Newt Gingrich Wins the Gail Collins Primary—David Frum

Newt Gingrich is wrong to over-value presidential talk.

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Newt Gingrich’s campaign has released the first attack ad to make an issue of Romney’s dog, Seamus.

That said, this attack ad nicely shows everything that is wrong with the Newt Gingrich campaign. It opens with this claim:

“The most important issue this election: Who can defeat Barack Obama in the debates this fall?”

That’s an important question, but it’s only a threshold question to the larger issue, “Who can defeat Obama in the election?”

Gingrich insists that presidents talk their way into office. That’s not true. They communicate their way into office, and many of the most important modes of communication are unspoken and indeed unverbal.

Gingrich is a smart man who often says smart things. He also often says foolish things, in a ratio of at least 1 to 1. But the rest of the Gingrich package is aggressively off-putting. In the unlikely scenario that Gingrich is the nominee, he may well finish the race believing that he won every debate—only to be surprised as he loses 56% of the vote.