The PJ Tatler

Welcome to 'Newt World'

Robert Costa gives us the inside the Gingrich campaign view of last week’s mass exodus. It’s an interesting and fisk-worthy read — not because of anything Costa brings to the table, as the reporter, but because of what the campaign insider, Joe DeSantis, has to say about it.

First, there are the numerous references to “Newt World.” There’s more than a passing whiff of the weird about that. Then, there’s how DeSantis says the campaign operated before the staff fired the candidate.

“Those who left were more mechanical; they did not fit with the constant brainstorming culture within Gingrich’s inner circle,” explains DeSantis, who now serves as communications director for the presidential campaign. “It was more of an operational clash. There is an old saying in Newt World: Either you stay for two months, or you fit in and stay for five years or more. It is a different kind of pace here: Newt works 80 to 90 hours per week. You have to roll with it.”

Translation: The pros wanted to put a battle plan together and then carry that plan out, while Gingrich kept “brainstorming” his way into building and discarding plans every day. That’s no way to run a campaign. It’s also a hint at the kind of chief executive Gingrich would make if elected president; i.e. not a very good one.

Later in the piece, we get this:

Indeed, “this will be a different kind of campaign moving forward, the kind of campaign that Gingrich envisioned from the beginning,” DeSantis tells me. “It will be based around ideas and solutions, individual outreach, and built around Newt’s strengths, from policy speeches to engagement with voters. It will delve into policy areas that other campaigns won’t touch. It will be an open, grassroots-fueled effort — lots of media, trips to early states, speeches, and talk with supporters on Facebook and Twitter.

The idea that Dave Carney et al weren’t going to run a campaign based on ideas and use social media to communicate those ideas doesn’t line up with the kind of campaigns that I know Carney runs. It comes back around to having a plan for communicating those ideas and sticking to that plan. The pros seem to have wanted a plan and probably put more than one together, only to have them dynamited by Gingrich.

Newt World can spin this however they want. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what went wrong. The candidate couldn’t keep himself focused long enough to stick to a real plan of action that would give him a realistic shot at winning the nomination.

The “Newt World” aide left behind wonders, who would hire the people who left Gingrich’s campaign. The answer: Someone who has the discipline it takes to win.