Newt Gingrich for President?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich considers himself among the top Republican prospects for the 2012 presidential election

Newt Gingrich PhotoNewt Gingrich, who has seemingly not-quite-been-running for president for more than a decade tells reporters that he’s among the hot prospects for 2012.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday he considers himself among the top Republican prospects for the 2012 presidential election, adding that he believes there will be plenty of GOP options for voters to consider.

“I think I’m probably on a list of seven or eight possible candidates at this stage,” Gingrich said. “We have a lot of people around the country who would like to have somebody who represents a commitment to replace the current failed programs and to develop a set of solutions that are practical and workable.”

Gingrich listed several current and former goverors who he thinks might enter the race. They include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He said he will discuss his possible candidacy with his wife early next year before making a decision about whether to run.

Gingrich also suggested that governors Mitch Daniels from Indiana, Haley Barbour from Mississippi, Rick Perry from Texas and Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, as well as South Dakota Sen. John Thune could run.

Despite his considerable personal baggage — which I believe would doom him as a candidate, since he’s a “family values” conservative — I’ve always found Gingrich an engaging figure.  He’s genuinely an intellectual, something that’s been sorely missing among recent Republican candidates, but he demonstrated during his tenure as Speaker that he’s not a very good manager.  Ergo, he’d be a lousy president even if he could get elected.

The omission of Mitt Romney from Gingrich’s list is interesting, as I consider him the hands-down frontrunner.  He’s already got a strong organization and was the runner up to McCain last go-round.  (Technically, Huckabee shamelessly stayed in the race several months after it was over and pulled slightly ahead in the delegate count.  But nobody who paid attention was fooled by that.)  I’m not a huge fan, but he’s the man to beat.

I continue to think that, despite the Palin buzz, the most likely Republican candidate is a governor or former governor.   I had an interesting discussion Tuesday with Riehan Salam, who’s touting former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, about whom I know very little.   But someone like that — without a lot of Washington insider baggage — is most likely to capitalize on the anti-incumbent sentiment that’ll likely be at a boil next year.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Not that I’m a Gingrich fan, but I’m curious who the last person was who did a good job as either Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader. Those are pretty difficult positions, managing animal houses.

  2. I remember seeing an interview when he was flying high, in which he said (or said his wife had said) that he was getting overexposed. I thought “yes” and then kind of watched him burn out.

    He is probably smart enough to reinvent himself as a new-century values candidate, but I’m not sure he has the restraint needed (for the campaign or presidency).

    Maybe I’m reading too much into his decline and fall.

  3. Herb says:

    I’m not that familiar with Gary Johnson, aside from that he’s a libertarianish guy with a dim view of the drug war, a view I happen to share.

    But I think anyone the GOP puts forth is going to have an uphill battle in 2012.

    They’ll be fighting on completely different territory in ’12 than they were in ’08 and they just don’t seem up to the task.

    After all, by ’12 they won’t be able to talk about his inexperience. They won’t be able to talk about his birth certificate. They won’t be able to talk about William Ayers or Jerimiah Wright. I mean, they can…but none of that will have traction.

    They’ll have to run against his record, which means they’ll have to come up with some kind of alternative. That’s going to be tough for the Party of No.

  4. Technically, Huckabee shamelessly stayed in the race several months after it was over and pulled slightly ahead in the delegate count.

    How dare he continue speaking once Lord McCain had announced his victory! I never!

  5. James Joyner says:

    How dare he continue speaking once Lord McCain had announced his victory! I never!

    Huckabee kept running long after McCain had secured enough delegates to win the nomination.

  6. legion says:

    Well, against any kind of sane, competent opponent, the first time Newt opened his mouth about ‘family values’, he’d get slaughtered thanks to his reprehensible personal conduct. Of course, no Dem has the spine to actually fight mean like that, but the other GOP primary contenders won’t be nearly so hesitant. Maybe they’ll put an ex-wife on a talk-show tour.

    As for other potentials, while Mittens could still grab the nomination, I think his mojo has run out for any kind of realistic general-election success. I don’t think much of him personally, but Jindal (at least at this early stage) probably has the best shot against Palin on a nationwide level.

  7. Triumph says:

    I love Newt. But I agree with James that Governors are the way to go for Prez.

    That’s why the dream ticket would be Palin/Gingrich.

    It would be kind of the reverse of ’08 where you had old white guy/hot white gal.

    In this case you have hot white gal in the top post and crusty whitey in the VP slot.

    In a sense, it would be a replay of the winning Bush-Cheney ticket, with the advantage of Palin’s undeniable hottie-ness.

    It is a match made in heaven and will be excellent given the huge mess they will have to clean up after 4 years of Crazy Barry Hussein.

  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Any Republican who wins the nomination, and that will be a real fight, will become the next President of the United States. All they have to say is they will cut taxes and reduce government spending. After this ass clown is done his 4 years and the democrats have moved, against the will of the people, so far left as to be unrecognizable as America. Spell shoe in. Watch the polls. Obama is a popular as Castor oil.

  9. setnaffa says:

    I am amazed at the number of pretend conservative that show up here chanting the name of NY-23 Dede’s biggest fan…

    I wouldn’t expect the self-Newtered one to make it to the Iowa Primary as a serious candidate…

  10. Brainster says:

    I would have liked Mitt a whole lot more if he’d been honest and ran as what he really was: a social moderate and a fiscal conservative. Of course, that segment of the party was rather well-represented with McCain and Giuliani.

  11. Alex Knapp says:

    I like Gary Johnson quite a bit personally, but he was a pretty lousy governor. But I do like his anti- war on drugs stance.

    Also, is it bad that I think Newt Gingrich should be disqualified from office because his novels contain quite possibly the worst sex scenes ever written?

  12. floyd says:

    Newt would be both the best qualified for the job and the biggest target for the campaign.
    The best for both sides, since Newt would address the issues and his opposition could avoid them with character assassination.

  13. tom p says:

    Any Republican who wins the nomination, and that will be a real fight, will become the next President of the United States. All they have to say is they will cut taxes and reduce government spending.

    BWAH,HA,HA,HAHAHA…..

    A Republican capable of cutting spending??? I ain’t never seen one. (and I been around for 50+ yrs) Cin you name me one??? Cuttin’ taxes, they real good at that(mind ya, they ain’t really cuttin’ taxes, they jist “deefer’in” them)(ya know, “You ain’t gonna pay… but yer chillun’s is”)

    And boy howdy, are they.

    ZR: Republicans is as popular as Ipecac.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Newt has a good mind & actual ideas. No wonder today’s conservatives despise him…

  15. anjin-san says:

    Watch the polls. Obama is a popular as Castor oil.

    Yep, its all about polls that are taken years before the election. Just look at Bush 41 and his 91%, clearly 2002 was a slam dunk for him.