Just this past Friday, The New York Times ran an analysis of the resurgent Gingrich campaign in which it opined that “a man whose late-life maturity and mellowness help explain why [he] … has succeeded in methodically rebuilding his presidential prospects and avoided predictions of self-destruction.” Before the Christmas weekend was over, his campaign manager issued this statement on the decision of Virginia to disqualify him from its Republican primary ballot:
“Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action. Throughout the next months there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days — but in the end we will stand victorious.” (Quotation taken from Alexander Burns’ blog on Politico.com on December 25.)
What did the Commonwealth of Virginia do to create this contemporary day that will forever live in infamy? They concluded that Gingrich did not meet the legal requirement for gathering enough signatures to appear on the ballot. Now I have never run for President – let alone be a self-proclaimed “transformational” figure that those less intelligent cannot appreciate — but I do know that each state has its own unique requirements for gaining ballot access, and that this is one of those nitty-gritty details to which competent campaigns must attend. So, in one fell swoop, the Gingrich campaign reinforced two of the negative narratives accompanying his campaign: He has a colossal self-regard unrelated to reality, and he is incapable of getting things done.