I don’t talk much on politics here, because it just seems to bring out the worst in people. Though he’s not exactly my cup of tea, I’ve found myself fascinated by Newt Gingrich’s campaign.
Back in May, I was sitting in the airport on my way to Vegas and pondering the news of his getting into the 2012 presidential race. While I was kind of surprised that he was even running (I genuinely had gotten the impression that he was content writing books and providing analysis to the various and sundry news and political shows) I was more surprised that he was only announcing on Facebook and Twitter. Not in conjunction with a press conference or a rally – just on Facebook and Twitter. My first (very snarky) thought on that was, “Are you running your campaign out of your Mom’s basement?” Running an effective social media campaign takes work, of course, but only making the announcement via those outlets struck me as a bit, well – lazy. Call me a throwback, but I think a presidential bid deserves an actual press conference or rally or something along those lines. (I know he’s not the only one to announce via social media, but his is the one that is standing out right now.)
Less than a week later, he stepped in at again by criticizing the Republican Medicare overhaul plan. I was actually impressed that he spoke his mind rather than simply running in lockstep with the rest of the party. (Though I do wonder how he would have reacted if someone else did this when he was Speaker.) Political suicide in this climate, but admirable to me nonetheless.
That was then followed by a two week cruise to Greece. That one had me scratching my head a bit – he was either going for the “Yes, dear, you’re right, we need to get away” demographic, or he just didn’t really care that much. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking it didn’t seem to be the best move as on June 9th, his top campaign aides resigned en masse. I don’t care what business you’re in, when everyone walks out the door, that’s a bad sign.
Then came yesterday’s news that his finance staff had quit. (Insert joke about sticking around to make sure the Tiffany’s bill was paid off.) Stick a fork in him, he’s done.
I was talking with a friend last weekend about this – why on earth would you run for president if you just really don’t care that much? His answer? “Easy. He wants to stay relevant.”
I get that. Everyone wants to stay relevant – in their field, in life, all of it. No one wants to get pushed to the backburner and relegated to a footnote in the history books.
But running for president? Write more books, OpEd pieces – there are any number of ways to stay on the Sunday talk show circuit and stay relevant in the party. Running for president seems a bit extreme to say the least, and frankly smacks a bit of desperation. Why you’d put yourself through the hell of a presidential bid simply to stay on the map simply eludes me.
Of course, ask me the question again when I’m 68 and feeling like I’m fading into obscurity and I might have a different answer.