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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Newt Abandoned By Cowardly Sheep

I swear I didn’t intend to do two posts today about doomed Republican presidential candidacies, but it’s hard to avoid comment on the mass resignations of most of Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff.
Chris Cillizza confirms that the deal-breaker for Team Newt wasn’t so much his disastrous campaign launch as his decision to follow that up with a Mediterranean cruise with Callista, leaving his minions to clean up his mess. The canary in the mine-shaft for that dumb decision was the resignation last week of Newt’s Iowa political director, Will Rogers, who publicly doubted his candidate’s willingness to run a viable campaign.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Jim Galloway reports this rather telling quote from Bill Byrne, a long-time Gingrich backer from Georgia:

When on a national news station, Newt slammed Congressman Ryan and his proposal as right wing extremist, at that point in time his campaign ended,” Byrne said. “And I think if you watch any of the polling data from any source — Republican, Democrat, Independent — Newt never breaks in to double digits.
“Of the announced candidates he’s always been at the very bottom and the last poll I saw yesterday showed Herman Cain has passed him. Political people realize his campaign is over with and he has self-destructed. Those who signed up now realize that,” Byrne said.

Newt, of course, is pledging to move on to victory without his staff. That’s probably a brave, temporary holding position while he figures out exactly how to bow out. But maybe he’s going to emulate the post-disaster strategy of Democratic candidate Gary Hart in 1988: running a quasi-campaign that mainly depends on free media opportunities like televised debates, and getting a reputation for saying impolitic things no serious candidate would say. It would certainly help boost Newt’s book and video sales, which he’ll now need more than ever.

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