Thursday, May 12, 2011

 

Return Of The Newt

Newt Gingrich, an old boss of mine from a galaxy far away, officially launched his campaign for the presidency yesterday. 

His announcement video



Andrew Sullivan calls it a "doomed" effort. Former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon takes a balanced, nuanced view, but doesn't think he's the answer to the GOP's prayers.

But MSNBC's First Read doesn't completely dismiss Newt's chances. Indeed, their take is that, yes, the former Speaker has much "personal baggage." However,

flawed candidates always have gone on to win the White House. The winner in 1992 (Bill Clinton) was the governor of a small state who had a, well, colorful past. The winner in 2000 (George W. Bush) overcame doubts about his knowledge of world affairs, as well as booming economy under a Democratic administration. And the winner in 2008 (Barack Obama) triumphed despite questions about his experience and his worldview. What matters in presidential campaigns -- and we’ll witness this over the next year and a half -- is how the candidates conquer, exploit, or side-step their flaws. Nobody is perfect, especially in politics. But what counts is how they take a punch and respond. In many ways, a presidential primary campaign is a test to see who can BEST overcome obstacles.
Can Newt overcome his obstacles -- which include a tendency to step on his own message?

I don't know -- and it would be inappropriate for me to "endorse" or dismiss his campaign now. I'd prefer to at least try and maintain my objectivity in the Republican nomination. I wish him "luck" -- as I would any candidate about to embark on a lengthy, expensive quest. I will try to judge and assess him as I do the other candidates as the field develops.

He's certainly one of the smartest guys in the contest. We'll see how well that asset helps him in the months ahead.

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