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Newt’s Pointless Campaign

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.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    In this regard, the latest candidate to undergo a mini surge is none other then former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who may be even whacker then Michele Bachmann, if that’s possible. Unlike Gingrich, who is a phony born again, Santorum is the real thing who probably believes the crazyness in his rhetoric. As I understand it, Sandorum has not only endorsed anti-abortion views, reinstating DADT, a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage and re-institution of anti-sodomy laws, but has appeared to back prohibitions on contraception and the banning of in-vitro fertilization. His anti-science views such as evolution and global warming denial appear to be almost mild compared to his other insanity.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/santorum-hopes-for-breakout-in-iowa-caucuses/2011/12/29/gIQAXNvKRP_story.html

  2. says

    Not sure I fully agree. Newt spent a good deal of time back in 2007 resurrecting his image amongst the religious right in preparation for a tilt at the presidency, though he eventually declined to enter the fray.

    I think he always has and always will harbor the belief that he would be the greatest modern times American president. It’s certainly possible that he didn’t think he had much of a chance when he decided to run this time around, so didn’t put as much effort into it as he could, but then I suspect that his hubris is great enough to believe that he could wrest the nomination for himself by the sheer force of his intellect and personality — especially when he found himself at the top of the heap. I don’t think he was lying when he claimed that he had the nomination pretty much wrapped up a few weeks ago.

  3. dingojack says

    And remember that Newt took a vacation in Greece in the heat of the campaign… ”
    Perhaps The Amphibian wanted to see what the American economy would look like at the end of a Gingrich Presidency.
    ;) Dingo

  4. raven says

    Unlike Gingrich, who is a phony born again, Santorum is the real thing who probably believes the crazyness in his rhetoric.

    Not quite. Satanorum is a Catholic.

    He is also a fundie though. You can be a fundie and a Catholic although there aren’t very many of those.

    That will matter to the True Xian Protestant fundies. But it is hard to say how many there are. A lot of fundie xianity just seems to be Right Wing extremist politics with a few god stickers stuck on.

    Or it can give them another opportunity to do their third sacrament, hypocrisy.

  5. raven says

    Still doesn’t look the the fundie xians are all that numerous or powerful. Their leading three candidates are:

    1. Romney a Mormon nonxian.

    2. Newt, an apostate, a Catholic, and a toad.

    3. Santorum, a Catholic.

    It’s looking a lot like, if you are a fundie, you can’t think fast or well. You end up with candidates like Bachmann, Palin, and Perry that seem really dumb.

  6. Trebuchet says

    …in reality he was just the latest not-Romney to get his turn in the dunk tank…

    I have to confess my eye originally scanned the last two words as “drunk tank”. Kind of works for me!

    I’d think being Catholic or Mormon, i.e. “not a real Christian” might cost a few fundy votes but not be a major detriment in the general election. Being a raving fundy like Bachmann may help in the caucuses, probably not so much in the primaries which have a much broader participation, and not at all in the general election.

  7. raven says

    in the Episcopal Church rose from 94 to 3482, or 20 percent of clergy. …

    Overall, 10% of Protestant ministers are female. Episcopals are 20%. IIRC, a few other mainline churches are approaching 30%.

  8. acroyear says

    Odd you haven’t mentioned Santorum in a while, who according to NBC and other outlets, has been getting a new re-surge (again, as the last available not-Romney).

    But of course, that’s just a theory…

  9. says

    Didn’t Gingrich not even make it onto the Virginia ballot? Either he’s incredibly inept, or your theory is correct, Ed, and he never really intended to be president. Perhaps the Virginia screw up was done on purpose to give him an excuse for losing.

  10. says

    I’m starting to wonder if the Republicans are going to have a candidate at all. After all the not-Romneys get eliminated, how do we know Romney won’t flee the country or something?

  11. exdrone says

    Just as the recent releases of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America films are quietly leading up to an Avengers movie. The periodic front-running of the various candidates is a covert plan to showcase them in order to establish a superhero cabinet – the Ultraconservative League of America.

  12. says

    Either he’s incredibly inept, or your theory is correct, Ed, and he never really intended to be president

    Newt’s so in love with himself, he probably thought he wouldn’t have to work for the nomination because his sheer awesomeness would get people to come flocking to him.

  13. says

    “Not sure I fully agree. Newt spent a good deal of time back in 2007 resurrecting his image amongst the religious right in preparation for”—another go at the “love offering”.

    Newt is about collectin’ the Benjamins for Newt.

  14. harold says

    Perhaps The Amphibian wanted to see what the American economy would look like at the end of a Gingrich Presidency.

    Bad choice then.

    Not to minimize the real problems facing the Greeks, but they’ll probably continue to enjoy a higher life expectancy, far lower crime/incarceration rate, lower obesity rate, far less unequal wealth distribution, etc, than Americans have right now, even during economic hard times.

    Meanwhile, if any of the nutjobs is elected and actually enforces the loony right wing economics they claim to support, the US can expect its already dismal statistics on health, crime, incarceration, education, wealth distribution, obesity, and almost all other quality of life statistics, to sink even more, both absolutely, and in comparison to other developed nations.

    (In fact, the “developed” status of the US is already tenuous – in terms of quality of life statistics, we rank with tenuous, struggling economies in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, not with the rest of the Anglosphere, Western Europe, or developed Asia. Entirely self-inflicted – in 1970 the US was near the top on quality of life statistics.)

    Prediction – some right wing troll may have a cognitive dissonance induced seizure brought on by reading that last paragraph, and begin compulsively barking insults.

  15. Midnight Rambler says

    My impression is that he started out as a non-serious candidate, and his surge in the polls made him think he could actually win. You could see a change in his rhetoric and campaign style when his numbers started to climb. But since he hadn’t built up any campaign structure or done any fundraising, he had no way of taking advantage of it, and got wiped out by the backlash. His ad buy is so small because he simply doesn’t have the money.

  16. organon says

    It would seem that his running served multiple purposes. He served the cause of many by voicing the things he has. He was able to do damage without actually becoming president, and it may serve him in having the party feel obligated to him. I’ve heard republicans rant about how much they hope he’s given a role in whichever administration, with there seeming to be strong feelings of sympathy for him. He appears to them a good soldier in fighting for their view of justice and the american way. No doubt he will profit in multiple ways. Personally, I think he liked the idea of being president, running served purposes for him regardless of whether he stood a chance of winning, and, I have to agree, his sudden rise in popularity took him by surprise as much as it did anyone else.

  17. John Phillips, FCD says

    I think Rachel Maddow’s take on Herman Cain’s bid being performance art with the advantage that it would boost his lecture earnigs post campaign can also be applied to Gingrich, if not more so.

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