Re: Gingrich's Comments

Posted: Dec 10, 2012 7:53 AM

Below, Daniel posts on Newt Gingrich's comments that if the 2016 election were held now and Hillary Clinton were running, she would win.

With all due respect to Gingrich, he needs to knock it off, for a couple of reasons.

Reason one: In post-election analysis, we are learning that the Obama ads trashing Romney as a heartless capitalist worked effectively to suppress votes that would otherwise probably gone to the GOP.  A big reason the ads were so effective? They simply picked up on the theme that Gingrich himself had introduced as part of his efforts to win the nomination. Gingrich's attacks were dishonest -- but they helped the President immeasurably by validating his own, later dishonest attacks.  Rather than accepting how dynamic capitalism actually ends up benefitting everyone in the long run, Gingrich chose the cheap and easy denunciation of supposed "vulture capitalism" for his own political advantage.  It's a bit much for him now to cruise around denouncing the Republican weakness that his own actions had a generous part in creating.  (No one is saying Romney lost solely because of Gingrich, but his attacks played a significant enough role to make his current musings more than a little annoying.)

Reason two: Gingrich's big claim to fame in the GOP has been as the big thinker of big ideas.  OK: So let's see what you've got, Speaker Gingrich.  This is a time when big, bold important ideas are needed to reframe the debate and educate the public on what the GOP has to offer the middle class.  Rather than simply jumping up and down on the embers of the 2012 defeat, how about doing something constructive?

Gingrich's less-than-helpful comments (and his behavior during the campaign) suggest to me that it's far past time for a new generation of political leadership.  For Gingrich, it seems that it's all about self-promotion -- doing whatever will get him air time and help him sell books.  There's been plenty of criticism post-election of political consultants who simply look out for their own interests without regard to the well-being of the candidates they represent, larger principles, or the party as a whole.  I think that criticism is aptly applied to others in the GOP orbit, as well.  There's something bigger at stake here than Newt Gingrich's fame or ability to generate income.