Political Animal


January 30, 2012 8:57 AM Bottom Falls Out for Newt

By Ed Kilgore

As tomorrow’s Florida primary grows imminent, Newt Gingrich’s luck seems finally to have run out. Every available bit of polling data shows a strong trend in favor of Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State. Nate Silver’s fairly conservative projections now indicate a 13-point win for Romney.

Aside from Gingrich’s bad debate performances in Florida, which undermined the very rationale of his candidacy, and the pounding he’s been getting from conservative opinion-leaders as well as “Republican Establishment” types, his financial disadvantage is worse than was originally advertised. An estimate widely circulated over the weekend suggests that Team Gingrich has invested a total of $3.3 million in Florida ads (well short of the $6 million that Super-PAC Winning Our Future earlier claimed it had bought) through tomorrow, as compared to well over $15 million for Mitt and friends.

The one bright spot for Gingrich over the weekend was a late endorsement from Herman Cain (which probably surprised those who misunderstood Cain’s 2008 endorsement of then-movement-conservative-candidate Mitt Romney as indicating a preference for Mitt this year). Apart from giving late-night comics a lot of cheap material about the solidarity of hound dogs on the campaign trail, the endorsement probably just means that if Newt surives until the March 6 Georgia primary, a loss to Romney there really could mean the end.

The most amusing meme of the weekend was the spate of stories questioning exactly how angry or crazy Newt actually is, given his predictable promise to stay in the race for months and months. I dunno: he has a long history of saying irresponsible things and then turning to the nearest observer—often one of the “liberal media” people he has just attacked—to ask how well he pulled it off. He easily could vow to plunge the Republican Party to the bottom of hell before giving up—and then the next minute endorse Mitt and head off with Callista for another Mediterranean cruise.

So whatever dramatics Gingrich stages today or tomorrow in Florida, or tomorrow night when he gets crushed, it’s worth remembering the man thinks he’s Winston Churchill, and will eventually be called to lead America even if he’s as old as Ron Paul. In the mean time, there is money to be made.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Mitt's Magic Underpants on January 30, 2012 9:08 AM:

    Money talks, beee-atches!

  • Hedda Peraz on January 30, 2012 9:15 AM:

    The Presidential campaign ends, the book tour continues. . .

  • berttheclock on January 30, 2012 9:17 AM:

    Wow! An endorsement from Cain. Who is next? Dirk Diggler?

  • T2 on January 30, 2012 9:22 AM:

    more like "bottom falls out for Tea Party"......welcome to the big leagues you Baggers. You've been used - and when no longer needed, discarded like a used up tea bag. But don't worry, the GOP Big Wheels will come back when they need some dirty work done.

  • Danp on January 30, 2012 9:27 AM:

    The amazing thing (if you believe the polls) is that after about 20 debates, the voters of Florida are so fickle (read: uninformed) that they can move the polls 30% in a week and then back again. This may be the end of Newt, but only until the next Mitt gaffe.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on January 30, 2012 9:30 AM:

    What T-2 said
    You chumps! we played the evangelicals in '04 played you in '10
    While I am enjoying the spectacle, I fear for the truckloads of vile and odoriferous sewage that will be unleashed in the general. I hope Obama and his team are ready.
    They have shown us how blanket negative can wipe out anyone.
    The best candidates money can buy.

  • berttheclock on January 30, 2012 9:34 AM:

    Truly amazing how so many Floridian RepuGs have never learned how to hit "Mute" for commercials.

  • SadOldVet on January 30, 2012 9:37 AM:

    The current over/under betting line is for $1 Billion of untraceable money backing Mitt "the 1/10 of 1%er candidate" Romney this fall.

    Can our country survive Citizens United beyond this November? We damn well better do more than hope so! Get off your rears and work to get Obama reelected; the alternative is dreadful to consider.

    Paid for by your "I have issues with Obama" progressive who fears the alternative!

  • stinger on January 30, 2012 9:42 AM:

    MMU has it right. I can't get over the calm assumption/analysis in the media (not blaming Ed) that the candidate with the most money wins. In other words, the office of the Presidency can/will be bought. We really, really need public financing in this country.

  • jonas on January 30, 2012 9:44 AM:

    Look, Mitt was setting up a major organization in Florida while Newt was cruising the Aegean with Callista. It's no surprise, just Campaigning 101: good ground organization = high likelihood of doing well. Plus, Romney's actually a pretty smart guy, whereas Gingrich is really just a total blowhard on his third marriage who started running to promote his and his wife's books and tapes, but then let the attention start going to his head. And it shows.

    I really wish Gingrich had run a better campaign -- seeing Obama steamroll him this fall would have been much more fun. Hopefully he's resentful enough to carry through on his threat to cause trouble at the convention.

  • T2 on January 30, 2012 10:09 AM:

    Hell hath no one like a GOPer scorned. Newt can never forget how they turned on him...for just doing normal Republican stuff..lying, cheating, etc.

  • berttheclock on January 30, 2012 10:20 AM:

    If it is only money one needs to spend massively to win an election, then, please explain that to the former husband of Arianna Huffington.

  • berttheclock on January 30, 2012 10:32 AM:

    Imagine if you had to spend a small fortune to acquire a position in the private sector which only pays a very small percentage of what you had to spend to get the job.

    A US Rep earns $174,000 per year and is only elected to be a rep for two years. In Oregon, so far in the congressional race for the 1st Congressional District, the Democratic lady, Suzanne Bonamici has raised $1.46 million to run against the Repug Cornilles, who is doing his best to say he is a moderate and has raised $1.08 million. Of course, once elected and sworn in, the first thing one has to do is start pleading "Spare Change, Spare Change".

  • thisdave on January 30, 2012 10:39 AM:

    The worm (amphibian?) is turning. The longer he stays in the game:
    A. The easier Mitt swats away the attacks while crafting messages that will armor him later vs. Obama;
    B. The more Newt will damage his post-campaign brand, killing it amongst the political class in D.C. (Sorry Callista - cash and carry at Zales from now on);
    and C. The more the Tea Party faction's influence in the primaries and in the general will be fractured and deflated.

    In sum: Newt's tenacity will make Mitt better able to handle attacks from Obama and Co., while further lowing the Republican Party's enthusiasm quotient.

  • slappy magoo on January 30, 2012 10:39 AM:

    Ed, you give the man too much credit. Newt never wanted to be President, he wanted to be the guy who lost the nomination to Mitt, so that when Mitt lost the nomination to Obama, he'd be in a position to say "if only you had been smart enough to have nominated ME." He could then write more books and go on more speaking tours about how much things would have been better if only HE had been the nominee. This way, he doesn't have to try to raise money as the man whose ass got kicked by Obama, but as the man who would've kicked Obama's ass but he was never given the chance.

    Everything higher-up GOP muckety-mucks have been doing is a desperate attempt to change the hands of power without acknowledging that it probably will not happen in 2012 so let's get what we think ought to be our ducks in a row for he midterms and then in 2016. OR a way to capitalize on it personally. Newt is the latter. His campaign has almost been like the political equivalent of The Producers, time and time again - he's got to look like he wants to be the nominee, but he's screwed if he gets the nomination, so everything's been about optics, fighting like Hell and self-sabotaging his chances at the same time. Newt doesn't think he's Churchill; he knows he's Harold Hill from The Music Man. He just needs to make enough Republicans think he's Churchill and dine out on that for the rest of his life...

    But this works better if he's not the nominee. If he is, then he's got to fight like crazy to win the election, and when he loses, it's not just a repudiation of him, but the entire party. he wants to be the guy who could've save the Republicans, not the guy who doomed them. He wants to be Rush Limbaugh not Bob Dole.

  • berttheclock on January 30, 2012 10:48 AM:

    If only the late great very liberal Zero Mostel could play "Newt" in the movie. Remember the, also, late great very liberal Boyle played the redneck Joe in "Joe".

  • SBcardinal on January 30, 2012 10:57 AM:

    @sadoldvet, may I steal your "I have issues with Obama" progressive who fears the alternative! as I can't imagine one of these nutjobs being president.

  • Bj Smith on January 30, 2012 1:56 PM:

    Slappy Magoo, You have really aced this. The only person who believes Newt could be President is Callista.She really wants the White House.