Tuesday night Mitt Romney handed Newt Gingrich a huge defeat in the first winner-take-all state in Florida, but Gingrich declined to call the Romney campaign and congratulate him on his victory.
Paul and Santorum, who had moved on to Nevada, both called Romney. Heck, Romney even called Santorum when Santorum was finally declared the “winner” of Iowa two weeks after the contest.
It came out this morning that Gingrich never calls to congratulate the winner.
“Newt didn’t call after Iowa or New Hampshire. I called him after South Carolina, his win there, but he didn’t call again last night. The other candidates all called. But I don’t know, I guess speaker Gingrich doesn’t have our phone number,” Romney said, while almost giggling on NBC’s “Today” show
This is one of the last remaining pieces of etiquette in American politics, maybe even in American culture. You can say all sorts of lies about your opponent and smilingly “approve this message,” but the loser calls to congratulate the victory.
If an athlete walks off the court or field without shaking their opponents hand, sports radio goes after them for a week.
America loves competition; we want clear winners. And so a sore loser seems to be questioning the whole enterprise of competition. He seems not just like he is being rude to the winner, but stubbornly rebellious against a good and fair system.
It’s also just politically stupid. As much as conservatives and Tea Partiers want to beat Obama and stick it to Democrats, they want to win clean. They want their opponents to accept their legitimacy. Gingrich’s lack of politesse symbolizes all the pointless bickering in Washington.
Gingrich was worse than a loser last night. He was a sore loser.
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