As front-runner in the Republican presidential nominating race,
Newt Gingrich is a natural target for critics. At this point, it's
mainly conservatives and fellow Republicans questioning his
character and leadership qualities.
When you're the front-runner in your party's presidential
nominating race, as Newt Gingrich is today, you must get used to
having a bulls-eye on your back.
To put it another way, Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment - "Thou
shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" - will be tossed aside
as the other candidates and their surrogates pile on like defensive
linemen on a scrambling quarterback.
That's the situation Gingrich finds himself in today as some who
served with him when he was House Speaker in the 1990s, Republican
strategists working today to oust Barack Obama, and conservative
pundits unsheathe their rhetorical knives.
Saturday night is an important point in the GOP's nominating race
- a debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Gingrich will be
the center of attention in a smaller group of six debaters, since
Herman Cain is history and Jon Huntsman got disinvited because his
poll numbers are so low.
The voices of criticism are numerous and growing.
John Sununu, former chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush:
"Gingrich "is more concerned about Newt Gingrich than he is about
Former Sen. Jim Talent, who served in the House when Gingrich was
Speaker: "He's not a reliable or trustworthy leader."
Sen. Tom Coburn, who also served with Gingrich in the House: "I
just found his leadership lacking." (A year ago, Coburn was quoted
as saying that Gingrich is "the last person I'd vote for president
of the United States [because] his life indicates he does not have
the character traits necessary.")
Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum: "What presidents
must inescapably do is respond to emergencies.... And there, what
usually ends up mattering most is not the president's philosophy,
but his judgment, coolness and steadiness. Those are the grounds on
which [Mitt] Romney reassures and Gingrich terrifies."
RECOMMENDED: Newt Gingrich pushes back against critics
Some evangelicals have said they've forgiven Gingrich for the
adulterous relationships that ended his first two marriages.
But not The Rev. Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach church
in Sioux City, Iowa. He's sent a YouTube video slamming Gingrich as
untrustworthy to one million cell phones in Iowa. …