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Is Newt in need of an intervention?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:28 am - February 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

I didn’t just turn off Newt Gingrich’s odd speech last night in order to meet my date for dinner; I also turned it off because he reminded me of an angry leftist, eager to criticize a conservative or Republican not on the merits of his opposition but in order to vent his spleen.  When I returned from dinner, I learned I wasn’t the only one who thought the former Speaker behaved in a rather juvenile manner.

Over at the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein headlined his post on the Nevada returns, Romney wins Nevada, Newt throws a tantrum, observing that after his introductory remarks,

The rest of the press conference was very process oriented and filled with bitter attacks on Romney, from his negative campaigning to his statements on the poor. Gingrich even remarked that it was “weird” that Romney fired his debate coach who had helped him through the two Florida debates in which most people thought he did well. Gingrich can talk all he wants about running an unconventional campaign, but at the end of the day, money and delegates are what matter and the prospects don’t look great for either right now.

If the former Speaker showed some grace in defeat, he might be better able to rally those Republicans not entirely satisfied with the frontrunner.

Current returns show Romney winning by about 17 points — but with only 5.8% of Clark County in.  And if the results from the state’s largest county correspond with the entrance poll, those numbers should boost the candidate’s margin; Michael Barone reports that “Romney leads in Clark County with 63% of the vote, to 17% for Paul and 14% for Gingrich.”  (“Clark County includes Las Vegas and 70% of Nevada’s population; it is more Democratic than the rest of the state and cast just 55% of the votes here.“)*

And Romney won even after, as Cameron Joseph put it in the Hill a “rough week in which the former governor of Massachusetts took some lumps for a verbal stumble where said he’s “not concerned about the very poor.

If the entrance polls are any indication, Romney could end up beating Newt by a greater than 2-to-1 margin.  No wonder Newt was bitter tonight.  He didn’t do himself any favors by the way he responded to the results.  He won’t help advance the conservative ideas he often articulates so eloquently by reacting to election returns in a manner reminiscent of one of his very unhappy former colleagues.

He should keep his focus on his ideas instead of making increasingly manifest how much he resents Mitt Romney.

*Oh, Newt  may call Nevada a “Mormon state,” but, as Barone noted, “Non-Mormons seem to have preferred Romney over Gingrich by 42%-26%, a margin similar to that in Florida, with 23% for Paul, much more than he received in Florida.”  Romney won non-Mormons in Nevada by a greater plurality that Newt won overall in South Carolina.

And one more thing, Romney devoted his victory speech to attacking President Obama, Newt to attacking a Republican presidential candidate.  Now, do you understand why I’m leaning toward the former Massachusetts governor and not my former boss?

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Reader bfwebster caught something in the questions which showed just how petty Newt was last night:

The most interesting part of the news conferences was when a reporter asked Gingirch fairly early on about Romney being “in your head”. Gingrich gave a weak sarcastic comeback that sounded more peevish than witty, claimed that Romney wasn’t in his head, then spent almost the entire remaining news conference showing that Romney is very much in his head. Newt’s only real bright spot was in his comments about the Obamacare/Catholic flap, but Romney had already covered that in his victory speech, so it sounded me-too-ish. Someone needs to tell Newt that there’s no crying in baseball.

Frankly, the two performances last night went a long ways towards convincing me that Romney would do much better running against Obama than Gingrich would. It’s clear Romney has a thicker skin and a better sense of going after the jugular. And for all his tone-deaf gaffes — and I hope he gets the rest out of the way sooner rather than later — Romney has much less personal baggage.

Indeed.

UPDATE: Contending that Newt’s “post–Nevada caucus performance”, as he dubs it “will hurt [the candidate] more than anything yet in the campaign”, Victor Davis Hanson opines that

. . . whether he knows it or not, Gingrich is becoming a caricature of petulance: no concession in Nevada, no call to Romney, no awareness that his inability to raise money at levels of a political rival or to match a competing campaign organization is not necessarily unfair. That’s politics, and Gingrich knows it. I don’t understand why he thinks now losing to Romney in 2012 is solely due to Romney’s innate deviousness in a way McCain beating Romney in 2008 was not — given that Romney was about the same in both 2008 and 2012. Gingrich seems oblivious to the fact that McCain’s style and history gave him advantages over Romney’s money and hardball in ways Gingrich’s own proven liabilities apparently do not.

Read the whole thing!

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15 Comments

  1. Newt makes it a lot easier for me to look at Romney as the nominee.

    At this point, what does Newt bring to the race? He is Quixotic, edging on venal, looking more and more like a blowfish on automatic pilot.

    How many resurrections does Newt think he will get in his quest to hit his stride?

    If there ever was a sucker setting himself up for a “there you go again” redux, it is Newt.

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 5, 2012 @ 9:31 am - February 5, 2012

  2. The most interesting part of the news conferences was when a reporter asked Gingirch fairly early on about Romney being “in your head”. Gingrich gave a weak sarcastic comeback that sounded more peevish than witty, claimed that Romney wasn’t in his head, then spent almost the entire remaining news conference showing that Romney is very much in his head. Newt’s only real bright spot was in his comments about the Obamacare/Catholic flap, but Romney had already covered that in his victory speech, so it sounded me-too-ish. Someone needs to tell Newt that there’s no crying in baseball.

    Frankly, the two performances last night went a long ways towards convincing me that Romney would do much better running against Obama than Gingrich would. It’s clear Romney has a thicker skin and a better sense of going after the jugular. And for all his tone-deaf gaffes — and I hope he gets the rest out of the way sooner rather than later — Romney has much less personal baggage.

    I say all this, BTW, as someone who didn’t like Romney much in 2008 (he was just above John McCain in my preference list) and who frankly wasn’t thrilled about his taking the lead this time around. But a lot of other potential candidates chose to sit on their hands (or their thumbs) this time around, so he’s pretty much the best we’ve got. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — February 5, 2012 @ 9:39 am - February 5, 2012

  3. bfwebster, thanks for the alert; I had stopped watching before that question.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — February 5, 2012 @ 11:08 am - February 5, 2012

  4. Instead of focusing on being the one who can dethrone OBAMA, maybe these folk can present themselves as leaders of the US of A. Bold Brave and capable of leading this Country. None of the independent voters nor fence sitting folk will vote for the presidential option.

    Comment by rusty — February 5, 2012 @ 11:22 am - February 5, 2012

  5. But then again, methinks that some of the folk who chose not to enter the race this time truly understand the challenges that any leader will have over the next 4 years. Will be easy to take over whether Obama stays in or if Romney or Newt takes the reigns. Tis gonna be another bumpy ride.

    Comment by rusty — February 5, 2012 @ 11:27 am - February 5, 2012

  6. Ronald Reagan

    It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.

    Comment by rusty — February 5, 2012 @ 11:38 am - February 5, 2012

  7. Newt’s in this for Newt. If he were in it for country, he would realize the value he would have remaining a viable candidate in order to make Romney a stronger candidate and, more importantly, to use his skills and knowledge to put important issues on the table that people need to think about.

    I think that has been Ron Paul’s value.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — February 5, 2012 @ 3:23 pm - February 5, 2012

  8. Actually, SoCalRobert, it’s George W. Bush’s fault. It always is.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — February 5, 2012 @ 3:55 pm - February 5, 2012

  9. @Dan: Makes me wonder just what the Dem mantra will be in 2016 IF Obama wins reelection and our overall economic situation is still poor.

    Comment by JohnAGJ — February 5, 2012 @ 5:14 pm - February 5, 2012

  10. My favorite part was when he spent a few minutes detailing how Romney is the same as Obama, then a little later someone asked about one of Gingrich’s donors suggesting that he wouldn’t be opposed to supporting Romney to which Gingrich replied something along the lines of “if its between Romney and Obama there’s no choice, you go with Romney.” There seems to be some disparity between the two thoughts.

    Comment by Jimmy — February 5, 2012 @ 7:56 pm - February 5, 2012

  11. If the Republicans were to gain the Congress, but Obama were to hold the Oval Office, it would put Obama on the fast track to finishing the shredding of the Constitution. He would be “empowered” to continue to build his super-imperial Presidency, while daring the Congress to impeach him and be the cause of riots across the land.

    We conservatives and “moderate” Republicans locked into playing by the rules, while the “progressives” apply their own rules in the same way they manipulate moral relativity to meet their needs.

    We are closer to the edge of “emergency rule” as a dictator would interpret it than we are to lasting out Obamaism and returning to some sort of “normalcy.”

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 5, 2012 @ 8:01 pm - February 5, 2012

  12. Actually, SoCalRobert, it’s George W. Bush’s fault. It always is.

    Well, yeah, that’s a given.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — February 5, 2012 @ 8:40 pm - February 5, 2012

  13. I’m not sure if an intervention will work, but, man, i need something to relieve me of the memory of the crap-tastic Super Bowl halftime show….

    What was up with the halftime dancer guy bouncing off the wire on his crotch???? I will project that, if he wasn’t a eunuch already… He Is Now!!!!

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 5, 2012 @ 10:25 pm - February 5, 2012

  14. Sonic, if the NFL wanted an aging attention whore to lead their halftime show, couldn’t they have just gotten Brent Favre?

    Comment by V the K — February 6, 2012 @ 5:42 am - February 6, 2012

  15. V… They also saw the pictures… Apparently, he win’t all that! :-)

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 6, 2012 @ 10:36 am - February 6, 2012

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