To a degree rarely seen in presidential politics, Gingrich is his own strategist, scheduler and press secretary.
“He makes the decisions about 99.9 percent of the campaign,” said one Newtworld insider, recalling Gingrich’s logistical audibles, the most recent of which was when the candidate scrapped a Kansas swing entirely and decided to focus only on Alabama and Mississippi. “We could be headed to one place and he says, ‘No, let’s go somewhere else.’ It turns that fast.”
Gingrich officials complain of a dysfunctional decision-making process bereft of a single leader, besides the candidate, atop a sprawling organization.
Up through last month, Newtworld consisted of three layers of advisers. There were the longtime loyalists (his family, old friends like Randy Evans and Walker and aides such as R.C. Hammond, Joe DeSantis, and Vince Haley); operatives he added to bolster his bare-bones operation (Kellyanne Conway, Kevin Kellems, Martin Baker, Tony Dolan); and then there were the additional staffers he absorbed from Herman Cain when the former pizza CEO’s campaign collapsed (Bo Harmon, Jamie Brazil, John Yob).
The problem: Baker, the campaign’s political director, was hired to do the same sort of field and state-by-state work that Harmon, Brazil and Yob were brought on to do and they inevitably clashed. Harmon and Brazil were pushed out from the campaign in mid-February. Yob, a Michigan-based consultant, quit Gingrich and went to work for Rick Santorum.
Because of the in-fighting and Gingrich’s seat-of-pants decision making about where he wants to campaign, it’s been difficult to develop robust state operations.
“They never build any structure to live past the next state,” complained one GOP strategist who advised Gingrich in one key state earlier this year. “They’d go to the next state and have to reinvent the wheel.”It has always been so. In the 1990s, Gingrich drew pictures (here and here) where he literally put himself at the center of his universe.