Campaign in Descent? Newt Gingrich Faces Multi-Fronted Bad News

Is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s once-dead-once-surging campaign for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination on the descent again? When taken together a series of news stories and developments suggest his chances of winning the nomination could be dwindling.

In politics it isn’t true that “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name correctly.” Gingrich could live without — and do better politically — without stories such as these:

  • ABC News reports that a 2006 Gingrich memo says “We agree entirely with [then Massachusetts] Governor [Mitt] Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans.” This undercuts Gingrich’s assertions in debates and attacks on Romney during the debates and his insistence that his ideas on healthcare were not the same as Romney.” Since Gingrich is tied with Rep. Ron Paul in Iowa this is unlikely to help him since it involves a) stand b)his credibility. The Wall Street Journal frames it this way: “Newt Gingrich voiced enthusiasm for Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health-care law when it was passed five years ago, the same plan he has been denouncing over the past few months as he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination.” To many, this will seem deja vu — like when he denounced then President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal at the same time he himself was carrying on an affair.
  • A CNN report finds court records don’t support Gingrich’s version of his divorce. “Newt Gingrich claims that it was his first wife, not Gingrich himself, who wanted their divorce in 1980, but court documents obtained by CNN appear to show otherwise.” Again: it cuts to his credibility.
  • Gingrich will not be allowed on the ballot for the Virginia primary and he has compared this to Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This indicates poor staffing and his statement about Pearl Harbor is getting much attention as rhetorical overreach.
  • The Daily Beast has a devastating piece titled “How Newt Gingrich Crashed and Burned When He Was House Speaker” crammed with reportage about the chaos that reigned when Gingrich was House speaker and about how much he was disliked by other Republicans. It needs to be read in full but here’s a tiny bit of it:” By the time he was forced out in 1998, many former members say they were terrified to open up the newspaper in the morning, fearful he had said or done that could cause them political heartburn… Tellingly, the same people who hoisted him to power are now running from him in droves. Fewer than a dozen current or former congressmen have endorsed Gingrich for president.”
  • All of this taken together suggests 1)baggage discreetly shoved in a closet may come tumbling out 2)voters are not getting positive info about Gingrich now. When faced with highly risky (Gingrich) and bland (Romney) some GOP voters may go with bland even though some may go with risky (Ron Paul). On the other hand, this is not to say Romney is a shoo in for the nomination.