This morning on FOX News Sunday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said he won’t support Newt Gingrich for President:
I’m not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich’s having served under him for four years and experienced personally his leadership (…) I found it lacking often times.”
Coburn isn’t alone: As of November 25th, Gingrich hadn’t garnered endorsement from a single member of Congress. By comparison, Mitt Romney has gathered 44 such endorsements.
From the link:
“He’s a guy of 1,000 ideas, and the attention span of a one-year-old,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told The Hill in April. “His discipline and his attention to any individual thing is not his strong suit.”
This cuts right to the heart of Gingrich’s candidacy: He has a track record of being an ineffectual leader. Let’s remember that Gingrich faced a leadership challenge from his own party which ultimately led to his resignation from the House of Representatives.
Part of the reason for that leadership challenge were Gingrich’s ethics violations. From The Washington Post, January 22, 1997:
The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and order him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House’s 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.
The ethics case and its resolution leave Gingrich with little leeway for future personal controversies, House Republicans said. Exactly one month before yesterday’s vote, Gingrich admitted that he brought discredit to the House and broke its rules by failing to ensure that financing for two projects would not violate federal tax law and by giving the House ethics committee false information.
“Newt has done some things that have embarrassed House Republicans and embarrassed the House,” said Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.). “If [the voters] see more of that, they will question our judgment.”
Gingrich doesn’t lead by example. In fact, he doesn’t lead, period. This is another unsavory aspect of Gingrich’s record which bears greater scrutiny.
In my mind, it’s yet another reason to take a second, harder look at Rick Perry.
UPDATE: Doug Mataconis has posted another commentary on the Coburn comments, along with a video from Morning Joe detailing Gingrich’s record. Mr. Scarborough was, like Coburn, a member of the “Class of ’94″.