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.