He’s not the first to feel this way, but it does seem a little extra newsworthy when a presidential candidate scolds his competitors for attacking each other. Isn’t an admonition to stop fighting and “get over it” a kind of attack in and of itself?

Nevertheless I agree with the sentiments Newt Gingrich recently expressed:

“I have one opponent: Barack Obama,” said Newt Gingrich Thursday evening at the Iowa GOP headquarters in Des Moines. “And frankly, I wish some of my good friends – especially the ones who have the most money – would adopt a little more of Reagan’s 11th commandment and get over it,” Gingrich added, referring to the 40th president’s oft-quoted rule that Republicans shouldn’t speak ill of other Republicans.

“There shouldn’t be a seventh grade recess argument. Because the media loves it. Every time we fight, we’re not hurting Obama.” …

Gingrich explained further: “I’d like to see a campaign in which we offer, each of us, our strengths. And we each offer our solutions. And then, in our team, you know, people in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and so forth are all going to make a choice. One of us will end up the nominee, in all probability. But we should do it in a way that we could all rally on the same team. Defeat Obama and his team [in the] Senate, House, et cetera.”

He’s exactly right: The candidates should be focused on their own strengths and, above all, on whatever solutions they have to offer. But Gingrich’s comments remind me a little — to stay with the elementary school analogy — of a third-grader repeatedly whispering “Shhh” so loudly during quiet time that it defeats the purpose he’s trying to accomplish. Here’s hoping the candidates overcome the pettiness soon so Gingrich won’t have to wear himself out warning about media traps and attempting to rally his opponents to a clean and civil race — and can return to touting his own strengths and solutions.