As it turns out, the former Speaker of the House and winner of this weekend's South Carolina primary is an avid -- a surprisingly avid -- Amazon.com book reviewer. Gingrich has reviewed a total of 156 reviews.
Perhaps the one that may give us the most insight into the workings of the Gingrich campaign brain is his review of "A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement". In this review, Gingrich discusses positive campaigning:
Middendorf repeats a story I first heard from Tim Russert about Goldwater and Kennedy agreeing that in 1964 they would tour the country on Air Force One holding a series of debates and proving that there could be civility and collegiality even in presidential politics. Building on the debates of 1960 and enjoying each other's company a Goldwater-Kennedy contest would have led to a much healthier America.
Gingrich also talks about how party power can change rapidly:
Middendorf also reminds us that results can shift with remarkable speed. The Goldwater defeat was seen as the beginning of the end for the GOP yet two short years later in 1966 there was a remarkable rebound. The GOP lost 529 legislative seats in 1964 and gained 700 in 1966. The GOP lost 37 house seats and gained 47 in 1966.
Most interesting, though, given the battle he's about to enter this week, is his discussion about why George Romney's presidential campaign failed back in the 1960s. George Romney was Mitt Romney's father and given how intense Newt will be fighting Mitt this week, it's a fascinating observation:
After the 1966 elections Governor George Romney was the front runner and polls showed him beating President Johnson 54 to 46, After he said "the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get when you go over to Vietnam....they do a very thorough job" his campaign collapsed.
Obviously, the 1960s culture of the Vietnam war isn't something everyone today is familiar with. The important take-away here is how aware Gingrich appears to be that a misstatement can derail an entire campaign. The irony, of course, is that the contemporary Mr. Romney has been making quite a few of them over the last few weeks.
Over the next few weeks, we'll see if Mr. Gingrich has taken the lessons of the failed Goldwater campaign to heart, and doesn't repeat the mistakes he's written about.
If you'd like read all of New Gingrich's reviews, just visit the link below:
Further reading: All 156 of Newt Gingrich's Amazon.com reviews