Michelle Cottle speculates on what it would take to get Newt to drop out of the race (if you’re Santorum) or to stay in it (if you’re Romney). At this point, she says, he’s only still in the race “because he’s drunk on a cocktail of spite, narcissism, and general mischief.” But he may also be looking to secure some promises from the other two:
Despite Gingrich’s solid bargaining position, however, things get sticky when you start trying to envision what carrots someone could realistically offer the former speaker to cede (or not to cede) the field.
A cabinet post? Don’t bet on it. Outside conservative circles, Gingrich remains more toxic than a poison-dart frog. So with all due respect to the cabinet-stacking fantasies of the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land, who has suggested Romney could win conservative love by sending Gingrich to the United Nations, any whiff that Newt was being considered for a prominent appointment would risk sending independents and moderates stampeding toward Obama.
What about paying off Gingrich’s campaign debt? This will, of course, need to happen. The candidate already owes some staffers in the solid five figures. Romney is obviously better equipped to handle this burden than is Santorum. Then again, who’s to say what other party leaders might be inclined—and in a position—to put a thumb on the other side of the scale? All things considered, such a mundane offer doesn’t seem likely to sway Gingrich much either way.
Indeed, with a larger-than-life character like Newt, we may need to get more creative here. What, besides money and acclaim, do we know sends a thrill up the former speaker’s leg?
Zoos. Gingrich’s enthusiasm for wildlife is one of his more endearing traits. Maybe Santorum should promise to name him head of the national zoo. Alternatively, Romney could offer to buy him his own wildlife preserve.
Or dinosaurs. Of course Gingrich loves them. What overgrown kid doesn’t? Why not let this self-proclaimed “amateur paleontologist” oversee the dino hall at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History? Then there’s Civil War fiction. Gingrich has coauthored four novels about the North-South clash. Maybe it’s time some rich Hollywood conservative optioned a couple, perhaps even give Newt a bit part. Word on the street is that Mel Gibson is fresh out of anger management and ready for a new start.
Or how about offering the renowned space nut a shot at running NASA? This, to me, seems by far the most promising option. Post shuttle program, the agency hasn’t had much exciting to do, and planning moon colonies could help keep Newt contented and out of trouble.
I think they should just name him Ambassador to Crazy Town.