Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 6, 2009

GINGRICH EYEING PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN?.... This would offer all kinds of entertaining possibilities, but I don't see it happening.

Newt Gingrich, the conservative former Speaker of the House, didn't rule it out tonight in Ashland, before he was to address a packed house of 650-plus at Randolph-Macon College.

"Callista and I will look seriously and we'll probably get our family totally engaged, including our two grandchildren, probably in January, 2011, Gingrich told reporters during a sit-down interview before last night's speech.

"We'll look seriously at whether or not we think it's necessary to do it. And if we think it's necessary we'll probably do it. And if it isn't necessary we probably won't do it."

Here's the thing: I don't believe him. I don't think he has any intention of running for president, in 2012 or any other cycle, and I'm fairly certain Gingrich knows he could never win a national election.

We've been through this a few times. Gingrich was "supposed" to run in 1996. And 2000. On Sept. 27, 2007, the former House Speaker told supporters that he'd run for president if they pledged $30 million over a three-week period. Just 48 hours later, Gingrich scrapped the whole idea. This 2012 talk is more of the same.

He does this, of course, because he enjoys the attention, and believes his bizarre ideas will carry more weight if reporters perceive him as a likely presidential candidate. (Gingrich can also charge more on the lecture circuit if people think he might run.)

The talk and associated speculation is probably pointless. Newt Gingrich was thrown out of Congress by his own Republican caucus. His claim to fame is having shut down the government (twice). He's widely unpopular with the electorate, embraces a strange far-right agenda, and has a rather humiliating personal life. Despite rumors of intellectual prowess, Gingrich's "big ideas" include giving laptops to the homeless, touting the benefits of an old-school model of orphanages, and criticizing the notion of women serving in combat roles because "males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes."

Newt Gingrich is about as credible a presidential aspirant as I am.

Steve Benen 12:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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Comments

So, Newt, how's the wife?

Posted by: Andy on March 6, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

A Newt Gingrich candidacy would quickly show just how shallow his support in the GOP really is and render him totally irrelevant, which is why he will never run. He needs the attention too much to have all of that exposed.

Posted by: mbk114 on March 6, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why would he be sitting down with Callista? She would certainly be replaced before any ren.

Posted by: martin on March 6, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Don't rule yourself out so quickly. History demonstrates that one of the most important factors influencing the public perception of electability has been whether or not the candidate grew up in a blog cabin.

Posted by: sleepy_commentator on March 6, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Our new president has been in office a month and we are already talking presidental campaigns...this is probably the #1 problem with this country; we serious need campaign reform.

Posted by: antiquelt on March 6, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

You buried the lede in your last sentence: "BLOGGER BENEN WEIGHING RUN FOR WHITE HOUSE."

Posted by: Karl Weber on March 6, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,
We'll need guys like you in 2016.

Posted by: CH on March 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you're much more credible as a candidate.

Which is why, paradoxically, I expect Gingrich will run.

Posted by: danimal on March 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

This blog is almost wholly devoted to bashing Republicans. It's bizarre. You won! Move on!

It really speaks to lack of confidence in, and insecurity about the new Administration's actions.

Posted by: xx on March 6, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen for President! (2016)

Oh, and xx, it would be easy to move on if Republicans would get out of the way.

Posted by: Jeff Wenker on March 6, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Why, Steve, don't you remember the below-the-horizon push for you to be elected last year?

Benen for President

I'd vote for you. :)

Posted by: Michael W on March 6, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Real men hunt giraffes - Hmmm, but, I thought, when Newt had the countless opportunities to serve his nation between '61 and '71, Newt opted to go to the Belgian Congo and hunt centipedes. Perhaps he thought his time spent as a military brat concluded his National Service.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 6, 2009 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

"This blog is almost wholly devoted to bashing Republicans. It's bizarre. You won! Move on!

It really speaks to lack of confidence in, and insecurity about the new Administration's actions."

segues nicely into Steve's run for the presidency, doesn't it, xx?

Posted by: in vino veritas on March 6, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

What wife is he on now? I lost track after he became completely irrelevant.
I've never seen a political party with such a gaping power vacuum and no prospects on the horizon. None of the Repubs in the senate seem interested, and the likely governors--Palin, Pawlenty, and Jindal--would be eaten alive by Obama unless the economy is even worse in four years than it is now. Which I guess is why so many of them are hoping for the country to fail.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 6, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

After Sarah Palin, you're ruling anyone out!!

Posted by: Diningwith on March 6, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I will vote for you because I know that once you get it, you will invest the necessary time and funds in research to finally bring us flying cars, robot servants and ray guns.

Posted by: Morbo on March 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

It really speaks to lack of confidence in, and insecurity about the new Administration's actions.

You must not know how to read an opinion poll, all but the wingnut Repubs are confident. Although the trainwreck of what's left of the GOP is an obstruction that must be worked around in order to make even better progress. And I definitely do not have confidence in Repubs acting in good faith, or showing any sense whatsoever.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 6, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK
Gingrich's "big ideas" include giving laptops to the homeless, touting the benefits of an old-school model of orphanages, and criticizing the notion of women serving in combat roles because "males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes."
Gingrich also called Democrats "the enemy of normal Americans" and blamed Susan Smith's drowning her two children on LBJ's Great Society. Both statements put him beyond redemption as far as I am concerned. Posted by: navamske on March 6, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

If there is one thing I know - it is that Republicans absolutely don't care if their candidates have a sordid history. They only care if somebody else has one (J-walking will do just fine to run them into the ground).

So, Newt could certainly run and be a serious Republican candidate - even if he is PUBLICLY cheating on wife #3. THey won't care!

Posted by: Mark-NC on March 6, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

As long as he has influence with the corporate media he will assume he has influence with the public. Not only does his posturing improve his income, but I'm guessing that he is once again testing the waters. I suspect Cheney's style of Vice looks far better to Newt than he ever thought it could.

Posted by: thebewilderness on March 6, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Morbo (@1:23 PM), there have been flying car prototypes around since the sixties. The latest incarnation looks pretty good, but the cost is currently prohibitive.

World’s first flying car prepares for take-off

Posted by: Michael W on March 6, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Newtie has had more comeback tours than Cher.

He and Cher both remind me of that old country western song: "Honey, How Can I Miss You When You Won't Ever Go Away."

Posted by: Mandy Cat on March 6, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

One day soon, Gingrich will be found bathing nude in a Las Vegas fountain. He will go quietly for graham crackers.

Posted by: Viceroy Matt on March 6, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

hey xx, you know the awesome thing about the internet? If you don't like what's being discussed on one website, there a near-infinite amount of others to visit, until you find one that doesn't make you tinkle your delicate little lace panties in fear. Heck, you can start your OWN website if you want & talk about whatever your precious sensitive little blood-pumper desires. So don't ball up your soft doughy fists in frustration that a progressive website talks about the douche moves the minority party still engages in, feel free to contribute or find a website that talks about what you want to talk about - your junior high poetry, who's your favorite Jonas Brother, why chunky peanut butter totally rules over smooth, training bras that chafe the least, how to properly skin the victims in your basement to make the best human skin-suit, like, evah, etc.

It's about as nice a way to say "f*** off" as I can express.

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 6, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Re Newt: nobody cares, except for the New York Times magazine and the rest of the nattering media.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on March 6, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"I will vote for you because I know that once you get it, you will invest the necessary time and funds in research to finally bring us flying cars, robot servants and ray guns." - Morbo

I second that. And I will co-sponsor a constitutional amendment that says I can marry my robot servant, too. As long as we have shared interests and stuff. You know, like bird watching. Nothing kinky. ;)

Posted by: Curmudgeon on March 6, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Since he brought up the grandchildren, what does he mean by "our grandchildren"? He hasn't been married to her long enough for grandchildren -- do they even have any children together?

So are they hers from a previous marriage? His from a dumped wife?

Family values inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on March 6, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Don't sell yourself short, Steve. You're much more credible than the Newt.

Posted by: bdop4 on March 6, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I took a bit of grief from some of my buddies because I questioned people supporting Ralph Nader running when he was (I believe) 74 years old. Perhaps I'm a bit ageist, but I remember the last years Reagan was in office, the year that Bob Dole ran and John McCain this last year and think there really ought to be an upper age when folks can be the president. At 69, Newt's just about there. Up until around 65 or 70, depending on the individual, folks can do it, but I really don't trust anyone past 70 to run for president.

Posted by: Rich2506 on March 6, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Callista? Is she #4? I've lost count

Posted by: CDW on March 6, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

>Uh, Morbo (@1:23 PM), there have been flying car prototypes around since the sixties. The latest incarnation looks pretty good, but the cost is currently prohibitive.

Prototypes schmototypes! I want a flying car in every garage and a robo-chicken in every pot -- and Steve is the man to bring them to us!

Posted by: Morbo on March 6, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Morbo @2:43 PM I want a flying car in every garage

But what about those poor air traffic controlers? What kind of licensing would be involved? Just think about the poor driver's ed teachers who'd have to teach both land and air based defensive driving!! The horror! ;)

Posted by: Michael W on March 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

oh slappy, that was the best laugh i had all day. i would have just told him to fuck off. way to go!

Posted by: just bill on March 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's interesting to consider the discussion that Newt and Callista might have. Like the fact that if he runs for president, people are going to be talking about how they met, and the fact that while Newt Gingrich was railing on national TV about the horrors of the Clinton infidelity, he was getting it on with a woman not his wife, while he was married, and that he later married that mistress, who is none other than the Callista he's going to have this serious discussion with.

Even if the press lays off, the topic will keep coming up, every time some small-town TV reporter innocently asks "how'd you too meet?".

Posted by: Joe Buck on March 6, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for nuthin' Steve, now I'll be up all night with these wild fantasies - Newt, Sarah and Mittens Kickin the Crap out of each other in a primary battle unlike anything we have ever witnessed in the history of the Universe.

If Only...

Posted by: bcinaz on March 6, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don't think I don't know what you're hinting "Newt Gingrich is about as credible a presidential aspirant as I am." You want me to set up www.draftstevebenen.com, but I'm not going to do that unless and until you claim to be as credible a presidential candidate as Sarah Palin !

On the other hand, here in comments, Go Steve Go it's not to soon to start campaigning for the 2016 election.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 6, 2009 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Just think about the poor driver's ed teachers who'd have to teach both land and air based defensive driving!! The horror!"

How many dimensions would be involved in the 3 point turn for the driver's test? What hand signals would be used to indicate a desire to go up or down? There may be a lot more to this flying car thing than meets the eye.

Posted by: GregL on March 7, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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