The presidential campaign of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been a rocky one to say the least, and with his bid for the White House seemingly on life support, it is about time for him to pull the plug.
Dropping out now could be beneficial for both Gingrich and the GOP. Throwing in the towel will allow Gingrich a chance to salvage his public image, while the party could use his stature as a pundit to draw Republican voters.
Gingrich's campaign was dealt another blow last week when most of his senior campaign staff resigned. The unprecedented mass exodus of staffers was just another nail in the coffin of Gingrich's failing bid to "restore America." Once seen as a front-runner for the GOP nomination, Gingrich has now fallen out of the top five.
Gingrich's campaign was doomed from the start when he bashed the Republican Medicare overhaul plan championed by GOP upstart Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), labeling it as "radical right-wing social engineering." He continued to not do himself any favors with the infamous half-million dollar Tiffany and Co. bill and recent cruise to the Greek Isles, both of which seemed to contradict his campaign rhetoric of "responsible spending."
These missteps were just the tip of the iceberg, as ultimately the giant disconnect between Gingrich and his staffers created the biggest problems in the campaign. Staffers wanted Gingrich to run a traditional Republican grassroots campaign, one that would draw in the powerful Republican base. Gingrich, on the other hand, insisted on using an “inclusive grassroots campaign,” implementing new and social media technologies as well as relying heavily on debates as way to gain a more diverse support system.
That plan has failed Gingrich immensely as he is losing money and polling terribly — 62% view him unfavorably. Dropping out now will serve Gingrich best. He could focus entirely on his book sales, rather than combining his campaign and book tour, and revert back to being a celebrity pundit to rally the GOP base around another candidate.
That candidate could very well be Texas Governor Rick Perry, the person poaching Gingrich's staff. Perry has been garnering momentum as of late, as speculation continues to swirl about his potential push for the White House. On paper he is the ideal Republican candidate, he has a strong economic success story, an extensive executive background, and strong anti-Washington convictions.
If Gingrich was to drop out, he would likely put his allegiances behind a candidate pushing the same agenda. Perry is seen as a Tea Party loyalist, staunch in his belief of fiscal responsibility, cutting taxes, and less government. Gingrich has previously raved about Perry’s handling of the Texas economy, and often toes the Tea Party line, employing rhetoric familiar to the extreme right-wing sect.
If he were to join the race, Perry would undoubtedly implement the traditional grassroots campaign that Gingrich refused to run — meaning a lot more kissing babies and a lot less time spent on Facebook. With the help of Gingrich’s former campaign manager Rob Johnson and strategist Dave Carney, Perry will lean on the success stories of the Texas economy, highlighting the fact that it is currently one of the best in the nation.
The Republican Party is struggling to find the right person to challenge President Barack Obama, and either frontrunner is going to need a lot of help to wrestle away the presidency. The Gingrich run for the White House is all but over; it is now time for him to help the GOP in putting the best possible candidate against Obama.
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