With Newt Gingrich’s recent surge in the polls, already flagging, a lot of people began to wonder whether he could actually win the nomination. But in reality he was just the latest not-Romney to get his turn in the dunk tank — and quite frankly, I don’t think he ever had any intention of being a serious contender for the presidency.
Just this week, Newt’s super PAC finally started running a TV commercial in Iowa, but it was only a $250,000 ad buy. That is dwarfed by the ads run by his opponents by a huge margin. He simply doesn’t have the money, and that little surge in the polls did little to boost his bank account relative to his opponents. Romney and Perry, in particular, have been hammering the airwaves with anti-Newt ads. And as Politico notes, a bus tour leading up to the Iowa vote keeps shrinking, with only half the appearances that were initially claimed by the campaign actually happening.
And remember that Newt took a vacation in Greece in the heat of the campaign, prompting people to wonder if he ever really intended to mount a serious campaign. That vacation led to the resignation of several top staffers, who doubted his commitment to the campaign, but he never really had the campaign infrastructure necessary to be a serious candidate in the first place.
So did he ever really think he had even a remote shot at the nomination, or was his really just a way to complete his resurrection from disgraced former pol to Republican elder statesman and to boost his various
cons organizations? I think the latter is likely true. Much like Herman Cain, what he really had — and still has — is the veneer of a campaign, a shell of a campaign with almost nothing on the inside. It was just enough to get him on TV and get him taken seriously by Fox News but not enough to give him a real shot at getting the nomination.
And for both Cain and Gingrich, their temporary surge surprised them even more than it surprised everyone else. Once they got their little surges in the polls, they had to actually go through the motions and act like they wanted it. And maybe they did, but I strongly suspect that they only really ran to get them into the spotlight for a while and boost their post-campaign financial possibilities.