Sunday, December 25, 2011

What Remains Of The Newtster's Presidential Campaign-- Kaddish?


Last time Virginia Republicans were polled (just over 2 weeks ago), Gingrich was up 26% over Romney.
To have a lead this large requires broad support with the various different factions of the party, and Gingrich has it. For instance with Tea Party voters he leads Romney by 35 points, 46-11. But with non-Tea Party voters he's winning by almost as much, a 27 point margin at 43-16. He is also first with every gender and age group.

Virginia's a pretty good example of Romney's fading popularity. When PPP last polled the state in August his favorability was a +18 spread at 50/32. He's now dropped 12 points to only +6 at 46/40. Beyond that what was an 18% standing in the horse race has declined to its current 15% level. Certainly Gingrich is on fire right now but the other big story in the Republican race is that Romney isn't just standing in place any more-- he's actually moving backward.

But Romney got all his neat signature petitions in on time and he'll be on the ballot. Busy selling books and bloviating, Gingrich didn't... and won't be. Many of his 11,000-plus signatures were deemed by the Virginia GOP as invalid and were disqualified. Neither he nor Rick Perry-- same problem-- will appear on the Virginia primary ballot. It's between Mitt and Ron Paul (who were polling, respectively, at 15% and 6%). Gingrich then spun out of control, calling Virginia's GOP-controlled process "a failed system," insisting he would pursue a write-in strategy (which Virginia bans for primaries) and then comparing his mishap to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The L.A. Times is reporting Iowans are finding him too arrogant.

What a mess! Even Mitt's newest surrogate, Ann Coulter, is finding ways to undermine his candidacy now:
Newly active right-wingers would do well to spend a little more time quietly reading up on Newt's political career, and a little less time shaking their fists at some imaginary "Establishment" -- which now apparently includes Michael Savage, Mark Steyn, Christine O'Donnell, Ramesh Ponnuru, Glenn Beck and me, all of whom oppose Newt's candidacy.

...Only then will they realize that Gingrich would be a disaster for everything they believe in.

His history of lurching from guru to guru, fad to fad and wacky pronouncement to wacky pronouncement has produced few real gains-- except for Gingrich's personal bank account.

Despite Gingrich's constant claim that he-- hand in hand with Ronald Reagan-- lassoed big government and won the Cold War, this is delusional. Newt was a freshman House member when Reagan was elected president, no more important than Rep. Bill Green, R-N.Y., who was also elected to the House in 1978.

But Gingrich recently told Sean Hannity, "I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply-side economics ..."

In Ronald Reagan's autobiography, An American Life, he writes extensively about supply-side economics. He cites Jack Kemp several times. He never mentions Newt Gingrich.

Hard to know if it's Rove's behind-the-scenes manipulations or Gingrich's own incompetence that is destroying his campaign; probably a happy combination. Yesterday AP just happened to run a reminder of Gingrich's 15-year-old ethics case, which resulted in the first-ever reprimand of a sitting House Speaker for misconduct (and his eventual resignation).
The 395-28 vote, to reprimand him for bringing discredit on the House for failing to ensure his use of tax-exempt groups was legal, was historic by itself. But Gingrich's peers didn't stop there. They fined him $300,000 for misleading the House ethics committee and causing it to extend a costly investigation.

...In settling the case, Gingrich acknowledged he gave false information to the ethics committee in denying that a Republican political action committee he led-- GOPAC-- was connected to a college course he taught that was funded by tax-exempt organizations.

GOPAC, in fact, was involved in developing what was supposed to be a nonpartisan college course, the committee said, and Gingrich's denial was "inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable."

Gingrich has claimed that the Democrats were out to get him. The problem for him is that the Ethics Committee has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans-- and that when it came to the historic floor vote on January 21, 1997, only 26 Republicans (plus 2 conservative Deep South Democrats) voted against the reprimand.

What I found especially interesting is how many of the names attached to the NO votes were themselves among Congress's most corrupt Members. Although future prison-system residents Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney voted AYE (i.e., for reprimand), other members with multiple ethics problems were less hypocritical in this instance. Among the congressmen with the most ethical abuses who stuck with their corrupt Speaker were Oily Joe Barton (R-TX), Dan Burton (R-IN), current lobbyist Steve Buyer, (R-IN), Tom DeLay (R-TX), John Doolittle (R-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Peter King (R-NY), Jerry Lewis (R-CA), current lobbyist Bob Livingston (R-LA), Buck McKeon (R-CA), John Mica (R-FL), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Charles Taylor (R-NC) and Don Young (R-AK). If this crew is your team and these are your only defenders, time to find a new line of work.
The ethics findings, unhappiness of many Republicans with his leadership, and his resignation as speaker after 1998 GOP election losses left Gingrich with scars that seemed to doom his political career. It didn't revive until last month, when the former speaker surged to the top among Republican presidential hopefuls.
Gingrich's ethics investigation consumed more than two years. Democrats were rabid in their insistence that the speaker broke House rules. And they wanted revenge. Years earlier, Gingrich and others had filed an ethics complaint against a Democratic speaker, Jim Wright-- a case that led to Wright's resignation in 1989.
If Gingrich wins the GOP nomination, Democrats are certain to remind voters of this piece of baggage. The ethics report in 1997 portrayed him as unethical beyond the case at hand. Without details, it said that "over a number of years and in a number of situations, Mr. Gingrich showed a disregard and lack of respect for the standards of conduct that applied to his activities."


The eagerly awaited (well, somebody might be waiting for it; stranger things have happened -- I think) composite performance of Part I of Handel's Messiah will appear next, at 5pm ET/2pm PT. I thought readers might enjoy reading something a little more up-to-date first. (This also gives me more time to get the damned thing finished.) -- Ken

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At 12:33 PM, Anonymous me said...

The repub candidates are all basically the same. Slightly different window dressing, but otherwise identical.

The banksters are supporting Romney and O'Bummer. Whichever one gets the presidency, the banksters win and regular Americans lose.

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that 'me' is a Nader-like throw the baby out with the bathwater take her ball and go home not a dime's bit of difference kinda political thinker.

That doesn't work either, 'me'.

Come a little closer to political reality and there is a huge difference to regular Americans, or at least there would/will be if so many underrealized people didn't perpetuate the Nader-like egoistically tantrumish style of political thinking, as also does the news media.

- L.P.


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