Newt's star fades, will Ron Paul be next? And if so, will the Ron Paul balloon ever shrivel, or only swell?




Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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