Thursday, January 19, 2012

It doesn't matter what Marianne Gingrich says

The WSJ publishes teacher evaluations from Gingrich's time as a young professor at West Georgia College. He was ambitious enough to apply to be college president his first year as a professor. I guess he was just a "definer of civilization" in training back then. They also have uploaded a load of the college's files back then. It's all a bit interesting, but won't hold public attention in comparison with whatever his second wife is going to say on Nightline. You can get a feel for how bitter she is from reading the Esquire interview. It's not a pretty picture, but then does one expect a cheated-on ex-wife to say anything positive about her former husband?

Having her say these sorts of ugly things on camera will have an impact that a old print interview just couldn't have. Even if she just repeats the same things she told Esquire and people discount everything because she is so clearly bitter, Republican voters will be so skittish about how such stories would hurt a candidate in the general election that they'll shy away from Gingrich. It doesn't matter how many slam dunks he makes in tonight's debate, GOP voters don't want to risk such personal vulnerabilities in the candidate that they'll be putting up against Obama. People could decide to ignore his messy personal life before, but it will just be different when their faces are rubbed in it. Video is so much more powerful than text.

And this whole story certainly shifts the storyline of the campaign away from Mitt's taxes or Bain. Perhaps Santorum will be the one to benefit just as he was the last non-Mitt standing a couple of weeks ago in Iowa. And the final vote from Iowa is supposed to be released today. Santorum might get a tiny bubble of news if it turns out that he got a few more votes than Romney there.

In our family, we've often thought that this quote was one of the dumbest things Gingrich has said, but the competition is tight as one reads through the set of quotes on the Gingrich Wiki page..
"If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don't have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they're relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn't matter, you know. These things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis-class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes."
When oppo can be done on Wikipedia, it's not a good thing for a potential candidate no matter how many conservative soft spots he can stroke in debates.

His hubris in telling Santorum to drop out of the race so that Newt can take on Romney alone when Santorum has beaten Gingrich in the two states that have already voted will come back to taunt Gingrich just as his boasts a couple of months ago that he was going to be the nominee. Pundits might argue that everyone knew all this anyway and it will just be taken as bitter comments from the wife he cheated on. I think they overestimate how much the casual voter, the one who makes his mind up in the last few days, knew about Gingrich's personal baggage. And even if they did and they totally disbelieve what she says, the important thing in every Republican's mind is beating Obama and they just don't want to take a chance on a guy with this sort of luggage in his past.