Campaign in Descent? Newt Gingrich Faces Multi-Fronted Bad News

Is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s once-dead-once-surging campaign for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination on the descent again? When taken together a series of news stories and developments suggest his chances of winning the nomination could be dwindling.

In politics it isn’t true that “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name correctly.” Gingrich could live without — and do better politically — without stories such as these:

  • ABC News reports that a 2006 Gingrich memo says “We agree entirely with [then Massachusetts] Governor [Mitt] Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans.” This undercuts Gingrich’s assertions in debates and attacks on Romney during the debates and his insistence that his ideas on healthcare were not the same as Romney.” Since Gingrich is tied with Rep. Ron Paul in Iowa this is unlikely to help him since it involves a) stand b)his credibility. The Wall Street Journal frames it this way: “Newt Gingrich voiced enthusiasm for Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health-care law when it was passed five years ago, the same plan he has been denouncing over the past few months as he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination.” To many, this will seem deja vu — like when he denounced then President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal at the same time he himself was carrying on an affair.
  • A CNN report finds court records don’t support Gingrich’s version of his divorce. “Newt Gingrich claims that it was his first wife, not Gingrich himself, who wanted their divorce in 1980, but court documents obtained by CNN appear to show otherwise.” Again: it cuts to his credibility.
  • Gingrich will not be allowed on the ballot for the Virginia primary and he has compared this to Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This indicates poor staffing and his statement about Pearl Harbor is getting much attention as rhetorical overreach.
  • The Daily Beast has a devastating piece titled “How Newt Gingrich Crashed and Burned When He Was House Speaker” crammed with reportage about the chaos that reigned when Gingrich was House speaker and about how much he was disliked by other Republicans. It needs to be read in full but here’s a tiny bit of it:” By the time he was forced out in 1998, many former members say they were terrified to open up the newspaper in the morning, fearful he had said or done that could cause them political heartburn… Tellingly, the same people who hoisted him to power are now running from him in droves. Fewer than a dozen current or former congressmen have endorsed Gingrich for president.”
  • All of this taken together suggests 1)baggage discreetly shoved in a closet may come tumbling out 2)voters are not getting positive info about Gingrich now. When faced with highly risky (Gingrich) and bland (Romney) some GOP voters may go with bland even though some may go with risky (Ron Paul). On the other hand, this is not to say Romney is a shoo in for the nomination.

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    • JeffP

      That this man was a serious contender for the GOP electorate speaks volumes about the recent 30-40 year evolution of the conservative movement. I doubt my conservative grandfather would recognize his grand old party, and would flip in his grave if Newt became anywhere near genuine responsible leadership of our nation again.

    • dduck

      And, can we be sure he doesn’t smoke cigars. Hmmmm.

    • merkin

      Mitt is a shooin if Newt, Paul and Santorum are all the not-even-a-hint-of-moderation people have left.

    • DaGoat

      You can take the question mark out of the headline. Gingrich is toast.

    • slamfu

      I still think that the GOP voters are so loony, that if Palin times it JUST right, she can walk away with the nomination :)

    • dduck

      Slam, no way, the moderates are ascending.
      I don’t think she will want to add to the toast pile.

    • bluebelle

      Romney will get the nod– and then will be faced with the daunting task of simultaneously convincing Republicans that he is conservative enough– and Democrats and Independents that he is moderate enough to be a uniter. He just has to wait out the process while the rest of the nutjobs blow themselves out of the water.
      (Of course we know by now that no mortal human being can really unite the Tea Partiers, Paulies, neocons, establishment Republicans, etc etc.)

      Gingrich can go back to his career in private life as a lob…..er historian.

      Maybe Obama will luck out and Trump will make good on his threat to enter the race and will peel off some votes from conservatives and indies.

    • RP

      There is only one way the Republicans have a chance to win the election and that is with Romney. Any other candidate is going to turn off a large percentage of center voters so they end up voting for Obama or not voting at all.

      If any other candidate runs, you may see a third party candidate run which will do the same thing to a Republican that Ralph Nadar did to Gore. Gore won the popular vote, but lost Florida, not due to SCOTUS but due to Ralph Nadar. Bush had 2,912,790 votes, Gore had 2,912,253 votes and Nadar had 97,488.(Infoplease.com) Give those to Gore and Gore would have won Florida and would have received those electoral votes and won the election.

      With the libertarians on all states ballots and Americanselect.org getting on all 50 states, those votes could make a difference. Then add in the possibility of another Rose Perot running and that dooms the republicans to also rans, no matter what Obama says or does between now and November.

    • dduck

      Correct, RP. But I still like Huntsman (perhaps as V.P.?). Book of Mormons, indeed.

    • slamfu

      “Slam, no way, the moderates are ascending”

      I don’t think so. I think its more akin to the GOP waking up with a hangover before going on another whacky nomination bender. I think they will literally let anyone who can parrot certain talking points take the lead. The ascension of Perry, Cain, and finally Gingrich I will use as proof that the GOP voters aren’t really looking at who’s actually doing the talking, at least not for the first few weeks. And during those few weeks Palin can swoop in, take the lead in the polls and if its close enough to the voting I think she’ll get it. I estimate the following timeline is possible:

      Week 1: Palin announces her run. It gets some attention, FOX news hails her as a veritable savior of the GOP, but not much goes on past the fluff.

      Week 2: The polls come back after the voters have had a week to think it over. “She’s not Romney” they say, so the polls show her taking the lead.

      Weeks 3-6: Her lack of substance begins to peek through, however she avoids debates, and the attack on the Liberal Media grows some legs and helps insulate her supporters from the terrible mistake they are making. Conservative media is all aflutter, while many in the center and left are shaking their heads.

      Week 7: Reality shatters conservative hopes and dreams as even republican primary voters can no longer lie to themselves that this candidate is qualified to sit in the Oval Office. The search for the next woefully unqualified anti-Romney begins anew.

      So I feel she has that long to pull a fast one. If she gets in at just the right time and rides the gullible with enough babbling about “Big Gov’t” and the usual talking points, she just might pull it off.

    • ShannonLeee

      pretty much everyone here saw this coming…and here it is.

    • bluebelle

      I still think Jeb could sneak into the race. The Bush dynasty will go down in the history books as first destroying then saving the GOP.

    • Allen

      Romney will get the nomination, then every Republican and independent will follow him as long as he keeps up the hate Obama routine. They’ve been allowed to throw false accusations for so long that the world now believes it’s all true.

      I see a tea party takeover in congress with Mitt in the White house. Following that, demonization of the unemployed will become policy. Social Security will disappear, old people will starve but it will be kept out of the media. Suicide rates will skyrocket, but that info will also be suppressed. The homeless will be driven out of the cities into the wilderness or wherever and healthcare will become virtually unaffordable to anyone but the upper classes. The repossessed homes of patients becoming a great sideline sales business for hospitals selling them to returning vets with a VA loan. Thus the wall paper America will become solvent again with it’s losers finally run to ground….until the next generation pops up for retirement. They’ll just have to drop dead where they work and like it. It’s “problem solved” for the conservative.

    • Rcoutme

      Umm…most of the ‘other’ candidates people are spouting here (Palin, Bush, et. al.) can not swoop in and take the nomination because they can no longer get on the primary ballots. It is literally too late for them. The only way for them to get the nomination is a brokered convention.

      You guys did know that, right? Right?