In the wake of his “blowout” defeat in Nevada, Newt Gingrich, with his “bitter, angry press conference (sort of a combination of Howard Dean’s scream and Richard Nixon’s White House farewell speech)“, contends Jennifer Rubin, “confirmed what we strongly suspected in Florida: Gingrich’s presidential campaign is caput, whether he knows it or not.”
We wonder whether his advisors warned him against just such an outburst, telling him how poorly it would play.
On Facebook and throughout the blogosphere, conservative friends and aspiring pundits have criticized the former Speaker’s petulance. A Romney critic offered, “Gingrich needs to stop complaining and talking about himself. Elections are not therapy sessions.”
Indeed, we may have to call upon a skilled therapist to understand not why Newt whined about his loss, but why, he, with nearly forty years experience on the public stage, would fail to realize how such an outburst could hurt him. Is it due, as Stacy McCain contends, to the former Speaker’s “tendency to think of himself as a person so transcendently important that the rules which govern the behavior of normal people don’t apply to him“?
This after he has suffered from such outbursts before. And not just in the current campaign. As McCain puts it:
One might have thought that his experience as Speaker of the House, of being tossed aside by his own Republican caucus and forced into more than a decade of political exile, would have taught Gingrich a lesson about the need to rein in his ego. But his resort to scapegoating (see my Tuesday column, “Fear and Loathing in the Sunshine State“) would seem to indicate that he has learned nothing
Indeed. It appears he has learned nothing from his experience. “Clearly,” Ed Morrissey observes, “this race has become personal for Gingrich. That may be good for the candidate, but is it good for the Republican Party?“
It’s almost as if he has come to see this race not about articulating a conservative vision of American renewal, but about conducting his own personal vendetta. As his former colleague Dick Armey put it:
He’s putting himself out of the game, because he can’t get over his obsession over his own hurt feelings over the campaign in Iowa. . . . He needs to get beyond that and get to the nation’s people’s business if he expects to have any chance whatsoever.
And since he has, so far, shown no inclination to get beyond his bitterness, it looks like he’s burying what little chance he has left.