June 4, 2007

Is It Newt's Time Yet?

Newt Gingrich hinted in even stronger terms this weekend that he will run for President. He plans to spend the summer lecturing, and after a workshop series in late September will make his decision, he told Fox News:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) fueled further speculation Sunday about entering the Republican race for president by taking shots at the Bush administration.

“The government is not functioning,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “It’s not getting the job done, and Republicans need to confront this reality.”

The face of Republican opposition to President Clinton’s administration, Gingrich said he will hold workshops on Sept. 27 and 29 to discuss “fundamental change.” He hinted he will make a decision about running after the workshops.

Asked about his favorites in the GOP race, Gingrich said Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and prospective candidate Fred Thompson each “bring their unique strengths." But they need to do more work to keep the attention of conservative voters, he added.

“We need to have some very bold proposals for fundamental change,” Gingrich said. “So far, I don't see them.”

No one really doubts that Newt will run for President this cycle. He has allowed the media to play footsie with him for too long this cycle to be simply yanking their chain. After spending more than a decade as an outsider, playing analyst, he wants to be back in the action again, which is why he has raised his public profile this year.

The question will be whether he can gather enough momentum to matter when he does jump into the race. After all, Newt has never run for an office on a level above the House. He has only needed to build a constituency within a Congressional district; he has not even won a statewide office. That's a problem with Representatives in general who run for the Presidency, but the 12-year gap in service compounds that problem with Newt.

Given the circumstances of his departure from Congress, Newt will have a tough time building a case against the current set of candidates and the addition of Fred Thompson. Most people consider Newt a philosopher than a candidate, the kind of man who can influence politics by his ideas rather than his direct participation. Even at the height of his power, he left his caucus so discouraged that they attempted to replace him as speaker (1997), an effort that failed only when the plotters disagreed on his replacement. (Those plotters included John Boehner, Dick Armey, and Tom DeLay.)

Gingrich has plenty of time to muse on these issues, since he has given himself four months before announcing his effort. In another presidential cycle, that may not have been a problem. However, his entry into the race will come very late in this primary campaign, and he may find it difficult to attract staff and backers from established campaigns. Given his high negatives -- he has the highest among potential GOP candidates, and almost as high as Hillary Clinton -- staffers attached to competitive campaigns won't be anxious to drop their current job and flock to Newt's banner.

Time will tell. In this case, it may have already run out.


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Most people consider Newt a philosopher than a candidate, the kind of man who can influence politics by his ideas rather than his direct participation. Ed Morrissey, Captain’s Quarters ... [Read More]

Comments (10)

Posted by lgm | June 4, 2007 8:12 AM

The sleeze factor also works against Gingrich. He is associated with the Republican takeover of the House, which set new ethical lows even compared to the Democrats they replaced. There also is the small fact that he was recorded in the act of committing a felony, though charges could not be filed because the recording was illegal.

Thompson and McCain seem better positioned ethically. Giuliani, fuggetaboutit.

Posted by Bachbone | June 4, 2007 9:02 AM

"...McCain...better positioned ethically"? You've forgotten he was a member of "The Keating Five," and that he lied about having paid a blogger to bash opponents. No matter who the Democrats run, McCain will never get my vote. Nor will any RINO.

Posted by Fritz | June 4, 2007 9:04 AM

If Newt can't even beat John Kerry in a debate on global warming, what chance does he have with the big boys and girl?

Posted by richard mcenroe | June 4, 2007 9:10 AM

It will never be Newt's time.

Posted by Maetenloch | June 4, 2007 10:06 AM

Newt is brilliant and a great speaker, but he's funny looking, has a high voice, questionable events in his past, and has been around for longer than the 'presidential freshness period' of 15 years. He will never be president.

Posted by Jeanette | June 4, 2007 10:30 AM

Newt has too much baggage and time away from day to day politics to be considered a serious candidate.

He does have a lot of good ideas, though, and would serve his party better if he were to hook up with the candidate he best identifies with and be a consultant to him.

Posted by james23 | June 4, 2007 10:49 AM

I do agree that Newt has no real shot at being President, but I want him in the race to force the others to offer their own ideas and put some distance between themselves and President Bush.

And I think that Newt is absolutely right about this:
“The government is not functioning,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “It’s not getting the job done, and Republicans need to confront this reality.”

Republicans ignore that reality at their peril.

Posted by KendraWilder | June 4, 2007 2:21 PM

Newt is too enamored with the "Washington DC Insider" scene, for my liking. Too many times he's schmoozed with Democrat Insiders and acted as if he were a wannabe of the highest order. It's something that, IMHO, cannot be tossed off as just his way of "reaching across the aisle".

We need people in Washington who have an anti-Inside the Beltway mentality who won't get caught up in the same old gaming of the system we've seen too much of in the past 17 years.

Washington is not a country club for an elite group of insiders by invitation only. It is the seat of our federal government, and we need to vote people in there who are going have respect and appreciation for the fact that We the People thought they possessed the qualities and principles necessary to take the job seriously.

Posted by Lokki | June 4, 2007 7:30 PM

It will never be Newt's time. He's a great bombthrower who generates discussion, but a lousy leader.

The best thing he could do for Republicans is go home and write more Historical Fiction.

Posted by Karen [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 4, 2007 11:28 PM

I would like Newt to be a political strategist for the national election to get Congress back. He did it once, he could do it again. But the way to do it is to NOT head up the ticket. Even against Hillary, his negatives are just too much. Too bad, he has a brilliant mind and he wants what is best for our country.