Does Gingrich Staff Exodus Signal Doom?

There's precedent for this sort of thing happening and the candidate making the comeback. And you don't have to go back too far.

So, Newt Gingrich’s staff has jumped ship. Does that mean his campaign is doomed? Glenn Reynolds thinks so. Jonathan Bernstein and a cast of characters that he rounds up think so, too. And Kevin Drum engages in some not implausible speculation as to what might have happened. “Implosion” seems to be the word of the day.

Now, I’m pretty sure Gingrich is, in fact, toast. Then again, I thought that before his staff resigned en masse. Indeed, I’ve thought for years that he had too much baggage to make a serious presidential run and was at least smart enough to know it.

But it dawned on me that there’s actually recent precedent for this sort of thing happening and the candidate making the comeback. And you don’t have to go back too far.

John McCain fired his campaign manager and several top staffers in July 2007. A week later, his entire press staff resigned. He went on to win the nomination.

John Kerry shook up his staff and mortgaged one of his wife’s houses right before Iowa in the 2004. Indeed, he shook has staff up several times that cycle. He went on to win the nomination.

Now, those men were at least frontrunners in their races at one point before the wheels came off; Gingrich’s entrance into the race has always been a head scratcher. But I wrote McCain and Kerry off, too. Campaigns often flail around early and get their act together by the time it matters.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb with a prediction about what’s behind this. In my completely biased personal opinion, I think Gingrich is basically a lazy, cowardly schmuck – he’s perfectly happy to sit on the back bench & lob high-minded opinions on what everybody else ought to do, but when put into the position of having to do the hard work of implementing any of those brilliant ideas, he packs his bags & heads for the hills. I think that’s what this “cruise” is – doing something completely self-destructive to his chances at The Big Chair (subconsciously or not) so that when he ultimately fails, he can blame something – anything – besides himself.

  2. Southern Hoosier says:

    Rats deserting another sinking ship.

  3. anjin-san says:

    Rats deserting another sinking ship.

    More like professionals who don’t want their careers damaged by association with a train wreck.