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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pearl Harbor in Virginia?

At Bloomberg, Jonathan Salant writes about the failure of Newt Gingrich and several other candidates to make the Virginia primary ballot:
“It speaks volumes to me about the particular organizational skills of the candidates,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. “It’s hard for me to understand how they could miss this opportunity.”
Gingrich’s campaign director, Michael Krull, issued a statement calling Virginia’s ballot requirement “a failed system” and said the former House speaker would launch a write- in campaign. Virginia law, however, doesn’t allow for write-ins in primary elections.
“Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates,” Krull said.
Krull said last night on Gingrich’s Facebook page that the campaign was “exploring alternative methods to compete” in the primary, and likened the failure to make the ballot to December 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
Gingrich earlier failed to make the Missouri ballot, though he claimed that he didn't bother because it was a beauty contest.  These oversights -- along with the campaign's apparent failure to check whether Virginia even allows write-ins -- suggest serious organizational problems.

And the campaign's analogy to Pearl Harbor will revive concerns about Gingrich's rhetorical excess.  Military analogies are often useful in politics, but the Gingrich camp is likening a campaign setback to the death of more than 2,000 Americans. In any event, the comparison does not hold up.  Whereas Pearl Harbor was a sneak attack, the Virginia petition requirement was a matter of public record long available to all the campaigns.