September 28, 2007

Newt's Running ... In 2012

My friend and all-around brilliant political analyst Patrick Ruffini deduces that Newt Gingrich has decided to enter the 2008 presidential race. He takes a look at Newt's pledge scheme and figures that Newt only needs to find 14,000 donors to contribute the maximum $2300 in order to reach the threshold of $30 million Newt demanded as a prerequisite to opening a nomination bid:

Newt would need only 14,000 of his fans to flood the site with $2,300 "pledges" in order to declare a broad public groundswell for his candidacy.

Sound far-fetched? You've seen what Ron Paul supporters do. You think Newt fans wouldn't do the same if they believed his entry into the race depended on it? And if Newt's people actually left the system this open -- i.e. didn't require you to leave a credit card that could then be charged -- I guarantee this hack would spread like wildfire on the blogs the minute the site went up.

Well, that's certainly one look at the situation. The pledge system seems rather non-committal, and if Newt could generate a Paul-like Internet movement, he could garner that much in meaningless pledges. Something tells me that Newt isn't looking for vaporware donations, however, and that he's serious about needing $30 million to catch up to Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, if not Fred Thompson. I doubt seriously that Newt wants to give up his current commitments just to wind up with a few million dollars in actual receipts and drafting in just above the second tier.

So what does that mean? Why make a demand for $30 million in pledged donations in just three weeks, an amount that no Republican candidate in the race has managed in an entire quarter? It sets a bar so high that it qualifies as highly improbable, if not impossible. It's designed to fail, and to let Newt get back to his American Solutions project.

And let's take a look at this project. Newt has made clear that he thinks the future is in bipartisan outreach. This Wiki-style grassroots movement is designed to facilitate that, and to generate policy on all levels -- local, state, and federal. If he has any amount of success in transforming policy through American Solutions and drafts both Republicans and Democrats into the system, he really could generate a new movement of pragmatism within American politics.

If he does that, Newt will exchange his limited constituency from a narrow philosophical band to a truly national organization that transcends partisan lines. He can choose then whether to play kingmaker or heir apparent. Newt will be able to rid himself of the baggage of the bitter partisanship of his Speakership and reinvent himself as a Teddy Roosevelt.

That will take some time to develop -- and that plays into this analysis. In talking with Newt yesterday, he made it clear that he thought the Republicans (and Democrats) had run politics off the rails. He claimed that GOP consultants were basically stupid (an analysis which Matt Lewis found some consultants in agreement). The only candidate for which Newt had any kind words was Hillary Clinton, calling her serious and formidable, if wrong on almost all policy.

I think Newt believes that Hillary will win the presidency in 2008. He's not looking to beat her; realistically, he knows he won't be given that chance in 2008. He's looking to build a constituency that will allow him to challenge Hillary in a re-election bid in 2012. That's the calculus I see at work, only at risk of changing if he actually finds a hard $30 million in a little more than a fortnight -- which would indicate a bigger constituency than he first thought. Either way, he's positioned himself well.


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Comments (24)

Posted by Christoph | September 28, 2007 6:53 PM

Totally, dude, me too.

I pledge I will not run for President of the United States (of which country I am not a citizen) unless I raise $30,000,000 in the next three weeks.

Captain, I'll trust you to handle the fundraising, take 10% off the top for your fee, and remit the remainder to my top secret Canadian bank account.

If we hit $30,000,000 I PROMISE I will declare my intention to run for President. If not, I'll return to do what I was doing and build up support for the future. Either way, I'm well positioned.

Posted by Captain Ed | September 28, 2007 7:14 PM

Ten percent? Puh-leeze. I don't get out of bed for less than 20%, babe. Have mine call yours. Ciao.

Posted by zdpl0a | September 28, 2007 7:48 PM

Newt will always have too much baggage... brilliant man, great ideas, bad life choices...

Then there is the Silky Pony - he is finally over and done... nothing worse than an elite, liberal racist.

Posted by patrick neid | September 28, 2007 7:53 PM

Excuse me, but Newt is turning into an egomaniacal idiot.

He has no chance-EVER-of being elected president(and he knows it). He was a backbencher with a lot of great ideas. He should of stayed there. The only person in America with higher negatives than Hillary is Newt. If he enters the race in 2008 it is solely to get Hillary elected in what would have been a very close election. For that he should be cast to the curb. He would enter into the zone of a repugnant reptilian creature who should be shunned not adored as some are doing now.

His current carping about the current crop of repubs is detestable.

Posted by goldwater | September 28, 2007 8:11 PM

I think Newt wants to Hillary's VP choice.

If he REALLY cared about the Republicans, he would not threaten to water down the GOP choices further.

Posted by firedup | September 28, 2007 8:18 PM

Newt has become an intellectual Ron Paul.
Whenever he gets MSM studio time, he blasts the current administration.
His newsletters are chock full of recycled concept from here and there, now and then.
He has NO follow-through.
And, yes, he adores the Clintons.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 28, 2007 8:22 PM

Actually, I have no idea what Newt's been doing these past few years to make a living. I presume, he works the "talk circuit." But to go from there to this discussion that he's "worth $30-million," is a bit of a stretch.

Let alone, that Tom DeLay waits. Ready to point out to anyone who listens, that Newt was a FAILURE, writ large, in the HOUSE.

As to this "SOLUTIONS" business, tacked to our government; where SMALLER IS BETTER, if you get my drift?

All I can say is the more you're seeing of Newt, now, the more than likely Fred Thompson's plunge "deep ended." Didn't make a dent.

And, there's an "empty space" ... for an empty suit.

One thing Newt's entry will do, though?

It will galvanize, like nothing else, Tom DeLay's "speak out" tour.

I may be the only one waiting to see that happen.

But why write off Tom DeLay? You think Ronnie Earle has a case?

You think Austin represents Texas?

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Posted by gaffo | September 28, 2007 9:06 PM

"I think Newt believes that Hillary will win the presidency in 2008. He's not looking to beat her; realistically, he knows he won't be given that chance in 2008. He's looking to build a constituency that will allow him to challenge Hillary in a re-election bid in 2012. "

yep. spot on captain.

with the arisocracy (and the sheople who enable them) one is half a dozen of the other's six.

Hillewt - or Nellery - it no longer makes a differnce. em eat cake Captain!..............

not that sheep even deserve that.

fuck the People - ignorant fucks, we get what we deserve, if we sell our Republic down the river for more Servivor - so be it.

no loss by then.

Posted by gaffo | September 28, 2007 9:16 PM

"He has no chance-EVER-of being elected president(and he knows it)."

no he doesn't know it - nor do I.

he is smart, and CAMERA friendly.

"The only person in America with higher negatives than Hillary is Newt."

about equal.

"He would enter into the zone of a repugnant reptilian creature who should be shunned not adored as some are doing now."

He is ADORED for the same reasons the Dembots adore Billary. There is some presence of character and a camera friendly willingness to engage and talk about positions.

that both are assholes, egomaniacs and destructive to our Republic is irrelivant. The Sheople have the final say.

Go Billary!! Go Herr Newt!!!


oh BTW Newt I fear more than the rest of the Republican dwarves.......he has carisma, and the others?

Newt is like Ralph Reed - a slick willy, both will be back in the near future gaining real power.

Fake fuck Romney will be the nominee (americans love fakes (probably because most of them are n their personal lives)) in 2008. Newt will be back in full force in 2012.

same with Billary - that fake bitch will win the nomination...and I will sit it out AGAIN - due to State Law forbiding any third party choice or write-ins.

Posted by flenser | September 28, 2007 9:29 PM

Who let the dogs out?

Posted by flenser | September 28, 2007 9:31 PM

bad life choices

Compared to the other people running, he looks pretty normal.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 28, 2007 9:35 PM

Well,Bush has kind words for Hillary, too.

As a matter of fact, at Drudge, today had a headline and a picture; with ... Bubba, Dubya, Hillary & Laura ... all four of them almost in a row. Bubba had the mike position. And, Bush and Laura were sitting in comfy chairs.

Geez. Such an odd way to earn a living.

Meanwhile, Newt can be "in." And, Newt can be "out." Fred's not as in as you thought he'd be at this time, ya know?

And, in the world of "what if" scenarios, the chips in Iraq, iran and syria ... come out way more positive that anyone gave Bush credit for?

Among the things I've read? I read a piece, today, that said the Israeli jets "were Martha" ... with George flying overhead.

Well, in NYC the George Washington Bridge got Martha, added, later. And, I thought I'd paint a similar picture.

But whether or not the Israeli jets flew in, with Americcan support jets on top of the formation, I do not know.

No one brought a camera.

We haven't got pictures.

And, syria's a bit shy on sharing "details."

Still, there's news to make.

And, then?

Sort'a like rolling a bowling pin down a room with lots of pins at the other end.

I don't think the Bonkeys have the creative writing skills to get them out of the hole, they've dug so far.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 28, 2007 10:00 PM


You're saying Newt has the "potential" of creating an "Internet Army."

Well, you said "like Ron Paul." But the lunatics who are going for Ron Paul, don't come out of the mainstream. He must'a developed that following some other way? Or, "elsewhere."

While HERE, which is an Internet Site; I don't see Newt galvanizing all that much attention. How many people do you think have been here?

Okay. About six more than the traffic you got for McCain.

Not. Going. Gangbusters.

Anyway, maybe, Tom DeLay comes by on occasion, just to amuse himself? Newt's not ready for "prime time," let alone a BIG GUN like DeLay, who will shred him to ribbons. For being a stink-o leader; where, in 1994, Newt was handed the Majority; and managed to tank the ship.

In the Navy, if your ship gets hurt, you can forget about other assignments.

Someday, ahead?

Newt's biggest mistake (besides claiming the government's knocking on your door with "solutions") ... is to notice that Bush has cards to play. And, he may manage to galvanize enough Americans, what with the successes we have been having ...

And, knocking the president, who probably won't leave iran in possession of nukes, is certainly a gamble!

And, you know what happens to gamblers, don't cha? More apt to lose their pants than to win at Roulette. Bush still has the house advantage.

Did you think it was Pelosi, with her rag?

See my rule about ships. The same is true when you take a brand new car out of the showroom, and exit through the plate glass windows.

Bush goes slow for a reason.

And, one of those reasons has to do with news cycles. And, the way the Internet has been clobbering the mainstream media.

Why give the media a "big story" ... when they're getting womped on the silly stuff?

Posted by brooklyn - hnav | September 28, 2007 11:05 PM

Newt is part of the problem...

It would be a pleasure to see him enter the race now, as it would be a major mistake on his part.

At least his ego would get a dose of reality, as he would lose big.

Did you see the NRO editorial?

It is funny, to think Newt will be able to reinvent himself.

He has greatly underestimated the Liberal Democrat hatred for all who do not follow their denial.

Mr. Gingrich probably realizes he cannot grow any further being a bigwig on the right, and has begun long ago to appease the left to gain more influence and popularity for himself.

It won't work.

Newt Gingrich is close to Nixon in the Liberal contempt.

What is stunning, for a Man who wishes to overcome the partisan clash, Mr. Gingrich has only added incredible amounts of vitriol and diatribe in regards to the illegal immigration issue, or even in regards to the battle in Iraq.

He is not a very admirable example of enlightened leadership.

Perhaps Newt's appeasing of Ms. Hillary Clinton is a sign he thinks she will win.

Imagine someone who thinks 'competent' and 'serious' are demonstrated by someone who called General Patraeus a liar in the Senate.

Instead of leading and fighting the misguided celebrity of the Clintons, Newt places his chips where he thinks they are safe.

This should be no surprise for Mr. Gingrich, who continues to prove he is in if for himself.

Deeply embarrassing...

Posted by Zelsdorf Ragshaft III | September 29, 2007 12:15 AM

Hillary Clinton is possibly the worst choice America has ever had for President. She brings with her a criminal organization that knows no bounds. Unlike Nixon, the Clintons break the law and people do the time for them. They are not held accountable by the press, thier party or the voters. No wonder they think they are entitled. She is as dirty as one can get and remain free. Our freedom is truly endangered by her running for our leader.

Posted by Rose | September 29, 2007 12:56 AM

The comments from those in personal contact with Newt, away from the camera, or people who can put him on camera, are totally consistent with everything I know of a certain type of cold-hearted adulterous men.

Who really knows if they are true or not.

Jane Wyman said that Ronald was one of the finest men she ever knew, and she voted for him in every election he ran in. She merely said she herself didn't appear to be wife material, and she was married before him, he was not married before her, and she married a few times after him, also. (Sometimes the most gracious of ladies, who simply haven't discovered what it takes to glue her own relationships together quit right, can feel so fatalistic about it, they sort of feel "marked" for disaster, this kind of remark doesn't mean they aren't good wives or very wonderful gracious ladies.)
There is no talk of scandal about her or the way she "came by" having so many marriages, we all know how hard Hollywood can be on personal relationships.
My point is, she is the one who left, and nothing makes it appear he was EVER adulterous, either to her or to Nancy. And he didn't meet Nancy until some few years after the divorce was final.
And he still retained Jane's respect for the rest of their lives.

This isn't said of Newt by his ex-wives.

And while it is hard to know, for those of us who have known cold-hearted adulterous men better than we care to, Newt is all too familiar in too many ways.

We'd expect him to charm those who are not interested in scratching the surface. His TV and Public personae is very good. (At least, unless you saw him personally laughing in Sean's face, in total agreement with a bewildered Alan Colmes!)

It's terribly shocking to discover that a loved one is married to such a cretan, and see and experience what such self-centered, egotistical men will do, and will figure is their due.

Those of you who seem to adore him so would be puking if you'd ever seen a character terribly reminescent of him do to your favorite people what Newt has done to his wives, though frankly, every single one of HIS wives should have seen THAT train wreck coming!

It seems that Newt has realized he'll NEVER carry the BASE of the GOP from the RIGHT, the Conservatives and the Christians - so he is going after Bill Clinton's fan base, who think his womanizing is some big hoot. The kind of people who get a giant thrill out of seeing the football team "with" the cheerleaders, and tell them to go for it and just have a great time.

That may be what you are looking for in a quarterback, but it isn't what I am looking for in a President. NOT of the United States of America.

Posted by Adjoran | September 29, 2007 2:36 AM

If Newt had half the fans with the dedication of the Paul-heads, he would already be in the race and be a serious candidate - unlike Dr. Paul.

I had two thoughts when I first heard about his $30 million challenge:

First, I thought, "Why doesn't he just say he needs $30 mil by November 1 or the Lord will call him home?"

Next, I thought, "Newt's probably being incessantly bugged by his most intense supporters to undertake a race he knows is futile. He's giving them an impossible challenge to get them off his back."

I have other thoughts, too - but this isn't that sort of blog . . .


Posted by quickjustice | September 29, 2007 6:20 AM

I saw Gingrich debate Mario Cuomo in Cooper Union here in NYC last spring. The substance was similar to what you've described, Ed. Gingrich blew Cuomo out of the water intellectually.

I think he's being respectful of Hillary because he believes she'll win this election, and he's worked with her on certain health care initiatives like electronic medical records. Hillary's no fool. I dislike the Clintons not because they're stupid, but because I perceive that they can be bought, and they try to buy the loyalty of others.

I agree with Gingrich that the GOP needs positive ideas, and a positive vision, to move America forward politically. We're stuck in polarized ideological positions right now that aren't delivering necessary governmental services to the American people. In short, government at all levels isn't working for the American people. As the ideologues fiddle, our governments, national and local, burn.

I'd call Gingrich's position a neo-liberal one. That is, the purpose of government programs isn't to provide political hacks with jobs, or to provide lazy Americans with an excuse for not working, but to create infrastructure and opportunity for the private sector.

With the exception of Mitt Romney, I'm not aware that any major candidate for President has a pristine personal life. I'm not going to hold Gingrich alone to a different standard.

Posted by Brad S | September 29, 2007 7:38 AM

"We're stuck in polarized ideological positions right now that aren't delivering necessary governmental services to the American people. In short, government at all levels isn't working for the American people. As the ideologues fiddle, our governments, national and local, burn."

Outside of Cat-5 Levees for New Orleans (And the Corps of Engineers is smart in being reticent about providing them), what necessary services are the American people not receiving? And if you say "Universal Healthcare," let's just say you'll receive that at the same time people will be able to invest part of their Social Security money in private funds:)

As far as Newt goes, while his "American Solutions" plan may be laudable, he may soon find out that he will not be able to drive the agenda for a minority GOP in a way that, say, a Michelle Malkin will.

Posted by ajacksonian | September 29, 2007 8:54 AM

"Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher."
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense

I do appreciate what Mr. Gingrich is trying to do, he is addressing not a 'bipartisan' approach, but an outreach program beyond partisanship. One of the fundamental problems any democracy has is in voter participation and understanding their role in governing the Nation. Representative democracy requires that people do participate and vote in the system. The legitimacy is not in the winning of the election, but in the majoritarian representation of the wishes of the population of a whole.

The Constitution was deftly made to have counter-majoritarian tendancies via the Senate and counter-minoritarian tendancies via the House. Additional restrictions via the State government support by appointment of Senators and collection of taxes assured that there was also an accountability factor via the representation and purse-strings that were held by the States. To have those work, individuals actually had to be interested in their local politics to exercise personal voice in the House and collective voice in the Senate.

That structure is gone today, and one long-term result, amongst many, is the feeling by the people, that voting for distant, federal government to cure their ills is not only not effective but counter-productive. The two parties have turned into purely partisan organizations that have realized that in segmenting the population and going for 'niche marketing' they might be able to craft majorities, but only to be beholden to those niches and segments and have no outlook for the Nation as a whole. Party platforms stopped being talked about a number of election cycles ago as they no longer even represent what individuals run on for their parties. That means there is no common, unifying concept to the two parties, save winning elections for individuals beholden to special interests.

Over time that has disenchanted the general population and that disaffection has been clearly seen election after election by fewer and fewer people voting. In the off-year election cycles *only* for House and 1/3 of the Senate, the 50% turnout rate was last seen in 1970. In Presidential elections, turnout has been below 60% since 1976 with only 1992 going slightly above that, and the overall trend has been downwards. With a generally lack-luster field this year, a reversion to normal voting trends can be expected as was seen in 1988 and 1996 - uninteresting candidates do not get folks out to vote.

To those putting forward that only those 'interested' are voting, the problem is that marginal, ideologically driven interest is, apparently, not approved of by an overwhelming plurality of the Nation. An ideological platform that actually interested voters would, indeed, get them out to vote... by not demonstrating that in raw numbers for turnout, the result is not even large plurality as the 'winners'. This is not a prescription for sustained democracy, as small pluralities of ideologically driven candidates tend to further marginalize government to the needs of that ideology, further disenchant the population and corrode the structures meant to safeguard people from the government.

Thomas Paine wrote well in putting forward that government is a necessary evil undertaken to protect society. The moment one thinks that government should dictate *to* society and remove choices from individuals, then one is no longer living in a safeguarded democracy, but in a system edging towards despotism and tyranny. History has a number of examples of that in large Nations and small during the 20th century - where democracy failed by ideologically driven groups and parties attempting to dictate to people what they are to do in their lives.

Mr. Gingrich is trying to reach beyond that marginalization by both parties and their committed ideologues. I doubt that the monied interests in either party will give him much space to operate, and so he has to head to the one space that they have been unable to address: the disaffected, uninterested and those just fed up with the two party system.

Perhaps we will get the answer to the survivability of democracy in America with this, as we are well on the path to losing it now.

Posted by ERNurse | September 29, 2007 10:39 AM

Ajacksonian, your post was thought-provoking and fascinating. I will conduct further research regarding Mr. Gingrich's position.

That said, at this point I believe that Mr. Gingrich is wrong about his prognostication of Hillary's victory in 2008, for two reasons: Her last name, and the baggage she drags with her.

Even if she wins the Democratic Party nomination, Hillary Clinton will not win the election. Her name, and the American weariness and fear of both her and her husband, will be sufficient to cause Americans to vote for the alternative- with the proviso that the Republicans pull their heads out and nominate a RINO candidate.

Hillary Clinton has out-connived herself. More of her connivances will inevitably surface courtesy of the media, because she has flip-flopped herself out of the graces of same.

Posted by kreiz | September 29, 2007 10:57 AM

However he tries to remake himself, the Newt has too much baggage from the 90s. I don't see him recovering from that. He's much better off as a one-man walking, talking think tank.

Posted by quickjustice | September 29, 2007 12:09 PM


A couple of examples:

1. Gingrich points out that the U.S. government can't find 12 million illegal aliens, but that Fed Ex could deliver packages to all of them-- literally overnight. The government lacks any database to keep track of foreign visitors, legal or illegal, but the private sector has no problem with far larger logistical problems.

2. The N.Y. Times says that waste, fraud, and abuse in N.Y.'s Medicaid program now is close to 40% of 44 billion per year, yet N.Y. State's government is unable to clean up the mess. Billions of dollars are wasted that could be educating kids, or refunded to taxpayers.

The problem is universal. Government isn't doing its job effectively. And our elected officials either have no interest in solving the terrible problems, or are hamstrung by petty partisan bickering. I've already mentioned Charles Murray as an important thinker on how to get the welfare bureaucracy under control. I'll also mention Amity Shlaes's new book, "The Forgotten Man", which documents the failure of the New Deal to reduce unemployment during the Great Depression. Yet the New Deal is the model for all government welfare programs, including Hillary Clinton's.

Posted by Brad S | September 30, 2007 10:46 AM


1. So it's a proper function/service of the Federal Governement to create a system (or usurp FedEx's system) that helps track, locate and hound out 12 million illegals (note I did not say forcibly deport) just because they were defined as "illegal" by Congress? You must have some very interesting viewpoints about privacy issues, I'm sure.

2. Leave aside the obvious fact that one man's "waste/fraud/abuse" is another man's legally-obtained livelihood: Don't you think that the Wal-Mart $4 drug plan and other plans (soon to include other medical devices) will put pressure to bear on that "waste/fraud/abuse?" Wal-Mart's already stated that consumers have save $600 million in just the first year on the plan, on just the limited number of drugs that are covered.

3. Amity Shlaes' book is a nice set of historical data points that are mainly geared to a financial world audience. It has little or no bearing on the real world, especially on a real world that is as tolerant of demagoguery as this one is.

4. Anyone who approving cites Charles Murray as an "important thinker" should quickly realize that he is a big part of the reason why the GOP gets about 11% of the African-American vote.

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