One of the things that you pick up when you read about successful politicians is that many of them really aren’t like normal people; their tolerance for the mundane tasks of electioneering sets them apart. Think of George H.W. Bush writing endless thank you notes and making every fundraising call his staff could give him, as documented so well by Richard Ben Cramer in What It Takes; think of Bill Clinton working rope lines until they had to drag him away; think of George W. Bush sitting around drinking until his father became president…okay, it doesn’t always work that way. Which gets us to the superhuman electioneering capacity of Newt Gingrich, on his way home for a three-day weekend break from the grueling campaign trail:

He spent nearly 30 minutes shaking hands — across the Missouri River from Iowa, in Nebraska — as he prepared to fly home

Nearly 30 minutes. I suppose when you’re Churchill, Lincoln, Reagan, and de Gaulle wrapped up into one, that’s a major surrender to the process. Just think home many ways he could have fundamentally changed the world if he had that almost half hour back.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.