Three months ago, Byron York observed that it wasn’t Mitt Romney’s attack ads which hurt Newt Gingrich, but the former Speaker’s “reaction to” them:
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.
Even after York published that piece in January, Newt was still a loose cannon, firing angry shots at his opponents when he, for example, lost the primary in Florida and the caucuses in Nevada. He just didn’t learn from experience how such outbursts hurt his public image. It seems Easter may have had an impact on his attitude. He has come to appreciate the rules of the political game, recognizing the strengths of chief rival for the Republican nomination and acknowledging “Sunday that Mitt Romney was his party’s ‘most likely’ nominee“:
I hit him as hard as I could. He hit me hard as he could. It turned out he had more things to hit with than I did. And that’s part of the business. He’s done the fundraising side brilliantly,” Gingrich added.
But he said he was not yet ready to drop out. . . .
“I do think there’s a desire for a more idea-oriented Republican Party, but that doesn’t translate necessarily to being able to take on the Romney machine,” he said.
Let us hope that Newt communicates that desire when he and Romney meet to mend fences. And let us hope that Romney listens.
Newt’s greatest strength is his capacity to think outside the box, to look at issues from a different angle and offer new and interesting approaches to longstanding problems. His ideas are not always good ones, but most merit our attention. Mitt Romney would be wise to include the former Speaker in his brain trust.
UPDATE: Well here’s a good sign that Mitt might be prepared to include Newt in his brain trust. According to Tina Korbe, “Mitt Romney says he talks more to Newt Gingrich than to Rick Santorum“:
Romney said he wasn’t surprised by Gingrich’s sentiment, expressed over the weekend on “Fox News Sunday,” that the former Massachusetts governor had all but wrapped up the GOP presidential nomination.
“It was not a surprise, he and I have spoken from time to time, and actually we have also gotten together with our wives and spoken,” Romney said. “We’re pretty open-eyed about this, as we talk about where we are at this stage. In all likelihood I will be the one that gets the delegates to become the nominee.”