Posted on | March 15, 2012 | 35 Comments
So says Bill Quick at Daily Pundit, who says I’m “spouting arrant hooey” in observing that Newt Gingrich’s campaign is doomed.
Quick says my “visceral hatred of Gingrich” accounts for my hooey. Even if accurate, this accusation completely misses the relevant point that Newt’s campaign faces financial ruin after Tuesday’s double defeats in Mississippi and Alabama.
As I’ve said repeatedly in the past week, while we have had announcements of February fundraising totals from both Romney ($11.5 million) and Santorum ($9 million), we haven’t heard a peep from Team Newt, which is a very bad omen for Gingrich.
Perhaps I was the only one who noticed the report (and I could look it up if I had to) of what Gingrich was doing while his campaign in Nevada was stumbling toward its Feb. 4 disaster. Newt was reportedly “dialing for dollars,” phoning up contributors who hadn’t yet maxed-out and asking them to give more. If you know anything about elections, you know that the most valuable resource in any campaign is the candidate’s time. The report that Gingrich was dialing for dollars in Nevada, at a time when he evidently didn’t have time to attend a scheduled meeting with the state’s popular Gov. Brian Sandoval, was therefore something I saw as highly significant.
Remember: On Jan. 21, Gingrich had defeated Romney in the South Carolina primary, following two televised debate performances that many conservatives hailed as triumphant for Newt. Yet here he was, less than two weeks later, his campaign evidently in such dire financial straits that his time had to be devoted to fundraising phone calls.
What that tells me is that the Gingrich campaign’s “burn rate” got out of control in Florida: They weren’t merely spending the money as fast as it came in, but they were spending it so fast that they outpaced even the bumped-up fundraising they had after their South Carolina victory. (Remember, also: Rick Perry endorsed Gingrich on Jan. 19, which should have made all of Perry’s big-money Texas donors fair game for Newt.)
Quick furthermore accuses me of “wishing and hoping that Gingrich supporters will move en masse to Santorum without Newt urging them to do so,” a mistake that I can assure him — and anyone else — that I have not made. But neither do I suppose that Newt’s endorsement would have any magic benefit for Santorum. In case Bill hasn’t noticed, the endorsements of Newt by Perry and Herman Cain have not magically transferred their supporters to Newt’s camp.
Politics doesn’t work that way: People support who they support for very idiosyncratic reasons, and people who have spent the past few months staunchly supporting Newt Gingrich — most obviously including Bill Quick — do so in part because they have rejected the available alternatives.
If they wanted to support Rick Santorum, the Newtoids might have jumped aboard the Santorum Express after Iowa, or after Santorum’s Feb. 7 trifecta in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. The fact that they are still supporting Gingrich now, when his campaign is so plainly hopeless (e.g., attendance at his Illinois events numbered in the dozens) tells me that Newt’s remaining diehards have strong objections to Santorum’s candidacy which might deserve the term “hatred” far more than my own attitude toward Gingrich does.
As a sort of Rorshach test, let me ask Bill Quick what he thinks of this inkblot quote that Newt gave Greta Van Sustern last night:
I’m third among the three, but we’re continuing to campaign, continuing to develop ideas.
And I have a hunch that just as has happened in the past, the more we watch Romney and Santorum fight, the more attractive I’ll look and the more I will regain strength as people look at my solutions, rather than politics as usual.
I don’t pretend to be a traditional politician. I’m somebody who wants to really have very large-scale change in Washington.
Unfortunately, some Gingrich supporters want to blame people who explain to them that Newt can’t win, as though he could win, if only we’d be quiet and pretend he could.
Lashing out at scapegoats is not a useful substitute for success.
You can kill the messenger, but the facts are still the facts, and I do not rule out the possibility that we may be doomed to Mitt Romney. However, if conservatives were really serious when they said they wanted “Anybody But Mitt,” they must understand that their only hope now is to rally behind Rick Santorum.
(BTW: Bloggers should observe how well Bill Quick has understood my Rule 4 adage: “Love me, hate me, as long as you link me.” What’s the point of having an argument, if it doesn’t boost our traffic?)
UPDATE: Bill updates to say that I’m “mischarecterizing [his] arguments,” and maybe I am. But the point is that I’m linking his arguments, and anyone can compare what I’ve written and what he’s written and make up their own minds as to whether either of us is right. I don’t rule out the possibility that we’re both completely wrong, or that we’re each clinging blindly to some comforting small piece of the truth while both ignoring something very large that we don’t want to look at too closely, i.e., the likelihood that we’re doomed beyond hope of redemption and should be praying for the swift arrival of the Sweet Meteor of Death.
Maybe we should both stop blogging about the 2012 GOP campaign and start blogging about Whitney Houston’s dysfunctional family.
If you think about it, there are similarities . . .