Well Newt Gingrich stuck his toe into the 2012 race by setting up a presidential exploratory website called NewtExplore2012.com. It's nothing more than the first step before officially declaring a candidacy. However, the real question is, why would Gingrich even bother? Now don't get me wrong, every citizen has the right to run for elected office, unless they have a criminal record that prohibits them from so doing. But in the case of Gingrich, as they say on the street, he's got a rap sheet as long as your arm. That said what does he realistically hope to accomplish?
In its present state, the Republican Party has gone from a semi-moribund, post George Bush establishment, to an organization refueled by Tea Party activists. As a result, Republican contenders for the 2012 presidential race are tripping all over themselves to pander to the far right. That in and of itself bodes ill for the G.O.P. as independent voters have decided the last three elections and with politics in America being played within the 40 yard lines, as per Charles Krauthammer, too much of an overture to the fringe players on the far right could spell the kiss of death for a Republican candidate hoping to win in 2012.
Beyond the pitfall of pandering too much to the full mooners on the fringe, Gingrich has enough skeletons in his closet to staff an amusement park house of horrors. First and foremost there are his multiple marriages. He was in such a hurry to get out of one marriage that he presented his cancer stricken wife with divorce papers while she was still in the hospital. He had an affair with his current wife while still married to his former spouse. Gingrich was in the midst of an extra marital affair while orchestrating the impeachment of Bill Clinton for having had an affair with Monica Lewinsky along with issues related to Paula Jones. Surely, none of this can sit well with the religious fundamentalists let alone the broader electorate.
In addition to Mr. Gingrich's marital melodrama there are issues such as twenty two bounced checks and a book signing scandal, not exactly the sort of fanfare one would want attending the announcement of a run for the presidency. Then there's Gingrich's attempt to portray Barack Obama as some sort of outsider. As you will recall Gingrich went to great lengths portray Obama as harboring anti-colonial sentiments, borne of his Kenyan heritage, that showed Obama both hated the West and imperiled our relationship with Great Britain. Gingrich has joined the bizarre chorus of the "Birthers', who don't believe that Barack Obama was born here, leading White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to observe: “You would normally expect better from somebody who had held the position of Speaker of the House.”
Thus all of this begs the question: With all of this baggage and with already having a track record of failure, having shut down the government to the detriment of the G.O.P. and thereafter being driven from the post of Speaker of the House, why now bother to try to resurrect your political career at a time like this? This question is all the more germane when you consider the closet full of skeletons Mr. Gingrich has in tow. American politics allows for second acts, but they often take place outside of elected office, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter being two excellent examples. It appears to me that Mr. Gingrich had his chance and ultimately blew it. Not only did he blow it but he blew it so badly that it's foolish for him to try to get in the way of a rising class conservative leaders now taking the stage. Ultimately Gingrich's presidential aspirations will be blown by the winds of folly onto the rocks of political reality. His political day has come and gone and it's not going to come back. It's just a matter of time before he himself comes to that realization.
Steven J. Gulitti
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