Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2011 13 Kislev, 5772
Who needs pants? Newt has passion
By Roger Simon
We wish for you to whir us, stir us, fill our hearts and lure us.
Inflame us, reclaim us, take our souls, don’t blame us.
Newt Gingrich, I admit, stirs me to poetry. There is something very different about his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
“You are going to be the nominee?” Jake Tapper of ABC News asked him last week.
“I am going to be the nominee,” Gingrich replied.
True, no one has actually cast an actual vote in a single Republican caucus or primary. But all that voting stuff, that campaigning stuff, is really all so … vulgar. And so yesterday.
Newt’s campaign is an immaculate one. It is pure, unstained, unblemished by the grubby demands of the old politics.
Organizing? He does not need organizing, not even in the first contest, Iowa, long thought to be a state where organizing was indispensable.
With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, Newt opened his first — and only — campaign office in a suburb of Des Moines a few days ago. He has not built a statewide organization and sees no need to.
As an adviser to his “skeletal Iowa operation” tells Trip Gabriel and Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times, “The reality is we’re flying by the seat of the pants.”
Pants? Who needs pants? Not Newt.
“I think you can write a psychological profile of me that says I found a way to immerse my insecurities in a cause large enough to justify whatever I wanted it to,” Newt once said.
Today, Newt has immersed himself in something larger than political organization.
“Passion,” Alex Castellanos, a super-savvy Republican media consultant unaligned with any campaign this year, told me last Saturday. “Passion is the new organizing.”
Sunday, Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for George W. Bush in 2004, wrote in the National Journal, that when it comes to Iowa this cycle, “Don’t watch the organization. Watch for the outward signs of momentum, energy and passion for a candidate.”
On Monday, veteran political reporter John Harwood wrote in The New York Times that Gingrich possesses “an organic connection” to the Republican conservative base.
Passion. Energy. Organic connection.
These are what Newt revels in. And it allows him, he believes, to say the most outrageous things.
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” Newt said recently in Iowa. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”
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