CHRIS PUMMER: It’s tempting to think that Newt Gingrich’s botched campaign launch did in his chances at winning the GOP presidential nomination. That probably overstates his odds of winning to begin with.
Gingrich already entered the race as a polarizing figure mostly know for his bomb-throwing rhetorical style that he would unleash in sometimes senseless and contradictory bursts.
In other words, everyone had the sense that he was just saying a bunch of inflammatory things to see if they’d stick, even if he’d have to backpedal shortly after. Such the case as his positions on the intervention in Libya. Or the Medicare-reinventing budget put forward by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis).
Newt’s willingness to say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear is probably a boon for his political action committee when it raises prodigious amounts of money like it has the last couple years. It probably gets rousing applause at speaking events, and satisfies viewers of Fox News when Gingrich is asked to offer his brand of quasi-pointy-head analysis. The quasi- added because it’s all fake, manufactured to make you like Gingrich.
Affection and attention Gingrich has always seemed to crave in greater amounts, even when he was the face of the Republican Party during his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the mid-90s. His personal life has never measured up to the moral standard he has espoused.
As a former Speaker during an era of political transition in the United States, Gingrich’s name belongs in the most basic history textbooks. That’s not something you can say about most also-rans for a presidential nomination, but at the same time it makes him look like an anachronism today.
Like an actor who’s rambling speech is going on too long at an awards show, Newt just can’t bring himself to leave the podium hardware in hand. His time is up, though, and that’s probably why the rest of the GOP is turning up the music to try to play him off the stage.