In what is another case of cause and effect biting the GOP in the backside, the Republican field for 2012 suffered a shake-up yesterday when Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff resigned en masse. Leaving are spokesman Rick Tyler, campaign manager Rob Johnson, and strategist Dave Carney, among others, including key aides.
It remains to be seen whether or not Newt Gingrich’s hopes have been shattered by this defection, but Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is sticking with him, from which we can deduce he still intends to skip Rick Perry’s prayer rally in Houston in August. But Gingrich did suffer a defection: former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has jumped ship, joining the supporters of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Given the Republican field for the 2012 election campaign, these will be far from the end of shifting allegiances.
Perdue (served 2003 to 2011) was Gingrich’s national co-chair but now he says that Pawlenty “stands the greatest chance of defeating President [Barack] Obama.”
“Tim Pawlenty is a great man, he was a phenomenal governor, and he is the person I now believe stands the greatest chance of defeating President Obama.”
The other co-chair, former Gov. Zell Miller (served 1991 to 1999), is sticking with Gingrich.
Contrast these events with the words Gingrich spoke upon their appointment a month ago:
“I’m proud to have three very important Georgians helping lead our campaign. Sonny, Zell and Nathan are good friends and have always provided good counsel. They will be three very important voices as we talk to the American people about the right policies we need to win the future.”
Friendship, apparently, goes only so far. Of course, so does marital fidelity. Gingrich of all people has no right to cry foul.
For Perdue’s part, this is what he said way far back in May, according to Gingrich’s website, Newt2012, when the future seemed rosy:
“America, at this critical juncture, needs a leader who has the discernment and understanding of where America needs to go, and the courage and leadership to implement that vision. Newt Gingrich has what it takes to do both.”
Ouch. He apparently no longer believes this. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Perdue.
Zell Miller and Deal alone seem to have exhibited any sense of loyalty. Miller’s words in May:
“Newt is a leader. Newt’s election as president is critical to the future of our country. We need a leader who has proven they can make big things happen. You don’t do big things by being a wall flower.”
And Nathan Deal, also in May:
“There is a lot going on in Washington that can be done a lot better if left to the states. Newt understands the role the federal government should and shouldn’t be playing in our lives.”
Gingrich says he is undaunted, telling ABC News,
“I’m prepared to go out and to campaign very intensely but I want a campaign on ideas and on solutions and I want to do it in a way that brings Americans together into a large movement.”
The Gingrich campaign got into trouble at the get-go, losing GOP donors when he appeared on “Meet the Press” Sunday and called Paul Ryan’s budget “radical” and “right-wing social engineering.”
A GOP source told the Huffington Post that Gingrich reported that “like 13 of them dropped off within 24 hours of ‘Meet the Press.'” At the time, one Republican strategist opined,
“The last 48 hours have called into question if Newt can even make it to July 4, because his fundraising is going to dry up. No serious finance bundler is now going to step forward in such an organized campaign and take a leadership role.”
So far, the only real good news for Newt Gingrich is that he’s not Rick Santorum. But that’s not saying much. Ironically, it was Newt who told us back in 2007 that the Republican field was a “pathetic” bunch of “pygmies.” It appears he has now joined that stellar cast. The available Republican luminaries were insufficient to stop Obama in 2008 and there is no reason to suppose they can do better in 2008. As for Newt, he appears not to be the savior; nor does Santorum.
There remains both Palin and Bachmann, each claiming to be not only a political but a religious messiah. So far as we know, God hasn’t decided between them yet. We can rest easy that neither woman will be reluctant to assure us of divine sanction the moment it is received.