Ed Driscoll

Gingrich: Cherchez La Femme

When it comes to Newt Gingrich’s campaign, “The Problem was the Wife,” according to Fred Barnes:

Aides to Newt Gingrich have resigned from his presidential campaign in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich, the candidate’s wife since 2000.

The euphemism offered by departing staffers was they disagreed with Gingrich’s “strategy” for the campaign. Indeed, they did disagree. But it was a strategy – a part-time campaign, in effect – that Gingrich’s wife favored.

Several aides, including campaign manager Rob Johnson, met with Gingrich on Thursday morning and told him of the senior staff’s unanimous decision to quit. Gingrich later put out a statement saying he was staying in the race.

The last straw for the campaign staff was Gingrich’s decision to go on a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean, from which he returned on Tuesday. His advisers urged him not to go and take so much time from a campaign that was already in trouble. But his wife wanted him to go and she won the argument.

As a result, the morale of the Gingrich staff fell sharply. And fundraising declined as well with Gingrich absent from the day-to-day media coverage of the campaign.

Roger L. Simon writes that Gingrich’s loss is Rick Perry’s gain. And with it, Roger asks, “Is the Republican nomination Perry’s to lose?”

The Tea Party vote would largely migrate to the Texas governor — and quickly. Michele Bachmann looked amateurish and confused with her selection of Ed Rollins as campaign manager. Rollins — who has a bad habit of making the campaign about him — made the mistake of pointlessly attacking Sarah Palin, thus alienating a large portion of Bachmann’s base should she be nominated. Bachmann might have redeemed herself by firing Rollins, but she didn’t.

Meanwhile, Palin seems more like she’s running to be a conservative Oprah than to be president of the United States. And her continuing high negatives make it unlikely she would be able to capture the center of the country, necessary in order to win, anyway. And Herman Cain, while appealing, has little to run on but a successful pizza company.

Perry has been America’s most successful governor for the last decade, helping create jobs in his state at a rapid clip while most of the rest of the country was shedding them. This is a huge competitive asset against Obama who seems increasingly clueless about how to rescue our near-disastrous economic situation.

This will also give the Texas governor an advantage against his mainline Republican competition — Romney, Pawlenty, Hunstman, etc. Furthermore, unlike the others, Perry is a charismatic figure who seems like he could be president. He can easily hold the stage with Obama.

The rap on Perry is that he is another Texan, like George Bush. And because of Bush, the country is Texas-weary. But in person the governor is much more like Ronald Reagan than Bush. If I seem overly enthusiastic, it’s because I have spent a fair amount of time with Perry — pistol shooting and at the NASCAR races.

As Roger notes, Perry has done an exceptional job in recent years cultivating new media, which further strengthens his chances next year. As Tina Korbe notes at Hot Air, “By 45 percent to 42 percent, likely U.S. voters said they would prefer a generic Republican candidate to President Barack Obama in a 2012 presidential matchup, according to a poll released this week by Rasmussen Reports. That’s the second week in a row Obama has ‘lost’ to a faceless candidate.”

It will be interesting to see how those numbers change when the governor whose state has seemingly been singlehandledly propping up the otherwise pathetic job creation numbers in the Obama-economy. Of course, Obama’s attack team will quickly break out the mud — and the Slurpees — on Perry as well, which will influence those numbers.