Newt Gingrich, defined

Friend of the Program Matt Lewis posted seven easy steps to follow if you’d like to talk like Newt Gingrich yesterday.  Here’s one that might be Number Eight: Allow others to define the conversation for you.

The latest news cycle on all things Gingrich revolved around his “rocky” entry into the Presidential race – which was “rocky” because of comments he made on policy ideas devised and proposed by others.

This isn’t the first time a Gingrich campaign has suffered a rough start.  Heck, this isn’t even the first time this year a Gingrich campaign has suffered a rough start – the same round of stories were written two months ago, when campaign subordinates couldn’t figure out whether or not Gingrich was actually officially “testing the waters.”

Even Gingrich’s campaign slogan – “Winning the Future Together” – was a phrase he used first, but which has been claimed for 2012 by the incumbent he hopes to defeat.

For another candidate, this might just be a run of bad luck.  Gingrich, on the other hand, has a track record of letting issues define him rather than getting out front and defining issues.  In fact, he has a 15-year track record, stretching back to the days when his Republican Revolutionaries of 1994 got their lunches eaten by Bill Clinton during the budget battles of 1995.

Gingrich has apologized to Paul Ryan and underscored his opposition to forcing people to buy health insurance.  Maybe his comments on both were misunderstood.  He’s still a bad candidate because he has to keep answering these distracting questions – and it’s his inability to drive messages that lead to these questions being asked in the first place.

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