The anti-Gingrich forces - the unlikely allies of Mitt Romney and President Obama - have finally settled on a "story" - and have managed to make it stick in the media. It's a simple story, a devastating story: "The people who know Newt the most trust him the least." Some version of that line has appeared in probably half of the news articles since the latest Republican debate. A recent example? Today, in The Hill. Whatever the real truth of the matter - somewhat hard to determine in the heat of a campaign - it is certainly true that there is enough truth in it to make the story part of the national conversation.
Sometimes charges leveled during a campaign are true and sometimes they aren't --- but that has always been somewhat less important than whether or not they "sound" true. From the accusations that Adams was a monarchist in 1800 to the campaign against Barry Goldwater to the insane mutterings that President Obama was not born in the United States --- if a story sticks for whatever reason, some people will always believe it.
And could it hurt Gingrich? As he has surged in the polls, could it be that his own reputation will ultimately undo him?
Image capture from Youtube, today 12/13/2011. This is the famous Daisy Ad Johnson ran against Goldwater in 1964 --- charging that Goldwater was irresponsible, dangerous, and untrustworthy.
Here is the advertisement.
Is this irony, or what?
The battle to define Newt Gingrich continues. The counter-argument developed by the Gingrich team to the charge that none of his old acquaintances like him is: he stepped on their toes while getting stuff done. It is not yet clear how well this will work or how widely it will be reported.