With the Iowa caucuses just days away, there are countless competing memes and sources of heat in the presidential race right now–most recently the surprise departure of Rep. Bachmann’s Iowa chairman for Rep. Paul’s campaign. Amidst all this, I want to return to something crucial that occurred right before Christmas, because let’s face it: Neither Rep. Bachmann nor Rep. Paul is going to be the Republican nominee or even the plausible anti-Romney in later primaries. But if conservatives don’t wake up, Speaker Gingrich might be.
What I want to return to is the Speaker’s failure to make the GOP primary ballot in Virginia–and his subsequent comparison of his failure to Pearl Harbor Day, both of which Nancy noted. This might sound like small ball, but it isn’t. If you’re going to compare yourself constantly to Ronald Reagan (as the Speaker did just yesterday, and not for the first time) and seek to challenge an incumbent President of the United States who’s seeking to raise $1 billion with which to destroy you, you simply have to be able to handle details like making the ballot in major states.
Some have said Virginia recently changed its rules and they’re unfair. Maybe that’s true. But life is unfair, and if you can’t collect 10,000 signatures in your own state, you have no business trying to collect 270 electoral votes in what is sure to be a brutal general election. This failure by Speaker Gingrich is unforgivable incompetence, plain and simple.
And his comparison of his own ineptitude to one of the most tragic days in American history just adds insult to injury.
Our guy, Gov. Romney, has many failings. So do I. So do you. So does every candidate. But his are forgivable, and when it comes to policy stances, mirrored by the Speaker himself. This kind of incompetence, when we’re looking for someone capable of such a feat as defeating President Obama in an incredibly complex and expensive national campaign, is not. Don’t lose sight of that as we move beyond Iowa and New Hampshire.