Saturday, December 24, 2011

Personal responsibility

Conservative candidates like to talk about self-reliance, hard work and personal responsibility. I thought I would look up some quotes from Newt Gingrich on these subjects.  Here are a few, from a site called boycottliberalism:

   "Without personal responsibility there cannot be freedom. It is just that simple."

   “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

   "By blaming everything on “society,” contemporary liberals are really trying to escape the personal responsibility that comes with being an American."

   "Precisely because our rights are endowed by our Creator, the individual burden of responsibility borne by each citizen is greater than in any other country. This is why our new-found sense of entitlement and of victimization is exactly wrong – and so corrosive to the American spirit."

 Today, we learned that Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign failed to collect enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot. We would expect some recognition of personal responsibility on Gingrich's part. Instead, from the campaign's facebook page, this is what Newt's campaign had to say:

   "This was not due to a lack of effort by our volunteers, but the cumbersome process in Virginia."

The campaign director went on to compare this setback to Pearl Harbor. Seriously, Pearl Harbor? Was this some kind of sneak attack by the State of Virginia? Were the ballot requirements imposed in an unfair, secret manner? Was the campaign unaware of the requirements? 

I did not find any recognition by the campaign that they made a mistake or did not work hard enough. I found no acceptance of personal responsibility. Personal responsibility and hard work are for others, it seems. Not for the Newt Gingrich campaign of 2012. Their campaign is so novel, it seems, that they should not be expected to comply with the rules that apply to others. The phrase, "new-found sense of entitlement and of victimization," comes to mind. Isn't that what Newt himself said was wrong with America today?

My prediction: Gingrich's campaign is over. Any doubts that he was just going through the motions should be dispelled by this latest episode. Newt is on a book tour; not a presidential campaign. (I'd also like to remind the media not to get so enamored of the latest polls that they forget about all the hard work and organization it takes to round up actual votes in caucuses and primaries. We should take seriously only the campaigns with the staff, the volunteers, the enthusiasm, and the level of commitment it takes to win.)

P.S. Rick Perry failed to qualify in Virginia also. Remember Rick Perry?

(Photo from Creative Loafing)


  1. Too bad he just didn't do what Democrats do and use fake signatures.

  2. According to the article I linked to, the campaign submitted over 11,000 signatures, and only 10,000 were required. That means Newt submitted over 1000 fake signatures. I don't think there is any foolproof way of avoiding some phony names, which is why campaigns usually submit a lot signatures more than are required.

  3. I'd like to remind you and the media, that the hard work it takes to round up actual votes is called raising money. And no one, anywhere in the history of politics, has more access to money than Democrats.

  4. Money certainly helps, but most of the money in political campaigns goes to buy advertising time on TV and radio. What I'm talking about is more about organization and the ground game. You don't need a lot of money to collect 10,000 signatures. What you do need is a competent staff and an army of volunteers. That is what Newt Gingrich is lacking.

  5. It takes money to "hire the ground game".

    For all their whining; Dems have more money. Period. If Progressives lose more power in DC and around America it will be a monumental (albeit temporary) rejection of policy. Each of us will decide if that is a good or bad thing. More likely it is neither.

  6. It took a lot of money (and it still does) to pay ACORN (by any other name) soldiers.

  7. I'd be interested in your sources, Kevin, because my impression was that the parties are fairly even in fundraising.

    And outside corporate groups, which are going to be a big factor next year, tend to favor Republicans. That will be counter-balanced to some extent by unions and liberal groups.

    Anyway, my point about Newt Gingrich has nothing to do with money. At all. Newt could have all the money in the world, and he would still have trouble with follow through.

  8. Of course, there are many sources, as you make clear. I am not trying to change you mind. I have learned my lesson. I have a brother who is an attorney, a brother who is an Admiral, and teachers in my family. "Fins to the left, fins to the right, and you're the only non ideolouge in town".

    Your comments about a counter balance are interesting. How do you counter balance a President who will raise 1 BILLION dollars?

    I tire of the left portraying themselves as the less well funded. It is a lie.

    Given: Newt doesn't have it all together. Neither does Obama or anyone else. Talk about follow through; Obama ran against Bush and became him.

  9. Personal responsibility. What is personal responsibility? I know you have admired JFK. In light of decades of testimony and additional stories from Mimi Alford, is he admirable? What test do politicians need to pass?

  10. The kind of personal responsibility I was talking about in this post has to do with accepting responsibility for your own public actions, rather than blaming others. And the hypocrisy of preaching about how other people need to accept personal responsibility while avoiding doing that yourself. Which pretty much sums up Newt Gingrich.

    What you are talking about I think has more to do with a person's integrity in their personal life, or perhaps with morality. And that's a slippery slope when we start judging others based on our own different standards of morality. Generally I think that what people do in their personal life is none of our business, and doesn't have much to do with their performance as leaders. We have had terrible leader withe exemplary private lives, and great leaders with very questionable private lives. So I really don't care much how many girlfriends JFK had, or how many wives Newt Gingrich had, or whether such and such politician is a closet homosexual. Because I think that when we start judging politicians that way we will lose sight of qualities that are more important, and then we are more likely to elect mediocre leaders just because they have blameless private lives, and to pass up on great leaders who have scandalous private lives.

    Having said that, there are probably some leaders who would cross the line even for me. John Edwards comes to mind. And in Kennedy's case, the troublesome areas, that potentially could have affected his judgment, were his involvement with a couple of women with mob connections or Russian connections. Apart from that kind of conflict, I think we would be better off, as we used to be when Kennedy was president, if we paid a lot less attention to what politicians do in their private lives. With Clinton, for example, I wish he could have just told Ken Starr, and the rest of America, to mind their own business, and we all would have been spared a lot of useless distraction.