The endorsement comes at a very interesting time. In the short history of the 2012 Republican presidential election cycle, a merry-go-round of flavors of the month have emerged with one candidate after the other suddenly rising to frontrunner status only to fall out of favor almost as quickly as they fell in to favor. Based upon that trend, Newt’s time in the spotlight would seem to be coming to an end. But with this endorsement from the Union Leader, Newt may get the type of help he needs to not peak too early in this race.
While the New Hampshire primary is still 6 weeks out, the Union Leader does not simply print an endorsement and leave it at that. The paper’s publisher, Joe McQuaid once stated:
“The Union Leader’s style is we don’t just endorse once. We endorse every damn day. We started endorsing Reagan in 1975 and never stopped.”
In other words, from a point of journalistic integrity, whether it is moral or not, the Union Leader continues to make their case for their endorsed candidate. That entails a process which often finds the Union Leader shaping the debate and interjecting certain issues in to the race.
But aside from the obvious help that this endorsement and the support that will continue to come because of it, Newt also benefits from the paper’s reputation for supporting the anti-establishment conservatives.
In 1972, the Union Leader endorsed Ohio Congressman John Ashbrook in the primary against incumbent President Richard Nixon. That is an endorsement of particular interest to this author, who views Ashbrook as one of his personal conservative hero’s.
In 1975, the Union Leader endorsed former California Governor Ronald Reagan over incumbent President Gerald Ford.
In 1988, the paper endorsed then former Delaware Governor Pete DuPont. Back then, while I endorsed Jack Kemp, DuPont was my second choice. In many ways he was an anti-establishmentarian and even had an idea about privatizing Social Security (I like people who are ahead of their time).
By the time 1992 rolled around, the Union Leader still found itself bucking the establishment and in both that year and in 1996, endorsed Pat Buchanan. When 2000 rolled around, the paper backed the so-called “maverick”, John McCain and they again endorsed him in 2008. McCain lost the nomination in 2000 and the general election in’08, but he did win the New Hampshire primary both times.
So when it comes to picking winners, the Union Leader has picked more losers than winners but in 2012, the paper’s almost TEA Party-like anti-establishment streak does nothing but help Newt Gingrich. And not only in New Hampshire where Mitt Romney leads Gingrich by almost 25%. The early endorsement by this major New Hampshire newspaper will have a spillover effect in states like Iowa and South Carolina where right now, momentum is the name of the game. This endorsement will go a long way in helping to give Newt that momentum and helps to reaffirm many of the positive aspects that Republican voters are looking for and even appeals to the TEA Party.
With quotes from the endorsement such as;“We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing.” and “A lot of candidates say they’re going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again”, Newt can make a strong case for why he is best suited to lead Republicans to victory in 2012, and the nation to prosperity in the years to follow.
Some of the most interesting things to come out of this endorsement came not from what was written in it but what the editorial board members behind the endorsement said about the endorsement.
On CNN, Drew Cline, the paper’s editorial editor, contrasted Newt with his main rival in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney by calling Romney “a very play-it-safe candidate” and then going further by adding
“Imagine what that would look like as president,” “We need a candidate that is bold in his leadership, has a vision for where he wants to take the country, and knows how to get there.”
The Union Leader’s publisher, Joe McQuaide alluded to Romney in the actual endosement by writing;
” We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.”
As stated at the beginning of this post, endorsements like that of the Union Leader don’t necessarily make or break a candidate, but if used properly, they can go a long way in helping a candidate and so far, Newt is using it properly. In an initial response to the support given to him from the Union Leader, the campaign called the newspaper;
“one of the country’s most important conservative barometer[s],”
And said it was;
“among the first to champion Ronald Reagan.”
Such characterizations of the endorsement will have legs not just in the Granite State but in the Hawkeye and Palmetto State’s as well.
Filed under: New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich Tagged: | Actual endorsement of the Union Leader, history of the New Hampshire Union Leader endorsement, Joe McQaid, John Ashbrook, Manchester Union Leader, Read the entire Union Leader endorsement of Newt Gingrich, whitehouse12, wordpress political blogs