Matthews on Gingrich’s tears: Politics is grueling business


Politics is a grueling business.  It’s all about getting people to like you.  When you get elected, you think the whole word loves you.  When you get defeated, you feel the total rejection that is the lone experience of those who chose to put themselves before the public for approval or disapproval.  We have looked upon you and found you wanting.  We know you and we don’t like you.

And the most brutal treatment comes when you are most vulnerable, when you’ve been out there for weeks, months, years perhaps asking people to like you.  Then it comes, on election night or maybe a few days earlier when you see a poll, that you get it right in the gut.  You get the word that all that work, all those smiles and handshakes and small talk and the best speeches you could give, didn’t work.  You get it thrown at you cold and brutally that the verdict is “no,” “no” not you, not you now, not you ever.  Got it?  We don’t like you.

This afternoon Newt Gingrich, one of the roughest of politicians, showed tears.  Believe me, he’s not the first.  Crying in defeat comes with the business.  It’s usually backstage, when the candidate gets the word - or on Air Force One at 1 in the morning - or sitting in a hotel room - you know it’s over.  People got you and decided they didn’t like you.  You may have been through it with a girl or a boy, or later in life, but you know the feeling.  Candidates for public office get it with a bigger punch.  It  isn’t one person saying “no” to you.  It’s the mass of people saying “not you.”  “Not you.”

Look. I’ve been there. I know first-hand that candidates cry when they’re rejected.  It’s not about Ed Muskie in ‘72 or Pat Schoeder a generation later or Hilary Clinton or Newt.  It’s about the business they have chosen. 


Hardball Let Me Finish

Matthews on Gingrich's tears: Politics is grueling business