Newt Gingrich is not a quitter. That's what he wanted to tell the American people last Friday when he insisted that he planned to continue campaigning for his party's nomination until the Republican National Convention in August.
While some Gingrich fans may be cheering their candidate's courage and conviction, many of Gingrich's supporters have spoken out against his decision, asking him to take a backseat to Rick Santorum's attempts to take the GOP wheel on the campaign trail. But, remember, Gingrich is no quitter. And no one in this scenario is terminally ill or hospital-bound so it is safe to say he will not be looking to plan his exit strategy any time soon.
Gingrich's act of selfishness is indicative of the kind of poor sportsmanship which may lose the Republicans the presidential race come November. Gingrich's refusal to step aside means that the four remaining men standing will now have to duke it out until August, and emerge out of the ring battered, bruised and nursing the wounds of an irrevocably broken party. To add insult to injury, they will not be suffering because of the fierceness of their opponents, but because of the nearsightedness of their now allies.
The in-house, self-destructive GOP advertisements characterize the Republican candidates' myopic perception of the 2012 election. Pro-Gingrich Super PAC's "Winning Our Future" and "American Jobs PAC" have spent $4,343,430 on negative campaign so far with a $1,276,400 boost from Gingrich himself to try to discredit their opponents by publicly highlighting their flaws. Add the fact that Restore Our Future, Mitt Romney's Super PAC, has spent $20,134,380 on negative campaigning so far, and you have an incredibly awkward Republican post-victory dinner party, especially if Romney takes home the cake.
For those who perhaps idealistically maintain that candidates are elected on the strength of their policies and the depth of their experience, this showing is particularly offensive. For the seasoned voter, however, tripping our opponents up in the middle of the race is still right on track. But this election's Republican candidates need to realize this race has become a relay and the eventual winner will be the one who runs the strongest leg.
Without this realization the Republican Party looks set to implode long before it's over. Gingrich's last ditch attempt to look defiant in the face of defeat -- and it can really only be called defeat when you only manage one Super Tuesday victory in Georgia where you have spent 20 years building a reputation -- makes the GOP's chances in November even less likely.
Republican candidates now need to coordinate an offensive against Barack Obama, while maintaining a defensive strategy on the home front. Taken together the Republican candidates have spent $41,134,040 on negative campaigning so far. Imagine how many of Obama's flaws you could highlight with all that cash. After winning the Iowa caucus in 2008 Obama promised to "free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all." A Middle East conflict may stymie Obama's 2008 promise, as gas prices look set to skyrocket if the US goes to war with Iran. This possible scenario comes four years after Obama pledged to withdraw American troops from Iraq. Add some ominous music and intimidating voice-over to America's less-than-certain economic future and you have the world's most expensive negative advertisement. That's a change we can believe in, or at least one, which acknowledges the real aim of the Primary elections -- winning without injuring the party for the final leg.
Follow Kaz Komolafe on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@kazkomolafe