Political Animal


January 31, 2012 11:50 AM “Six To Eight Months”

By Ed Kilgore

It’s an ancient habit in politics (and for that matter, business) to confront signs of imminent defeat and disaster by denying anything at all is wrong or could interrupt the inexorable march to final success. We’re seeing a lot of this trait from Newt Gingrich as his day of reckoning with Florida voters arrives. Today he’s saying he’ll stay in the race for “six or eight months.” That schedule would carry him at a minimum well beyond the final primary in Utah (June 26). The eight-month timetable, of course, extends into the general election season. At this rate, when the dust settles tomorrow, Gingrich will be announcing his 2016 re-election campaign.

I’m reminded of an imaginary candidate (named Otto “Slim” Mace) conjured up by Hunter Thompson in Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail ‘72 who had just been nailed in a major ethics scandal and was being abandoned by his staff and donors. Naturally, he called a press conference to predict “total victory in all states.” So Newt’s tough talk today could mean absolutely nothing.

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.


  • Josef K on January 31, 2012 11:54 AM:

    So Newt’s tough talk today could mean absolutely nothing.

    For myself, I hope he stays in this year. We need all the laughs we can get, now that Cain has exited.

  • T2 on January 31, 2012 11:58 AM:

    I'd be embarrassed to say I listen to anything Newt says.

  • tb on January 31, 2012 12:03 PM:

    Remember the suicide of the first boss in The IT Crowd? I think Newt's going to go out a little bit like that...

  • Matt McIrvin on January 31, 2012 12:11 PM:

    A Friedman Unit!

  • Ron Byers on January 31, 2012 12:16 PM:

    Rachel Maddow had a good take on the race last evening that would support Newt's argument that Florida doesn't end this thing. It seems Florida gave up about 1/2 its delegates to have an early February vote. More over there is a lot of proportional voting going on.

    If Newt's money holds out he just might survive the Romney carpet bombing to move on to Nevada.

    I think Rachel makes a good argument, but then again a competitive race between now and the convention sells a lot of soap on her network.

  • SadOldVet on January 31, 2012 12:28 PM:

    As much as I dispise Chris "Tweety" Matthews, I hope that he was right last night when he went off on the money that Mittens is having spent trashing Newt. Tweety believes that Newt will continue if for no other reason that revenge against Mittens.

    Go Newt Go! Go Newt Go Nastier! Go Newt Go Get Revenge On Mittens! Keep trashing Mittens until the 7th of November!

  • T2 on January 31, 2012 12:28 PM:

    only a fraction of the needed delegates will be awarded by tomorrow. That is why Newt can say he's still got a chance. The Deep South will go to GIngrich if he's still in. Heavy Mormon populations out West will favor Mitt. 100% of the Mormon vote will go to Mitt. 100% of the Crazy racist TeaBag vote will go to Newt. Basically two Out of Mainstream groups fighting it out. It's going to be fun to watch.

  • dalloway on January 31, 2012 12:28 PM:

    Um, pretty much everything Newt says means absolutely nothing.

  • bdop4 on January 31, 2012 1:28 PM:

    With Newt, it's all about the income stream (his, of course). Other than a grave threat of bodily or fiscal harm from the oligarchs, there is absolutely no reason for him to bow out until the convention.

    The goal for him has always been to keep the spotlight on for as long as possible and juice the moronic masses for another four years of books and speakers fees.