On December 11th, buy David Frum participated in a radio interview with host Earl Ofari Hutchinson of The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour.
The interview focused on the race for the Republican presidential nomination. You can read the full transcript of the interview here.
EOH: Will Newt Gingrich be the GOP nominee?
DF: My guess is no. Gingrich has a lot that appeals to Republican primary voters. They like that he helped take back the House of Representatives in 1994 and his confrontational style. But there are a lot of worries about him, strongest among those who know him best. In Washington he is not known as an effective leader, not well organized, not disciplined. The man is not good at disciplining himself, which you need in a Presidential campaign. The Republican campaign is going to be long because they have moved away from their “winner take all” rules. If you win in New Hampshire, Iowa or South Carolina, you get the majority of the delegates, not all of them. That’s one thing that kept the Democratic contest going so long in 2008. Mitt Romney gets stronger the longer the clock runs.
EOH: If Gingrich moves ahead, does he have a network and/or can he build one in time?
DF: There isn’t really time to build it, and no, he doesn’t have it. In the age of social media, especially fox news, which is a social media for Republicans, they feel these things are less important than they used to be. Here’s what he doesn’t have; He doesn’t have money and is having trouble raising money, and he doesn’t have the network of endorsements. There are a lot of important Republican politicians who are going to be out in the cold if Gingrich wins because they bet so heavily on Romney. And they’re not going to like that.
EOH: Does Mitt Romney look at Gingrich as a major threat to him?
DF: They are doing negative ads which is a departure for them, but they have been in this situation before. Some candidates have been “flavors of the month”, obviously they were never going to be the nominee. But it was not impossible that Rick Perry might have been the nominee. He fell apart because of his own mistakes. Had he not made the mistakes, he can raise a lot of money, he’s won a lot of elections, he knows politics. Perhaps if the format had relied less on debates, where his lack of knowledge was caught, and relied more on advertising and fundraising, he might have done better. Romney has confronted an incredible challenger before and he sawed him off. In many ways Perry is a stronger candidate than Newt because Perry is less disliked by the Washington Republican leadership.