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Gingrich vs. Gingrich: Dissecting the Gingrich Persona

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Newt Gingrich is widely known as a smart guy with big ideas. Many who are unhappy with today's government like Gingrich's "in-your-face" pugnacity. But he is also under attack from former Republican colleagues -- those who know him best.

As of Dec. 12, no U.S. senator had endorsed Gingrich -- Romney had nine. They are not attacking his positions; they are attacking his personality. Gingrich does not try to deny the accusations. He says that he has changed. But is that likely?

What do colleagues say about Newt?

1. He enjoys throwing firebombs. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noon describes Gingrich as, "a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin saying, "Watch this!" Case-in-point was Gingrich's announcement on Meet the Press that Paul Ryan's health care proposal was "right wing social engineering." He provided no explanation for the charge and later apologized.

Newt Gingrich

2. He sees himself as a visionary. In his book, "Windows of Opportunity" Gingrich writes about mirrors in space that would reduce nighttime crime and the need for street lights. Some might call that crazy ... many might call that crazy.

3. He is a narcissist. Former Senator Alan Simpson summarized that, "He is for himself before he is for anybody." Former colleague John Sununu talks about Newt's "self-aggrandizement" as he throws out "a clever phrase that has no other purpose than to make him sound a little smarter than the conservative Republican leadership." Some might wonder why Gingrich frequently cites historical dates when discussing history. Is his objective to strengthen the message or to show off?

4. He is disorganized. Republican representative Susan Molinari reflects, "He loved chaos and even when he didn't create it knowingly or intentionally, he managed to leave it in his wake after every meeting."

5. He needs a better verbal filter. Senator Jim Talent said, "... you would get up in the morning, and have the to check the newspaper ... to see what the Speaker had said that day that you were going to have to clean up ..."

What makes Newt, Newt?

Power. According to the late Harvard professor David McClellan, humans are motivated by: achievement, affiliation and power. Those high in achievement typically golf with a scorecard because, as everyone knows, "the purpose of golf is to win." Golfers high in affiliation are offended by scorecards because, "the purpose of golf is to deepen personal relationships." Those high in power do not care about scorecards because, "the purpose of golf is to strengthen professional networks." All three play golf, but for different reasons.

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