Newt Gingrich has vaulted to the top of the polls and what is the one thing analysts are saying could be his downfall? Not that he is not conservative enough, not his infidelity but rather his lack of discipline. For those who need to be refreshed of some of Gingrich’s top lack of discipline moments here is a short list.
1. The entire impeachment process of Bill Clinton
2. Sitting on a park-bench with Nancy Pelosi preaching the dangers of climate change in 2009.
3. The roll-out of Gingrich’s presidential campaign. Letting his entire staff leave for Rick Perry and allowing his wife to go shopping and spend hundreds of thousands on a cruise.
4. Calling Paul Ryan’s Balanced Budget Plan and reforms for Medicare “Right-wing social engineering,” on national TV.
5. Finally, participating in more debates than can be counted and increasing exponentially the chances of making a colossal blunder.
These are but a few of many examples, but I digress. Gingrich’s rise in the polls has been nothing short of stunning. As GOP alternative to Romney has fallen one after the other Gingrich has been lurking, always pulling somewhere around 5-10% support. As Cain’s support collapsed Gingrich made his move and rose to the top of the polls on his strong debate performances and oratorical skill. And with Cain’s exit from the race it appears many of his former supporters have moved to Gingrich (a few to Perry). What is noticeable since Gingrich’s disastrous rollout has been, dare it be said, discipline. Gingrich has avoided from making any big mistakes. Instead, it appears his staff and him took the tactic of letting all the “Not-Romney” candidates fall flat and then rise with his strong debate performances.
But can it last? Afterall, keep in mind this is the guy who has let it be known since 2009 he wanted to run for president and then sat on a bench with Nancy Pelosi preaching climate change. If Gingrich can avoid any big gaffes in the final weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucuses I would say yes. But keep in mind it is not necessarily just that Gingrich has to have discipline, his staff needs a lot to. Gingrich’s campaign infrastructure is extremely underdeveloped compared to Perry’s or Romney’s. In retail states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that is extremely important. Many voters in these states are drawn to vote for a candidate on a life story, a simple message, religious or ideological beliefs, and not just debate performances.
One thing does seem clear however. Gingrich has learned discipline and short of any major disasters he is best positioned to win the GOP nomination in August.