Newt, Are You Listening?
That most Republicans wish we had better candidates, but do not, is the result of the scorched earth policy of Karl Rove and George W. Bush. The Bush “mafia” in Texas had a “take no prisoners” policy and used the power of the Governorship of Texas and the Presidency of the United States to destroy the political aspirations of aspiring politicians in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Colorado and other states.
When former Indiana Cong. David McIntosh entered the Indiana race for Governor, he was blocked by President Bush and Karl Rove who endorsed Mitch Daniels. When Steve Laffey ran against Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, Bush and Karl Rove backed Chaffee. When Pat Toomey ran against Arlen Specter, Bush and Karl Rove backed Arlen Specter. When Colorado’s Bob Schaffer ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Schaffer) Bush and Rove remembered that Schaffer had fought the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind policies, and did nothing to help Schaffer.
The 2006 Congressional Elections were the elections that could have assured a GOP victory in 2012, had Bush and Karl Rove not acted in the manner that they did. Instead, Schaffer, Laffey, and Toomey went down to defeat, and Mitch Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana, not David McIntosh. Only Pat Toomey pulled his fat out of the fire, ran again in 2010 and was elected to political office. But election to national office in 2010 doesn’t position you to run for President in 2012, which is why most Republicans wish we had better candidates.
Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all offer policies that Schaffer, Toomey, McIntosh or Laffey would have offered, but these four are savvy conservative politicians with experience in Government and the ability to run a professional campaign. Cain, Perry and even Gingrich do not. Gingrich is so bad that his entire campaign staff resigned. Cain has no advisors who are willing to make their names public, and Rick Perry gives every impression of being a hick who doesn’t know he’s a hick.
But, the really frightening thing about Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich is that even though they have declared that they are candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, they don’t have serious campaign organizations.
Mitt Romney, for all his other weaknesses, does, and if the GOP requires an electable alternative, Cain, Perry and Gingrich will have to get their acts together–now.
The anchor in the triad of CP& G is Newt Gingrich who is the premier political operator amongst GOP presidential aspirants in this election cycle. Gingrich has more ability in the policy area than all the candidates combined—in both parties. And he could appreciably improve the Republican “mix” of President and Vice President nominees in 2012 by being on the ticket.
Herman Cain never served in government and is likely to be co-opted by the last person who talks to him in the Oval Office. Without a strategic and devious mind in the office next to the Oval Office, a Cain presidency will crater as quickly as ice melts on a hot summer day.
Rick Perry presents a different, but more interesting, problem. Perry has state government experience, but he hasn’t studied economic, defense, or social policy. Neither Cain, Perry nor Gingrich have campaign organizations, but that can be remedied quickly. C&P are unguided missiles in need of a guidance system and that, I believe, can come only from Newt.
The problem is that like most self-absorbed personalities, Newt has no friends.
Few who worked with him in the fateful years that Newt cooked up the Contract for America and captured the U.S. House of Representative have good things to say about Newt. He is not an administrator. His mind is too quick and his memory of what he said yesterday is too limited. And above all, it’s all about Newt.
But, Newt Gingrich holds the keys to the White House, if he can be teamed with Rick Perry or Herman Cain.
Let’s look at a Perry/Gingrich team.
Rick Perry has the one thing a presidential aspirant needs: money, lots of it, and more to come. Paired with Newt Gringrich, Gov. Perry can easily outpace Mitt Romney’s organization and policy structures and be trained to think in terms of national, not Texas, politics.
Let’s look at a Cain/Gingrich team.
Herman Cain is flying on a wing and a prayer and needs intellectual help. Right now he is recruiting “advisors” that he meets by chance on the road. And even if he had a consistent plan for developing an advisory team, he wouldn’t know a good advisor from a bad one.
Newt does, and if Gingrich can open himself to the advice and support of other professionals that a presidential campaign needs, Cain’s campaign could become a professional campaign.
That, of course, is a perennial problem that campaigns face. Presidential campaigns are closed societies. Nobody within the inner circle wants to admit anyone else and that principle follows to the state and local levels. As campaign needs increase, the persons running the campaign want to keep control, not share it.
Unfortunately, this election may turn on the character of the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and his willingness to open the doors to the assistance of others—all of whom are, in his opinion, lesser men and his competitors. A brilliant opportunist since his days as a college professor in Georgia, Gingrich is intellectually far ahead of his equals in the political game and conquest has always come easily. Like most self-destructive men—and women—Newt always put himself ahead of everyone else. The outcome of the 2012 president election may turn on whether Newt Gingrich can break a lifetime habit of egocentric behaviors.
If Newt can think a little less of himself and more about winning the election of 2012, his influence can be decisive.
Newt, are you listening?