And now from the Washington Post in “5 lessons learned from the Alabama and Mississippi primaries,” one of them being:
It’s a two-man race: Santorum’s wins in the deep South badly complicate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s logic for continuing on in the contest. Gingrich, never one to bow to electoral reality, seems to be committed to staying in the race for now — proclaiming in a speech Tuesday night that “the elite media’s effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed.” Um, ok.
Regardless of whether Newt knows it or not, his chances of remaining a major player in this race effectively ended with his second place finishes in Mississippi and Alabama. Prominent conservatives have already begun to go public urging him to leave the race and that drumbeat will only grow louder if he refuses.
Read about the other four lessons here.
Some reactions to Gingrich’s losses — and his “soldiering on.”
For Newt Gingrich, staying in the presidential race grows more and more difficult with each passing primary he doesn’t win.
That didn’t stop him from pledging to fight on despite losses to Rick Santorum on Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi — Southern states that Gingrich and many Republicans have said he had to win to remain viable after a string of defeats this year.
Less clear is whether it’s possible for Gingrich to attract the support — and dollars — he needs to continue. Yet there may not be anyone who can compel him to drop out. His rationale for staying in the nominating contest is less and less about a path to victory — and increasingly driven by a defiant rejection that Mitt Romney is best suited to challenge President Obama in the fall.
If Gingrich does continue, there may be an unlikely beneficiary: Romney, the Republican front-runner…
Gingrich is also helping the party generally, many Republicans said, by pushing issues that resonate with GOP voters — notably the high price of gas …
On everyone’s mind, however, are these questions: At what point does Gingrich’s extended struggle to regain momentum on the campaign trail start to hurt Republicans? And at what point does it hurt him? …
At Mr. Santorum’s election night rally at a hotel ballroom in Lafayette, La., some of his supporters said that it was time for Mr. Gingrich to stop dividing the conservative vote and throw his backing to Mr. Santorum.
“I think Gingrich is hurting us right now,” said Derek Dake, a resident of Lafayette who came to Mr. Santorum’s rally. “It’s time for Newt to put his support behind Rick.”
As to Santorum’s direct appeal for Gingrich to drop put:
The argument was rejected by Mr. Gingrich, who told a radio station here on Tuesday that there was “a certain advantage right now in having both of us tag-team Romney.” He congratulated Mr. Santorum but showed no indication that he would acquiesce to calls from conservative leaders to step aside.
Yet the burden was quickly rising for Mr. Gingrich, who has won only 2 states, South Carolina and Georgia, compared with 9 states for Mr. Santorum and 14 for Mr. Romney. But Mr. Gingrich has pledged to take his candidacy to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
And a different twist. The Huffington Post:
A senior adviser to Newt Gingrich told The Huffington Post Tuesday night the campaign likes the idea of Rick Santorum and Gingrich running on the same ticket for the presidency and vice presidency.
“Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would make a powerful team against Barack Obama,” the adviser said on the condition that his name not be used. “They have the capability to deny Gov. Romney the nomination.”
The proposal comes after rumors of a Gingrich alliance with Texas Gov. Rick Perry surfaced earlier this week. It does not come off as a sign of confidence. Rather, it is an indication that the Gingrich campaign senses their candidate’s position in the race slipping after the former House speaker’s losses to Santorum in Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday night.
It has been a long dry spell — starting with the South Carolina GOP primary, January 19 — since we could write another “and then there were x” mini-story.
The last dropout was the all-hat-and-no-cattle Rick Perry at that January 19 primary when he emotionally announced that he was suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich.
As a possible reward for such loyalty, rumors have been flying that Gingrich might pick the Texas cowboy as his vice-presidential running mate.
“Sadly,” Gingrich may not have the opportunity to return the favor.
The man who has won only two states, South Carolina and Georgia — the former because of his magnificent media bashing, the latter because of his ties to his home state — but who has divinely pledged to magically bring the price of gasoline down to $2.50 a gallon; the man who doggedly vowed that he would not leave the field, that he would go all the way to Tampa, has just lost two must-win states, Alabama and Mississippi.
We will see whether Newt Gingrich will finally realize that he has become the latest player in this circus-like GOP musical chairs comedy to find himself without a chair to plump down on.
Knowing Newt Gingrich, don’t hold your breath.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.