Yes, Virginia…there is such a thing as a clean political race.
I’d hate to dispel any childhood hopes & dreams (especially during the holiday season) of a democracy that’s built on civility--and apparently Newt Gingrich doesn’t want to either.
That’s why today he sent out this letter.
December 13, 2011
Dear supporters and staff,
Since I announced my candidacy for President of the United States, I have made it clear that I intended to run a positive, solutions-based campaign. There is not doubt, these are difficult times for our country. The American people deserve a respectful and constructive campaign that focuses on a vision for rebuilding the country we love.
It is critical the Republican nominee emerge from this primary campaign un-bloodied, so that he or she can make the case against President Obama from a position of strength.
For these reasons I have refrained from launching attacks on my Republican opponents, though I have reserved the right to respond when my record has been distorted. On Monday this occurred when Governor Romney and I engaged in what in diplomatic circles is called “a frank exchange” over our respective records in the private sector. That same day, however, Mr. Romney announced, “I’m not going to say outrageous things that can be used to hang [a GOP opponent] down the road.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. So let us hope that from this point forward we can devote our energies to real issues, such as discussing our plans for our nation’s economic recovery and helping to create millions of new jobs for the American people.
I also want to reiterate to each of you what I have said from the beginning of our campaign, and most recently last Saturday in Iowa: We will run a positive campaign focused on our country’s future. We will not be running any negative advertising. With Ronald Reagan’s eleventh commandment in mind, we will ask our supporters not to contribute to any so-called SuperPAC that runs negative ads against any other Republican contender and we will discourage ad hominem attacks on our fellow Republicans.
Therefore, I am instructing all members of my campaign staff and respectfully urge anyone acting as a surrogate for our campaign to avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates. It is my hope that my Republican opponents will join me in this commitment.
Running a positive solutions-based campaign is the only way to guarantee President Obama is not reelected.
Thank you as always for your support and enthusiasm.
For those who want the Reader’s Digest version…it essentially is a pledge that he will abide by the 11th commandment of Ronald Reagan by not speaking ill of fellow Republicans.
“We will run a positive campaign focused on our country’s future. We will not be running any negative advertising,” said Gingrich.
And after asking his supporters to refrain from donating to any so-called Super-PACs which run negative ads, he wrote:
“Therefore, I am instructing all members of my campaign staff and respectfully urge anyone acting as a surrogate for our campaign to avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates.”
Seems noble enough, right? Kudos to you, Mr. Speaker!
Wait, what’s that word slipped in toward the end there? “Initiating”? Hmmm. In a city where loopholes have nothing to do with tying your shoe, I and likely everyone else around the beltway, know THAT is a caveat…an excuse…an out.
So you WON’T initiate, but clearly WILL respond. Does that mean you can lash out as long as it’s in reference to any critic? A question by a reporter? A third-hand comment by an opponent’s surrogate?
And by the way, this call for supporters to “stay positive” by Gingrich comes just 24 hours after a nasty back-and-forth with Mitt Romney.
Romney suggested Gingrich return the $1.6M he earned as a “historian” for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.
To which Gingrich implored Romney to dish out the millions he earned at Bain Capital.
Technically, Gingrich’s letter (his equivalent to Jerry Maguire’s mission statement) is an effort to wipe the slate clean…surface clean.
Romney won’t make that same promise, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s being rude, just realistic.
“You know, we aren’t running any negative ads at this point but we may. This is, after all, politics. There’s no whining in politics,” he recently said at a town hall.
In other words, don’t hold your breath America. 2008 turned out to be the longest, costliest & debatably one of the nastiest races in Presidential history. This one, promises to keep pace if not succeed.