Free Markets, Free People

Politics: Here’s something to chew on for the right

Charlie Cook is a greatly respected political analyst who works mostly for the Democrats.  But he knows the business and he has a great track record.  He said something in a recent column about the GOP field that just rings true to me.  I wanted to get it out there a) for discussion and b) for the record.  I’m interested to see if his prediction comes true for the reasons he advances:

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that, just as in a marathon, things like stamina, preparation, discipline, and focus matter. To win this marathon of a presidential nomination contest, one might add money, organization, depth, and layers of campaign expertise and skilled manpower to the list of what actually matters in this race. Even the grassroots efforts of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Howard Dean had some degree of infrastructure. Each of them also had a brain trust that existed beyond what resides under one head of hair and between two ears. That’s why I remain very skeptical that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will end up being the nominee, and will be pretty surprised if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney doesn’t. Exciting or not, Romney is the only one who has carefully put together the building blocks necessary to construct a winning nomination campaign.

Obviously there’s the possibility of a surprise here … personality and charisma (and no mistakes) overtaking good organization and money.  But there’s also a history that tells us that’s not often the case.   And we are talking about Newt Gingrich here, who can implode in a heartbeat as we’ve all observed over the decades he’s been in the public eye.

I’ve read a number of reports that the Gingrich campaign is not the model of organization and it lacks a significant grassroots base.  As the race nears the primaries of next year, those are going to be increasingly important to Gingrich’s chances.   Meanwhile, Romney, regardless of your thoughts about him as the candidate, has, as Cook points out “carefully put together the building blocks necessary to construct a winning nomination campaign”.

Note the specifics of his point: he’s constructed a “winning nomination campaign”.   This is a drive and an organization tailored to a specific goal – the nomination.  He’s been building it for years.  Gingrich, on the other hand, has been pretty much campaigning on a wing and a prayer.  Cook is of the opinion that will come to hurt him as this process goes on and I tend to agree with him.

Your thoughts?


Twitter: @McQandO

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10 Responses to Politics: Here’s something to chew on for the right

  • Certainly this is consistent with conventional wisdom. The question is, “Are we living in conventional times?”

    Personally, I doubt it. All the factors Cook cites were there in spades (can I say that…?) in the Hil-larry campaign, along with powerful base support.

    Romney is considered by the most active parts of the base an example of the problem, not the solution. To the TEA Party, he is the NOT CHOICE. To many of the remainder of the conservative movement, he is as stirring as oatmeal. Organization notwithstanding.

  • I’m not a fan of either Romney or Gingrich so it really doesn’t matter to me how well organized or funded either one of them are. If either of them are nominated to challenge Obama then I’ll be at the pub on election day.

  • Isn’t this what they said of Obama about this time 4 years ago.

    • @Neo_ I don’t think so. About this time they were debating if he was a serious candidate or not, given his lack of experience (which was quickly dropped because, you know, he’s black). But I don’t recall anyone questioning his campaign’s organization ala Gingrich’s. From the get go his was more organized than Newt’s.

      • @Bruce McQuain From Politico:
        “For Mitt Romney this December, it’s beginning to look a lot like Clinton. — Like the great, fallen front-runner of 2008, here is another well-funded, Establishment-blessed, presumptive nominee whose supposedly firm hold on his party’s greatest prize seems to be slip-sliding away.”

  • In my opinion the media has given us gingrich and romney, not their campaigns.

  • I don’t think the organization, or lack of it will make a bit of difference. What will is negative campaigning. So far it is negative campaigning that took down all of the previous anti-Romney conservatives.

    With Newt it is even more probable because the man has soooo much baggage, Baggage of every type. Personal, financial, saying inappropriate things, making lot’s of enemies in the party. Etc.

    Unlike with the other candidates, the media does not actually have to make crap up to attack him.

    I am starting to think it has to be Romney, even though I will hold my nose. He might be the only hope. Unless Perry can somehow make a comeback.

  • The Republicans have no ideal candidate. Newt is up because he has been horsewhipped in the past and buried in the political graveyard and yet he can still bring it. There’s a degree of toughness in that fact that Americans like. He does have a number of problems and positions that make him tough for some conservatives to swallow. I saw something this morning that he said about GSEs that made me want to puke. I would, however, prefer him by infinities of preference to this rotten m***********r in the Oval O today.

    And I prefer him over Romney as well, who while thankfully is not all things to all men is unthankfully nothing to nobody. I think that Newt will fight against Obama and I think that Mitt will fold, precisely the way McCain did.

    Could be wrong. But that’s the way I see it today.