Many who criticize Newt Gingrich have faulted what they call his “discipline” problem. Like many people with strong emotions, strong convictions, he tends to let you know what he feels when he is moved and what he thinks when a thought pops into his head.
More often than not leadership requires restraint. Sometimes, it’s the things not said which determine our ability to gain respect. We have all had those times when we would have done better to remain silent and not complain about some outrage we feel or some slight we have suffered. And that expression frequently compromises our ability to accomplish the task at hand. As we age, some of us learn to suffer some such slights in silence. Newt Gingrich, it appears, has not.
That is why he, at least according to Byron York, he is tumbling in the polls. It’s not much, York writes, the attack ads which have hurt the former Speaker, but his “reaction to the ads“:
Voters who once supported Gingrich but have now turned away from him say that his hot-tempered response to the ads, rather than the ads themselves, simply turned them off. “He’s got a temper,” said one Tea Party member at a Nashua coffeehouse Saturday morning. “I don’t want a guy with a temper with his finger on the button.” Other voters said Gingrich’s ill-tempered complaints about the ads distracted them from the former speaker’s message about jobs, the economy, and American renewal.
. . . .
As a political tactic, the brilliance of the Paul and Romney ads was that they provoked Gingrich to anger — and into hurting himself. That allowed Romney supporters to follow up by accusing Gingrich of being in a state of perpetual anger, and therefore unfit for the presidency.
(H/t Ed Driscoll on Instapundit.) Read the whole thing.
That said, despite Newt’s, um, well, erratic behavior on the campaign trail, many rank-and-file Republicans who do not back the Georgian for President (including yours truly) do acknowledge his accomplishments: “Voters here and in South Carolina still have great respect for Gingrich and what he has accomplished in his career; no rival can match him.”
Sometimes silence (even when we suffer inside) can make us appear strong. To borrow an expression from Alan Parsons, “Though it’s getting harder to take what they say/Just let it go, just let it go“. If Newt just let it go, he might today find himself in a two-way race for the Republican nomination, running slightly ahead of or just even with the man he dubs the Massachusetts moderate.
FROM THE COMMENTS: Geena quips, “If Newt could suffer in silence, he would have remained Speaker of the House up until 2006…or longer”. Indeed.