The PJ Tatler

Why the Gingrich implosion is different from the McCain implosion in 2007, and how it relates to Gov. Perry

On Thursday I brought up the fact that Sen. John McCain went through a major implosion in his campaign, yet went on to win the nomination. I cited that just to note that while Thursday’s mass exodus from the Gingrich campaign is obviously a disaster for him, it’s not necessarily the end.

The picture we’ve gotten of the Gingrich situation since then, though, is of a candidate who wasn’t running a serious campaign. Gingrich had surrounded himself with some of the best consultant talent in the country, but he refused to follow their advice and had ceded many final decisions to his wife Callista. Why hire the best talent if you’re not going to listen to them? Why declare you’re running for president and then hop off to a Mediterranean cruise? Looking at the talent Gingrich had hired versus the candidate’s poll position, it’s clear that it was the candidate who was the problem.

So while in 2007, John McCain fired much of his staff for their failure — mainly to raise enough money to sustain the campaign — in Gingrich’s case, the staff fired him. That’s a pretty big difference in the two situations. After firing his staff, McCain personally rebuilt his campaign from the ground up. But Gingrich doesn’t seem to think all that much has changed.

I think Dave Carney, Rob Johnson, Katon Dawson and the rest of the team that departed the Gingrich campaign en masse yesterday are telling the entire truth when they say that their resignations had nothing to do with a possible Rick Perry run. They didn’t resign so they could go help Perry. They resigned because Gingrich refused to get his act together. They fired him.

But the fact is, now Carney et al are now available, and Perry is a few short days or weeks away from wrapping up the ongoing Texas legislature’s special session. Perry has already said he is thinking seriously about a run. Perry won’t make any announcements before the end of that special session. He wouldn’t have run for president without Dave Carney. Now, that’s one thing he doesn’t have to think about.