Newt Gingrich Shows All The Signs Of Running In 2012

Newt Gingrich for President ? You might want to think twice about that, Republicans.

Four years ago Newt Gingrich toyed with the idea of running for President, but ultimately declined to run causing many Republicans to suspect that his flirtation with the idea of running had more to do with promoting the Gingrich brand than anything else. This time around, though, the former House Speaker seems entirely serious:

It has all the makings of Newt Gingrich’s favorite kind of election: A cranky electorate. A Democratic president on the ropes. Republicans poised to take one or both houses of Congress.In fact, 2010 feels a lot like 1994 – especially if you happened to be sitting with the rapt conservatives in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel here on Tuesday, when the former House speaker railed against Democrats as the “party of food stamps” and President Obama as an elitist with no “idea what American exceptionalism is.”

What’s different, of course, is that Gingrich is no longer leading his party’s assault on the ramparts – he isn’t even on a ballot. And yet, just like in the old days, Gingrich is pretty much everywhere you look: raising millions for the Republican Party, stumping for candidates in 30 states, hurling verbal hand grenades on Fox News and Twitter.

In other words, Newt Gingrich looks an awful lot like a man who is running for president.

The former speaker, who flirted with the idea in the past, is less coy about it this time. Gingrich says he won’t make an official announcement until early next year. But he notes that he is already “transitioning” his four businesses so that they don’t become political impediments.

The remaining question, Gingrich said in an interview, is “whether or not it is practical, which I increasingly think it is.”

Gingrich acknowledged that he wouldn’t be the GOP establishment’s pick – or an immediate front-runner. He also said he knows the race for the nomination would be a steep climb “when you have someone as well financed as [former Massachusetts governor Mitt] Romney would be.”

But if Gingrich could pull this one off, it would be the greatest political resurrection since Richard Nixon – a name that comes up often when you talk to Gingrich’s longtime friends and advisers.

Now, personally I wouldn’t want to be associated publicly with Richard Nixon, even 36 years after he was forced to resign in disgrace after participating in a cover-up of wrong doing in his Administration, but I suppose on some level Nixon does stand as evidence against the proposition that there are no second acts in American politics.

At the very least, it’s obvious that Gingrich is at least thinking about tossing his hat in the ring more seriously than he was four years ago. He’s closely allied himself with the Tea Party movement, for example, and was at the forefront of the group of people denouncing the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.” The question is whether conservatives trust him:

One worry for Republicans would be his penchant for creating controversy. Comments that fire up the GOP base might not go over as well in front of, say, the Ottumwa Rotary Club.

Though advisers say he has become more disciplined with age and reflection, Gingrich still sets off the occasional firestorm, such as when he wrote on Twitter that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a racist, or more recently, when he commented that Obama has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.

Gingrich later said he should not have described Sotomayor as a racist. He based his remark about Obama on a controversial Forbes magazine article by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza analyzing the president’s autobiography. In the interview, the former speaker acknowledged he has not actually read Obama’s book “Dreams From My Father,” upon which D’Souza’s article claimed to be based.

Then there is the question of whether the religious conservatives who are an important part of the GOP base could embrace an admitted adulterer who has been married three times.

“It’s a very fair question,” said Jim Garlow, an influential evangelical pastor who was a leader on California’s anti-gay-marriage initiative and now heads Renewing American Leadership.

Evangelicals are impressed with Gingrich’s intellect, but skeptical of his character, Garlow said. But he noted that he has been struck by how willing Gingrich is to use the word “sin” in describing his past and added: “Even though the evangelical vote is going to expect a high standard, it’s very quick to [offer] forgiveness, if they sense authenticity.”

In that regard, former House Majority Leader

Dick Armey’s interview in a Christian magazine is likely to raise some eyebrows:

Olasky: In 1998 during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a reporter asked you what you would do if you were in President Clinton’s position. You’re said to have replied, “I would not have gotten a chance to resign. I would be lying in a pool of my own blood with Mrs. Armey standing over me saying, how do I reload this thing?” True?

Armey: True. By the way, she outshoots me with a handgun and knows how to reload it.

Olasky: Who did know?

Armey: When I heard that Newt had been carrying on an affair for all the years that we’d worked together, I went home and said, “Honey, I had no idea about this.” She said, “Of course not. You’re the last person in town Newt would have wanted to know about this.” Newt was scared of me. What I discovered: Clinton found out about the Gingrich affair and called Newt over to the White House for a private meeting between the two of them. Clinton said, “You and I are alike.” Which meant, shut up about Monica or I’ll start telling your story.

Olasky: Was it blackmail or bonding?

Armey: Newt and Clinton actually developed sort of a bond over it. They had many meetings that we didn’t know about where they’d drink wine and smoke cigars and talk about their girlfriends. It’s fascinating; why would you confess to your mortal enemy what you wouldn’t tell your closest friends?

Olasky: Why did he?

Armey: Politicians are fascinating. If you ever want to do developmental psychology, use them. They are much, much, much more skillful at developing rationalizations than developing rational thought.

Honestly, is that the kind of person we want in the White House ? Well, we’ll probably get it anyway, but America would do well to take a pass on Gingrich 2012

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. floyd says:

    I am a evangelical Christian conservative, and I sense not just authenticity, but a rare qualification for the office unseen in a generation.
    He’s refreshing, like stale breath in a room full of farts!
    I’d vote for him in the general……maybe even in the primary.

  2. B. Minich says:

    Newt is showing signs of running for President? Is it contagious? If so, I need to keep away from him! And we also need to make sure that he and Sarah Palin don’t catch this virus from one another.

  3. John Personna says:

    I was wondering who is Newt’s constituency these days. It would be interesting if it was evangelicals.

  4. ponce says:

    Haha, floyd.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Newt > Palin

  5. Highlander says:

    Like most things connected with our Imperial capital, it’s all about the $$$$….The Moolla!

    Newt is pretty much into the land of “old farthood”. Sorry Newt…probably no more fresh young wifes for you anymore.

    A presidential run or talk of it, is a means of freshning his fading brand, of making him appear still relevant(even when he’s not) and most importantly of all, keeping the cash flow up from clueless donors.

  6. steve says:

    No way. It’s Palin in 2012.


  7. ponce says:

    The pool of potential GOP 2012 nominees can now be truly described as an “embarrassment of riches.”

  8. anjin-san says:

    > I am a evangelical Christian conservative

    Interesting. Refresh my memory about the Ten Commandments and adultery.

  9. floyd says:

    As Paul Harvey used to say…. Read “the rest of the story”

    When you decide to accept the authority of Gospel, ask again.
    Last I checked Jesus Christ is already Lord and Savior, and won’t be running for a lesser office.

  10. Tano says:

    First time as tragedy – George Bush, Dick Cheney.
    Second time as farce – Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich

  11. anjin-san says:

    No need to practice it when you can just preach it, eh Floyd?

  12. John Burgess says:

    If Gingrich ends up the candidate of the Republican Party, it will truly mark the start of an official third party based on Tea Party fiscal principles, that is, what the Republican Party was before it became the handmaiden of evangelicals.

  13. floyd says:

    Anjin san;
    Your ignorance is amazing

  14. sam says:

    floyd, anjin’s “ignorance” is eclipsed by the real thing that is your’s by a couple of orders of magnitude:

    “I sense not just authenticity, but a rare qualification for the office unseen in a generation.”

    Newt can run on the Multiple Family Values platform. You seem unaware of Newt’s hypocrisy and cruelty. I’m not surprised at the ignorance, btw.

  15. sam says:

    Gingrich has been married three times. He first married Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher, when he was 19 years old and she was 26. They had two daughters. Gingrich left Battley in the spring of 1980 after having an affair with Marianne Ginther. According to Battley, Gingrich visited her later that year while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery to discuss the details of their divorce. Six months after it was final, Gingrich wed Ginther in 1981.

    Gingrich began an affair with House of Representatives staffer Callista Bisek, who is 23 years his junior, in the mid nineties, which continued during the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal In 2000, Gingrich married Bisek shortly after his divorce with second wife Ginther was finalized.

  16. anjin-san says:

    I dunno Floyd. I am genuinely curious. Newt had an affair when his wife fighting cancer. He went to the hospital to talk divorce with her when she was recovering from surgery. It was not the only affair he was ever to have.

    The right talks a great deal about “family values”. We hear a lot about Christian values as well. It is very easy to talk about ideals, much harder to live up to them.

    So how do you reconcile your beliefs with support for a moral midget like Newt?

    I think I can make a pretty strong argument that your ignorance is amazing.

  17. wr says:

    Ponce — It’s actually a richness of embarassments…

  18. floyd says:

    “” I dunno Floyd. I am genuinely curious.””

    Right for a change, and, to quote Lewis Carrol, getting “curiouser and curiouser”.

  19. ponce says:

    “Ponce — It’s actually a richness of embarassments”

    Hehe, it sure is gonna be something.

  20. floyd says:

    Thanks for the insight, I kinda thought that ignorance was sorta the opposite of quantitative.
    Actually more toward qualitative , but, its being a lacking, even that would be stretch… or perhaps more of a diminuation?[LOL]
    So I guess I am to believe that you think that my “LACK of of understanding” is somehow a hundred times greater than Anjin-Sans. So just how does that equate in terms of actual understanding? When added together, what percentage of all understanding do we [he and I] actually possess ? I’m just guessing [being ignorant and all] that it is an insignificant percentage.
    So as a result I must say that we have at least nearly reached a point of agreement.
    I suspect, however that if we were to add the full “quantity” of your overall understanding to ours, that it would not measurably increase our overall percentage of all understanding.
    This calls into question your credentials for siting this lacking. No need to call mine into question at this point, as that would be redundant. To wit… You have already done so! [LOL]

  21. anjin-san says:

    It’s cool Floyd, no one is surprised you can’t give a straight answer. The right talks about family values, yet Obama actually lives them. Enjoy the vainglory.

  22. floyd says:

    May I assume that you meant that YOU were not surprised that I refused to respond to your impertinance with alacrity, or do you once again presume to speak for everyone.
    Enjoy your arrogance.

  23. anjin-san says:

    It’s impertinent to ask how you can support a piece of trash like Newt? Sorry dude, but the man cheated on his wife when she was in the hospital fighting cancer. He went after Clinton for having an affair – while he was having an affair.

    Yet you sing his praises. I don’t expect you to be able to defend your position, it’s indefensible. You can try to bait and switch with BS like “I presume to speak for everyone”, but it is the same old weak tea you always serve up.

  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Last I checked Jesus Christ is already Lord and Savior, and won’t be running for a lesser office.*** Yup, Lord , Savior, Creator.

    ***The right talks about family values, yet Obama actually lives them.***Dude, Obama is an abortionist.

  25. Tano says:

    I thought he was a lawyer…

  26. Brummagem Joe says:

    Absent Palin I’d have said Crazy Newt would be Obama’s choice to make his day. So go for it Newtie. But for both of them I’d put my money on stunting to sell books and enhance speaking fees rather than any serious intent.

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    Of course there’s never any shortage of the impressionable to endorse Gingrich and his ilk.

  28. floyd says:

    I have never supported a politician in my life.
    I have rarely voted for one who could even live up to being called a “piece of trash”.
    Moral turpitude goes with the job, especially at the federal level.
    Refusing to vote for some lying scumbag moral degenerate would mean to recuse myself from the process altogether. It is not possible for you to have more contempt than I for disloyalty and adultery and Newt is guilty of both.That’s neither song nor praise.
    He has however, in my opinion, maintained a consistent understanding of the political values which have sustained this country to a greater degree than his contemporaries.

    Do you contend that the primary reason for voting for one of these “pieces of trash” should be his personal life or his consistent adherence to policies which you hope will harm the nation the least, or perhaps even [beyond hope] improve it?

    BTW…Your impertinence was not in asking how I could support Newt. It was in presuming to dictate my response to my faith. A thing to which you display profound and yes, amazing ignorance.

  29. ponce says:

    I’m disappointed to learn your initial post wasn’t a joke, floyd.

    I hope you don’t mind that I got quite a chuckle from it.

    As for Newt’s “consistent understanding of the political values which have sustained this country,” he’s a worse historian than husband,

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    floyd: for someone who implies he’s a christian you seem to display an astonishing lack of charity and in the case of Newt obliviousness to the importance of character when choosing leaders.

  31. anjin-san says:

    > It was in presuming to dictate my response to my faith.

    You started out the tread with your beliefs worn on your sleeve. Don’t open the door if you can’t walk though it. This is a public forum.

    > Moral turpitude goes with the job, especially at the federal level.

    Really? Can you provide any evidence that Obama is other than a very hard working man who is completely devoted to his family?

  32. anjin-san says:

    > It is not possible for you to have more contempt than I for disloyalty and adultery

    Now who is being arrogant?

  33. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***I thought he was a lawyer…***ya of the constitution, hahahahaha!!!!

  34. floyd says:

    I neither wore anything on my sleve , nor opened any doors , Had you read the article you would see that it was merely a demographic response.

    Hardly an implication.

  35. anjin-san says:

    Sorry Floyd, but listening to you is starting to make me sleepy. Go put a Newt poster up in your bedroom if that floats your boat.

    I notice you ducked my question about Obama. Another non-surprise.

  36. sam says:


    Thanks for the insight,…”

    What in the hell are you on about in that rambling mess of a comment?

  37. According to Battley, Gingrich visited her later that year while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery to discuss the details of their divorce.

    Gingrich plan for health care reform: we, as a nation, need to just “divorce” anyone without insurance. Once they’re no longer citizens we can claim that all Americans have insurance.

  38. An Interested Party says:

    The president, despite his troubles, must be grinning from ear to ear when he thinks of his potential challengers in 2012…forget 2010 as 1994, this cast of characters will make 2012 look like 1964…oh, and evangelical Christian conservatives are being poorly represented on this thread, as the image is that of gibberish-spouting hypocrites who throw their supposed values in the trash in the name of political expediency…