With friends like Newt Gingrich, who needs Organizing for America?
In his concession speech following the Nevada primary Saturday night, Gingrich laid to rest the Romney campaign’s “greatest fantasy” by clarifying that he would continue his campaign all the way to the Republican convention.
“I am a candidate for president of the United States,” he said. “I will be a candidate for president of the United States. We will go to Tampa.”
While it may have quashed Romney’s “greatest fantasy,” it served simultaneously as a reinforcement to Democrats’ “greatest fantasy.”
Despite pleading with caucus-goers to “send a message” to the rest of the country that “the era of nasty and negative campaigns is over,” Gingrich nonetheless was broadsided with a double-dose of well-funded negative advertising campaigns in Iowa, where nearly half of the $12.5 million in ad buys was directed at the former House speaker.
After that it was gloves off for Gingrich.
Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Perry had bruised his inflated ego to the point that even now, after Romney’s back-to-back victories in Florida and Nevada, Gingrich remains unperturbed by his long odds. He seems more than willing to bankrupt his grandchildren’s grandchildren if that’s what it takes to hurt Romney’s chances of winning the Republican Party nomination this summer.
After the Nevada caucuses, Gingrich covered all of Romney’s major shortcoming in one short speech: from the former Massachusetts governor’s record of flip-flopping on hot-button issues to his last-in-the-nation job creation record, Gingrich pulled no punches. He berated the “Massachusetts moderate” for being not only “substantially dishonest” and “blatantly dishonest,” but also “fundamentally dishonest.”
And playing on Romney’s recent “screw poor people” gaffe, Gingrich made a “compassionate conservative” appeal for the hearts and minds of Republican voters by making a stark contrast, arguing that “unlike Gov. Romney” Gingrich actually cares “very deeply” for America’s poorest citizens.
I believe that the Declaration of Independence’s commitment that our creator endowed us with the right to pursue happiness extends to the poorest Americans. And I think one of the great challenges to conservatism is to turn the safety net into a trampoline to give people an opportunity to achieve real status, earning a living, buying a house, having a decent future. So I’m not comfortable, as Governor Romney said he was, with simply allowing people to languish in the safety net. I think that’s a fundamental difference between the two of us.
This hallow recitation hollow rhetoric might not win Gingrich any delegates in Colorado, Minnesota or Missouri, but if reality were an obstacle then Gingrich never would have entered the GOP presidential race to begin with.
“I think the contrast between Governor Romney and me is going to get wider and wider and clearer and clearer over the next few weeks,” he said. “And so I look forward very much to opportunities to debate him, opportunities to draw the contrast, and opportunities to compete for votes.”
In other words, it ain’t over ’til the fat guy sings. Eventually he will quit, but he won’t be singing “Wavin’ Flag” when inevitability strikes and Romney wins.
As much as Yertle McConnell likes to compare this year’s Romney-Gingrich primary race to Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008, Gingrich isn’t likely to aid in the post-primary party cohesion that resulted from Clinton’s whole-hearted endorsement of Obama after the 2008 primary battle.
For one thing, neither Romney nor Gingrich would ever come close to pushing Obama or Clinton off the “Most Admired” list.
Secondly, Gingrich has no hope of securing a cabinet position in a Romney White House. Not after the “For the Dogs” ad.
And lastly, the more time Gingrich has to spread his hellfire conservatism across the country, the less enthused Republicans will be to rally behind a “milquetoast Massachusetts moderate.”
With turnout among Republicans down 10 percent, on average, among early primary states, five more months of intra-party Romney-bashing isn’t likely to do much to invigorate the conservative base behind the default frontrunner…
…not that Obama supporters are complaining.
With Gingrich on the attack, half the battle is over. By the time of the general election, Romney will be branded as the vulture capitalist 1 percenter with Swiss bank accounts, La Jolla beach-front mansions, and a $57,000-a-day income.
Gingrich is about the last person you would think of as being an Obama supporter. But if he keeps this up—and it appears he will—Romney might not have a leg to stand on when he receives the GOP nomination.