Bob Dole Warns Republicans about Newt Gingrich (UPDATED)

Top conservatives and members of the GOP establishment are now in a full throttle (figuratively and literally) assault against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s attempt to win the 2012 Republican nomination by painting himself as a great party man and conservative. And one of the biggest Republican establishment guns from days past has entered the fray: former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who headed the Republican ticket in 1996. Dole has issued just about the most blunt, stripped-of-niceties comment on Dole yet.

Dole articulates what many GOP sources have partially said, or hinted about, in their comments to the press. This is about as blunt as you can get, as carried in NRO online:

I have not been critical of Newt Gingrich but it is now time to take a stand before it is too late. If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway.

Note that this fits in with a lot of the other comments, op-ed pieces and posts coming out about Gingrich from other Republican sources.

Gingrich served as Speaker from 1995 to 1999 and had trouble within his own party. By 1997 a number of House Republican members wanted to throw him out as Speaker. But he hung on until after the 1998 elections when Newt could read the writing on the wall. His mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999. I know whereof I speak as I helped establish a line of credit of $150,000 to help Newt pay off the fine for his ethics violations. In the end, he paid the fine with money from other sources.
This should have added credibility with younger GOPers: Dole didn’t just hear about Gingrich’s problems, he was in the middle of it trying to help Gingrich.

Dole also doesn’t mince words when describing Gingrich’s personality:

Gingrich had a new idea every minute and most of them were off the wall. He loved picking a fight with President Clinton because he knew this would get the attention of the press. This and a myriad of other specifics like shutting down the government helped to topple Gingrich in 1998.

In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year. Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty bucket in his hand — that was a symbol of some sort for him — and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it, and I’m not certain he knew either.

The Democrats are spending millions of dollars running negative ads against Romney as they are hoping that Gingrich will be the nominee which could result in a landslide victory for Obama and a crushing defeat for Republicans from the courthouse to the White House. Democrats are not running ads against Gingrich which is further proof they want to derail Governor Romney.

In my opinion if we want to avoid a sweeping victory by Obama in November, Republicans should nominate Governor Romney as our standard bearer. He could win because he has the requisite experience in the public and private sectors. He would be a president in whom we could have confidence and he would make us proud.

And so you have it. Dole’s statement is coming out on a day when Gingrich is in full attack mode, blasting Romney for his immigration stand and raising several issues about Romney’s wealth. I need to say this:

No, I am not a partisan of Bob Dole’s (I’m an independent). But when I worked on the Wichita Eagle as a reporter from January 1980 through January of 1982 Dole was one of the most respected politicians in Kansas. On two occasions I was sent out to cover his speeches. Dole was not considered fun and games. People — even if they opposed him politically — respected him due to his record as a war hero. They also considered him a blunt spoken, sincere type — almost a Republican Harry Truman. To be sure, he ran a notably tepid and uninspiring Presidential campaign.

But when Dole spoke in Kansas, voters listened.

And I suspect if his statement is seen by many GOPers, many of them will listen as well.

UPDATE: And as the (Republican establishment) empire strikes back, Gingrich is being defended by talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan. I’m not surprised. I have often said there is a real disconnect between Republicans who are darlings of and pushed by talk radio hosts and Republicans who have wider appeal. Republican politicians who are full fledged members of the talk radio political culture will have a far more difficult time winning over independents in a general election. But primaries aren’t about that: the punchy sound bites are what win votes (just like they win demographics for talk show hosts).

For more blog reaction to this story GO HERE.

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  • adelinesdad

    A pretty reasonable assessment, but what’s up with this?

    “Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty bucket in his hand — that was a symbol of some sort for him — and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it, and I’m not certain he knew either.”

    A lot of things have been said (mostly rightly) about Newt, but I’m pretty sure this is new: is he mildly insane?

  • merkin

    The major problem I have with Newt and, in fact Romney, is that they promised more of the same policies that nearly destroyed the country economically in numerous financial crisisses beginning with the savings and loan mess and culminating with the great recession.

    The empty bucket is what their platform has for you if you are in the 99%.

  • slamfu

    I voted for Dole, I liked him. Dole was the kind of guy the GOP needs more of, while Newt is the kind of guy they have. Egotistical, overbearing, and wrong on just about all the issues.

  • ShannonLeee

    Newt is a Phallic Narcissist

  • The_Ohioan

    Empty bucket, lunar base on the Moon eight years from now. The only question is which Republican will ask the question out loud.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/12/08/newt-gingrich-one-persons-normal-is-anothers-diabolically-evil/

  • Jim Satterfield

    The problem is that some of the items being cited as weaknesses of Newt’s are things the modern Tea Party Republicans like. They want someone vicious, someone who at least seems to have visceral hatred of the opposition, someone willing to shut down the government if they don’t get their way and that’s what Gingrich is feeding them.

  • The_Ohioan

    Jim S.

    Absolutely right. We’re seeing the disastrous culmination of the combination of astro-turfing and Citizens United.

    We’re heading for a perfect storm of the one candidate who will use the worst of our nature to accomplish the worst of our political ambitions.

    This sounds familiar, somehow.

  • zephyr

    Bob Dole is old school republican – which means he still has a grip on reality. His fellow party members would be wise to heed his warning. All Newt cares about is Newt. As for Romney? It’s pretty clear what he cares about most as well… no, I don’t mean that in a nice way.

  • Rcoutme

    Wikipedia on Nacissistic personality disorder:

    Symptoms of this disorder include, but are not limited to:
    Reacts to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
    May take advantage of others to reach his or her own goal
    Tends to exaggerate their own importance, achievements, and talents
    Imagines unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
    Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
    Easily becomes jealous
    Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others
    Obsessed with oneself
    Mainly pursues selfish goals
    Trouble keeping healthy relationships
    Is easily hurt and rejected
    Sets unreal goals
    Wants “the best” of everything
    Appears as tough-minded or unemotional [3]
    The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence, differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth.

    …and…

    People who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder use splitting as a central defense mechanism. According to psychoanalyst Kernberg, “the normal tension between actual self on the one hand, and ideal self and ideal object on the other, is eliminated by the building up of an inflated self concept within which the actual self and the ideal self and ideal object are confused. At the same time, the remnants of the unacceptable images are repressed and projected onto external objects, which are devalued.”[14] The merging of the “inflated self concept” and the “actual self” is seen in the inherent grandiosity of narcissistic personality disorder. Also inherent in this process are the defense mechanisms of devaluation, idealization and denial.[15] Other people are either manipulated as an extension of one’s own self, who serve the sole role of giving “admiration and approval”[16] or they are seen as worthless (because they are unable to collude with the narcissist’s grandiosity)

  • Rcoutme

    Keep in mind that strong self-esteem and confidence are similar. It is only when the traits are considered pathological. For instance, does someone get asked a question (almost rhetorical) and answer the way Gingrich began his answer to John King. First of all, he was not very passionate in his response, even though his words were pure venom. Since NG’s idea of himself being a great husband was being attacked, he attacked the person who asked the question. When facts are not on his side, he makes them up (see earlier admission by NG’s campaign that his claim of character witnesses was completely false, even though the candidate insisted again–after the debate–that they existed).

  • ShannonLeee

    Rcoutme…

    not just a narcissist… Newt is a special kind…

    a phallic narcissistic