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Thursday, June 9, 2011


This always happen.  I'm away from the internet for most of the day -- en route this time to my in-laws' 65th wedding anniversary weekend in Florida -- and stuff happens.

Newt is on a cruise somewhere with the Mrs., and his staff resigns en masse.  Via Politico:

Newt Gingrich’s top staff quit en masse Thursday, throwing into question whether his already troubled presidential campaign can continue.

Two sources close to the situation confirmed that campaign manager Rob Johnson, strategists Sam Dawson and Dave Carney, spokesman Rick Tyler, and consultants Katon Dawson in South Carolina and Craig Schoenfeld in Iowa have all quit to protest what one called a “different vision” for the campaign....

Gingrich was intent on using technology and standing out at debates to get traction while his advisers believed he needed to run a campaign that incorporated both traditional, grassroots techniques as well as new ideas.
One official said the last straw came when Gingrich went forward with taking a long-planned cruise with his wife last week in the Greek isles. After his bumpy start, rumors began to circulate in the political community the former House speaker’s days as a candidate were numbered.
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  1. Congratulations and hugs to your in-laws!!!

  2. Actually, this doesn't seem nearly as bad as it sounds on initial hearing. Gingrich is embracing the new technologies that propelled Obama (and somewhat more poorly, McCain) to their primary wins in 2008.

    It's interesting that they would all jump ship at this time, especially over the claim of GINGRICH wanting to focus on new tech, when Rob Johnson's specific strength was supposed to be HOW to harness the Internet for political purposes (at least according to Rick Tyler's introduction of Johnson to the campaign on May 6th, 2011).

    I don't know about this whole "Greek Isles" vacation thing. That just sounds like sour grapes on somebody's part. It's early enough in the campaign season that the candidates can get away for a week and not do any major damage (unlike if they went in, oh ... November or December, let's say) It's barely JUNE the YEAR BEFORE the nominating convention. If the candidates can't get away now, they might as well chain themselves to their desks (or campaign buses) forever.

    My BEST guess is that Gingrich is going to (at least partially) forgo Iowa and South Carolina in favor of New Hampshire and Nevada. Now, listen before everybody shouts "that's political suicide." Here's my thoughts:

    1.) You CAN'T (not won't, CAN'T) win Iowa without supporting Ethanol subsidies and the FairTax (in that order). Ethanol is how half the farmers get their corn prices up enough to pay for farming it, which Gingrich sort of supports via his "every car should be flex fuel" statements. As I've said before, the FairTax supporters have made it a point to build a grassroots organization in Iowa fro the explicit purpose of getting a FairTax candidate nominated (which is why Herman Cain will do well, unless Bachmann steals his thunder on the issue). Gingrich ADAMANTLY supports a 15% flat tax.

    2.) Huckabee won Iowa, and yet LOST South Carolina. The reason? South Carolina is an OPEN primary. Gingrich is positioning himself to be a MODERATE. He's trying to occupy the space that McCain left (which is a mistake by my calculations, but it might work given Obama's hard left Social-Statism. However, with that approach, Gingrich is EXPECTING the Left to try and do what they did LAST time (which is cross-over in DROVES to vote on the Republican line to "water down" the candidate from a Conservative firebrand (like Palin, Cain or Bachmann) to something like Gingrich or maybe Pawlenty. The LAST thing the Dems want is Obama on a stage against Palin, Cain or Bachmann, because they KNOW that any of those three will clean his clock head to head, not only on charisma but also on knowledge).

    3. New Hampshire is a closed primary unless you're an independent. That let's Gingrich be a little more open to the Conservatives if he can properly tailor his message, because he doesn't have pure Liberal-Socialists diluting the voter pool. Plus it gives him an early North-Eastern State. Also plus, he's got eight days from Iowa to New Hampshire to "refine" the message more Conservative.

    4. Ditto (almost) on Nevada - Closed caucus vote with NO independent vote allowed. This allows for a stronger Conservative message.

    So, summing up, I think that Gingrich can see the writing on the wall for Iowa and foresees Democrat shenanigans in South Carolina, so he's not going to waste primary resources there (just a small campaign footprint mostly for show). The Democrats think that Gingrich is beatable by Obama, and so he's EXPECTING them to cross-over and vote in droves for him (like they did to get McCain to be the candidate). He'll focus on scoring big points where primaries are closed, because that's where he NEEDS to win to get nominated.

  3. I never believed that Newt was serious about winning. It's just that his career as a pundit has no foundation if he isn't a "potential" presidential candidate. Newt is all about books and speaking fees. The books have to come often and those speaking fees have to be high.

    With this train wreck, I bet that even his only fan, Sean Hannity, is going to abandon. I also bet that Hannity won't bring it up today.

  4. Update - from a MSNBC story:

    NBC also confirmed that South Carolina consultant Katon Dawson and Iowa operative Craig Schoenfeld quit Team Gingrich. The entire full-time staff in Iowa, six aides, also quit.

    "You have to be able to raise money to run a campaign and you have to invest time in fundraising and to campaign here in the state and I did not have the confidence that was going to be happening," Schoenfeld told The Des Moines Register.


    This seems to bear out what I was thinking about Gingrich forgoing Iowa almost entirely and letting South Carolina be carried on cross-over Independent and Democrat voters. The Iowa staff apparently was told something like "Gingrich isn't coming. No Photo Ops, no big get-togethers" at which point they all went "well, this isn't for me then because I want something high profile to build my OWN career."

    The defection of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue — who was serving as Gingrich's national campaign co-chair — who will now be endorsing Tim Pawlenty is a stinging loss though. He's still really popular in Georgia.

    I'm still a fan of Gingrich. Does he hold a couple of policy positions that I would prefer he didn't? Sure. But he does have a historical knowledge base which tends to ground his decisions in workable action. I'm interested to see what he does. If Ed Rollins does manage to get pushed out of the Bachmann campaign, I'm sure that Newt would hire him immediately. The question is would Rollins work for Gingrich? That, I don't know.

  5. No Newt! If a politician cannot control his own damned pecker I do not trust him with a bazillion nuclear weapons, nor with the lives of the men and women of our Armed Services.

    I'm really beginning to believe we oughta geld everyone running for any position above County Commissioner, on my bad days, dog catcher.