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The Cost of Newt’s Campaign

Summarizes Molly Ball at the Atlantic:

Prior to running for president, Newt Gingrich had built a very good life for himself. The former speaker of the House of Representatives resided in posh McLean, Va., with his third wife, who enjoyed expensive jewelry and singing in church choir.

He ran a profitable empire of think tanks, wrote and co-wrote books of fiction and nonfiction, appeared on television as a commentator, and traveled the country giving speeches, basking in his role as GOP elder statesman. Inevitably, as he finished one of his fiery orations on the endless circuit of rubber-chicken dinners, local activists would come away starry-eyed, wishing this dazzling man, with his charisma, insight and seemingly endless ideas, would find it in him to run for president.

Today, much of that empire is in a shambles.

Indeed.

It really does make one wonder what he thought he was going to accomplish with this run (or, for that matter, what he thinks the endgame is going to be).  Sure, in his more ego-driven moments he probably thought he could win the nomination and the White House, but surely there were some somber, cogent moments in there somewhere where rationality took over and he knew it wasn’t likely to end that way—although, perhaps not.

One suspects that he will be able to find a way back into media business and use that platform to reconstruct some of his empire.  Still, the burning of bridges with Fox News Channel may have limited his easy return to that fold.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    On the other hand, maybe his wife’s book will do well.

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  2. mattb says:

    Still, the burning of bridges with Fox News Channel may have limited his easy return to that fold.

    That’s the part that I can’t understand. If he had not have done that, then it seems that reestablishing the empire would have been an easy next step — in that actual running and staying in for as long as he did (and sorta racking up wins) could have added to his prestige.

    But like a character in a Greek Tragedy Newt seems to have undone himself. While it’s not as spectacular as, say, John Edwards, it’s still been a big fall.

    There is one possible out though. If Romney loses, then Gingrich can play the “you would have won with me card” to a doubly revitalized conservative base.

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  3. legion says:

    @mattb: Heh. I kinda like that idea – it means he’ll be pulling every stop out to sabotage Romney’s campaign himself. That would be a thing of tragic beauty.

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  4. ernieyeball says:

    If Romney loses, then Gingrich can play the “you would have won with me card” to a doubly revitalized conservative base.

    So can Ricky Dink, Jon Huntsman, Herm, RonLuvPaul, Michelle My Belle,
    Perry: Texas Ranger and Thomas Dewey!

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  5. mattb says:

    @ernieyeball:
    The thing is, with the exception of Jon Huntsman, who the conservative base rejected out of the gate, and Ron Paul, who will never have any real movement among Eric F. conservatives, the rest of those people dropped out almost immediately.

    Newt will be remembered for having kept fighting. And that’s an important thing to the folks we’re talking about.

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  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    ….but surely there were some somber, cogent moments in there somewhere where rationality took over…

    .

    No, there weren’t any.

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  7. anjin-san says:

    It will be interesting to look back in a year and see how many of the vendors who supported his campaign get stiffed.

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  8. fustian says:

    It really is amazing.

    I suspect rational, reasonable people simply don’t run.

    In fact, I often think that anyone that actually wants to be President shouldn’t be allowed to be one.

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  9. J-Dub says:

    @Tillman: Yeah, but after the campaign is over Newt will have to don the elephant costume for her.

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  10. Fiona says:

    I wonder if Calista will need to sell off some of her expensive Tiffany jewelry to keep the household afloat.

    Having spurned his best path back to the media spotlight–a position among the Faux news commentariat–Newt may indeed have a tough time rebuilding his empire. I doubt we’ll be seeing a 2016 comeback. His political re-emergence this year largely served to remind most people of how much they can’t stand him. I doubt his ego-driven schtick will play any better four years from now.

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