Is 2012 Newt’s Year?

Perennial pundit favorite Newt Gingrich has spent years publicly toying with the idea of making an honest to god run for the presidency.

At The Democratic Strategist, Ed Kilgore observes that Gingrich has a long history of remaking himself just in time to take advantage of emerging trends amongst conservatives and Republicans:

. . . the lesson of Gingrich’s early years is that he has a jeweler’s eye for a political opening and a willingness to transform himself as necessary to exploit such opportunities when they arise. This could be one of those times: Because the 2012 Republican field is exceedingly weak in ways that would benefit Gingrich, he could end up in a surprisingly good electoral position if he decides to run.

Gingrich has some advantages over many of the potential Republican candidates – he isn’t tainted with Bush era failures, he’s smart, and while his personal life has been a series of disasters, disgraces and reversals, that isn’t necessarily a problem for conservative voters who would forgive him if he invokes a story of personal fall and retribution through faith (which he could do pretty convincingly).  I also thing Gingrich could lay claim to governing gravitas – positioning himself as the senior statesman who who can float above the motley crew of jesters, bunglers and celebutantes who make up the rest of the field.  It might work.

That’s the “It could happen argument.”  What about the “What are smoking argument?”

Well, courtesy of Nate Silver, we get that argument pretty simply:  Gingrich is one gaffe from moving above 50% in his unfavorable ratings, he’s not well loved by the Republican base; worse, he does badly in a match up against Barack Obama.  To put it simply, Gingrich lacks base appeal and electability.

To me, the obvious path for Gingrich is the same one John McCain used – as the other candidates become increasingly non-viable, he emerges as a consensus candidate – nobody’s wild about him, but they can all agree they’ll support him.  Not for nothing, I think Gingrich is easily smart enough to see that path available to him and to set himself up as the candidate everyone agrees on.  Sure, Palin energizes but she helped deliver the White House to Barack Obama in 2008, Romney and Hunstman may be squeaky clean but they’re Mormons, Huckabee is very publicly self-destructing (and he released the murderer you know) and so on.  But it repeats the Republican party’s 2008 problem – the head of the ticket just isn’t that beloved by the base and he gets lukewarm support which forces him to do things in the general that cost him swing voters and independents.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on March 5, 2011 - 11:49 am

    Newt isn’t really running for President, he hasn’t actually announced his candidacy. He just wants to make money from gullible right-wingers with a fake campaign.

    I strongly suspect that Huckabee and Palin are playing the same game, just selling books and raising money for their own personal bank accounts. These Faux News celebs are absorbing money and attention that might otherwise find its way to a serious candidate.

    Like you say, that leaves Willard Romney, Jon Hunstman and an undistinguished pack of right-wing ideologues that includes Michele Bachmann (nutcase), Haley Barbour (racist), Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum (who?)

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on March 5, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    Oops. The Huckster caught lying. Repeatedly.

  3. #3 by cav on March 5, 2011 - 3:56 pm

    I take it he moved his lips…

    I think there’s another reason all the dunderheaded conservative stars are being illuminated – and that is to provide more opportunities to bad rap and ravage the democratically elected president. Life ain’t hard enough – spotlight the malicious wingtard attack dogs. Tell us they’re presidential timber. It is to laugh.

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on March 5, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    The only way Gingrich could win is if things get so bad this year, that we decide we need a REAL BASTARD to lead us.

    Not beyond the realm of possibilities; especially when you consider Diebold. They only have to TELL us we voted for a real bastard or an idiot in 2004 because we couldn’t change an AWOL President in the middle of a war.

    How come “Gingrich” passes my spell checker and “Obama” doesn’t?

    What is a Gingrich?

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