The rather abrupt collapse of the Newt Gingrich candidacy this past week can’t be too much of a surprise in light of his problems as a candidate from day one, but it should offer lessons to candidates for office at all levels. Gingrich has had problems from day one, including a botched roll out, his disaster on Meet the Press, and now the mass resignations of his entire campaign staff. The collapse came much faster than even Newt detractors guessed it would, with the reports indicating a flawed candidate badly out of touch with what it takes to mount a credible campaign for President.
Gingrich, as he started the campaign, was known to all as a man lacking discipline. That lack of ability to stay on message was always considered to be a major potential liability. What was not readily apparent was Gingrich’s laziness as a campaigner. Nor was his unwillingness to commit to campaign fundamentals known to anyone, least of all his new Gingrich for President staff. Gingrich has rejected fundraising, leaving the campaign in financial tatters, unable to pay fees for voter lists and event entry in Iowa. He has rejected traditional campaigning, opting for a two week vacation cruise while his campaign stalled, refusing to commit to the ground game that had been the backbone of his own strategy. As he now prepares to soldier on Newt tells us that the campaign will not be built on a campaign devised by consultants. From the Washington Post:
“There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run,” Gingrich told reporters camped out Friday at his suburban Virginia house. “We’ll find out over the next year who’s right.”
Added Joseph DiSantis, one of his newly installed campaign spokesmen: “Going forward, we’re going to build a strategy around Newt, rather than fit Newt into a strategy.”
For all of you prospective candidates out there please learn from this imbecility. You have an egotistical candidate who does not wish to undertake campaign fundamentals, so he announces that the consulting community is wrong and he is right. The consulting community does not need defending here. Campaign strategies certainly can and do vary, and the consulting community has its fair share of strategists that have made serious errors in past campaigns. But the strategies being debated here are not subject to debate. You don’t go on a two week vacation in the middle of a campaign when you should be meeting voters and raising money to get out your message. You don’t refuse to do personal fundraising, and then spend campaign resources on charter flights when you cannot buy voter lists. Newt is one of those nightmare candidates who shuts off his ears when simple concepts he does not want to do are thrust upon him by consultants. It is not the consultants Newt. It is you. The end has not come formally, but it has come in reality. Goodbye Newt. After your formal withdrawal you will have plenty of time for shopping at Tiffany’s and extended cruises to Greece.