It is 5 in the morning and I am watching a re-run of Newt Gingrich on Hardball, Chris Matthews’ show. All of I can think is that in some hotel room Mitt Romney is getting up for another brutal day campaigning and he’s watching the same thing that I am and his staff has to come running into his room because he is screaming – “OH, MY GOD, NEWT – PLEASE STOP HELPING!!!
I’ve said here on previous occasions, and many times in online comments, that Gingrich is too narcissistic, too arrogant and too partisan to be president – and that’s for a politician. And, as much as I hate personal attacks in politics, I don't think I've ever had a more correct assessment.
And I'll admit, I have been frequently wrong about Gingrich. I thought he was smart enough to stay out of the race. I thought that when he did enter the race, he would be drubbed quickly (and he was), but did not foresee him sticking with it after his team left him and that he would again ride to the top, at least for a while. When he finally gave up and said that he would help Romney campaign if he wanted, I thought he was kidding. I have never seen in some 30 years of watching politics, a man so angry at his opponent on the presidential stage than Gingrich was at Romney with the sole exception of Rick Perry, who may have been close to punching Romney on the debate stage one night (just my opinion, but I really think so). And, he is now, in the most passively-aggressive fashion, acting out that anger.
Gingrich, who I acknowledge has always been bright and knowledgeable, and has become quite glib and eloquent (far beyond anyone else campaigning this year), is a nightmare for the Romney campaign. A NIGHTMARE. He is still calling Romney a liar – he actually said that again last night (each times that I’ve seen was in response to a question). You might say, what else can he do? It might be less honest, but he could do what John McCain did after getting drubbed by Bush in ’00 – stating that what he had said about his opponent was in the heat of the action and nobody means what they say then. Gingrich is not above lying. In my opinion he was the single most dishonest campaigner other than the president.
Do not mistake me, I always appreciate honesty in politics, and Gingrich should say what he means. They all should (not that those people would ever win). I actually did not like it when McCain weaseled out of what he had previously said about Bush. I just can’t believe that Romney’s disciplined team is having this guy out on the road for their boss. It’s crazy.
He acknowledged to Matthews, who must have loved this interview, his belief that his attacks on Bain Capital were true and that he lost in
only because Romney
had more money than he did. He did not deny that he would have won the
Republican nomination had he more money to spend. Florida
In fact, when Matthews, who now acknowledges his pro-Obama bias, unlike the independence he used to pretend in ’08, argued that Romney has no knowledge of American political history, Gingrich defended Romney by saying he was surrounded by smart guys and listened to them, and that he was tough enough to run him over. He couldn't even bring himself to say that he was sure Romney knew plenty about American history or that Romney's business experience is what he needs to know, not what George Washington said at Valley Forge.
So - liar, tough enough to run someone over and a capitalist pig - this is Gingrich's take on Romney. Great. What’s, in a nutshell, his whole argument for Romney – he’s better than Obama. That's it. Can you imagine Gingrich answering independent questions at a campaign rally and having to say again that Romney lied about him and that Bain was vulture capitalism (actually Rick Perry’s phrase)? There would either have to be silence or boos from Romney’s supporters. Can you imagine them together on stage and Romney having to defend himself by calling Gingrich’s remarks “envy” and “class warfare” as he did during the nomination process? If I were Obama’s campaign or a lefty Super-Pac, I wouldn’t bother to make an attack ad on Bain. I’d just play the pro-Gingrich Super-Pac made – When Mitt Romney came to town, even though Gingrich himself had to admit it was factually inaccurate.
The one thing that Gingrich said that was in tune with the Romney campaign, when asked why people in his party keep pushing the birther thing was – “Beats me.” Two words.
The funniest part of the interview was, when asked why he would accept whatever role at the convention that Romney wanted to give him, he said – “I’m a team player.” Matthews almost choked, by the sound of it, but then politely let it slide, saying, “When I see you smile, I know what you are.”
This was a friendly interview that Gingrich had on enemy territory. And, don’t get mistake it, MSNBC is enemy territory just as Fox is friendly territory for Romney. But, did he have to throw Romney under the bus with such relish. I don’t think that anyone on the right will complain that he went on an MSNBC show, because – if you are campaigning for president, you have to deal with the enemy – one reason I believe that Sarah Palin did not run – she’s done with that. The miracle is, Romney has made Gingrich part of his campaign. What was he thinking?
But, after watching this, I hope, for his own sake, someone on the team sits Gingrich down and says “OH, MY GOD, NEWT -- STOP HELPING!!!!”