No, Newt Gingrich Isn’t Going To Drop Out

It looks like we'll have Newt Gingrich to kick around for awhile.

Ever since Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, there’s been a back-and-forth discussion among GOP pundits, and the spokespersons for the various campaigns about the fate of the Newt Gingrich Campaign. In a rational universe, Gingrich would drop out of the race at this point. He’s won two states out of the 30 contests that we’ve had since the beginning of voting in January, with one of those being the state he had represented in Congress for 20-odd years. He’s third in the delegate race and has an even less likely chance of catching up to Mitt Romney than Santorum does, and he’s third in the national polls, with numbers only slightly better than Ron Paul. Once again, there are rumors that Shelly Adelson is on the verge of cutting off donations to his SuperPAC. Faced with this situation, any other candidate with cut their losses, but Newt Gingrich isn’t any other candidate:

Despite increasing calls from some Republicans for him to get out of the race for the presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich continued to insist on Friday that he will remain battling all the way to the convention in Tampa, Fla.

Asked on CBS’s This Morning “under what circumstances” he would end his campaign before the convention, Gingrich responded: “Probably none.” He told host Charlie Rose, “I’ll be with you in Tampa, Charlie,” adding, “I have 176,000 donors at Newt.org. They want me to stay in the race.”

On a later appearance on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Gingrich said voters in Illinois were telling him to stay in the race. “I think the people who are supporting me want to have sort of a Reagan-like visionary, a big ideas candidate,” he said.

It’s pointless to try to evaluate Gingrich through traditional political parameters, because Gingrich is not a normal politician. If he were, he would have been out of the race weeks ago. If he really wanted to give a conservative the chance to take Mitt Romney one on one, he’d drop out race now and let Rick Santorum, who has a more realistic shot at Romney than he’ll ever will, take Romney. But he’s not doing that. I can’t believe that it’s because he wants to sell more books or something, because at this point he’s actually risking annoying conservatives rather than staying in. Instead, it seems rather clear that Gingrich believes he has another comeback in him despite all the evidence to the contrary. He also seems to believe that only he can take on Romney and Obama. Remember, this is a guy who’s said that he was running for President to save American civilization. Someone who says that isn’t just using hyperbole, they actually believe that they are better than everyone else and destined to be one of history’s “Great Men.” That kind of arrogance is one of the many reasons I’ve never really liked Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich is at least somewhat realistic, though, he’s basically giving up on Tuesday’s Illinois Primary where he is presently trailing Romney and Santorum by 20 points. But that doesn’t mean he’s giving up, though, he’s just convinced himself that the secret to his comeback lies in the south by concentrating on next Saturday’s Louisiana primary, and he’s doing so by returning to that Gingrich-ian arrogance I was referring to:

“I am going to fine-tune my message to say that ‘without vision the people perish,’ ” Gingrich said Thursday, quoting Scripture while touring a manufacturing plant here. Gingrich’s trip to Illinois was essentially a layover for the campaign before heading to Louisiana, which has a primary more than a week away.

(…)

“Louisiana is sort of halftime,” Gingrich said. “I want to see if we can’t reset this race around really big ideas and really big solutions and insist the American people have the chance to vote for a dramatically different future.”

During speeches here, Gingrich invoked such presidents as Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, bemoaning to a high school audience Thursday that Kennedy’s vision for space exploration was lauded while his dream of moon colonization was lampooned.

“We have to go back to being an America that has big dreams and then liberates the American people to chase their dreams,” he told the crowd of several hundred.

And of course, Newt Gingrich is the only man who can do that, he’ll tell them. It’s not going to work, of course. Even if Gingrich manages to win Louisiana, which is by no means  clear, where does he go from there? He’s not going to be competitive in any of the big primaries in April and May and his influence is going to recede as Romney and Santorum pile up the delegates. Even in the unlikely event of a contested convention, his influence will not be anywhere near what he thinks it will be, and there is no chance at all that he’d end up being the nominee, or even on the ticket. But don’t tell Newt Gingrich that, he’s convinced himself he can win and he’s not getting out of the race.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gromitt Gunn says:

    If he had won AL and MS, he could at least claim to be the favored candidate of the Deep South. Hubris really is the most likely explanation at this juncture.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    The only thing I can fathom is that, like Santorum, Gingrich thinks that if he can survive the first round of voting at a contested convention, he can convince delegates that he needs to be the nominee.

    Why he thinks he would have a better shot of that than Santorum–who I would assume has more devoted delegates–or Paul–who I’m certain does–is beyond me.

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Gloria Swanson’s character in Sunset Boulevard comes immediately to mind. Actually, that’s probably an insult to “Norma Desmond,” if you catch my drift.

    Monty Python’s “Black Knight” skit is apropos.

    Then again, who knows? Perhaps St. Callista of the Cloakroom told Newt: “no more nookie for you if you drop out.” That could have happened. As long as Newt stays in the contest Callista will be able to do her Stepford Wives thing in the front of the cameras. Man, she’s a piece of work.

    Maybe Newt is suffering from early dementia? He’ll be 70 soon, you know.

    Ultimately, however, I’d say it’s a combination of various items, the primary one of which is identified in this blog post. It’s not a question of being “too legit to quit,” as a noted philosopher once said. It’s that Newt is so numbingly arrogant he’s (ahem) divorced himself from political reality.

  4. legion says:

    If Gingrich were even a fraction as smart as he thinks he is (and that’s a pretty monumental ‘if’), he’s staying in because he knows something he thinks the other guys don’t. My guess is that he has inside info he wants to use to force Santorum out of the race after he’s taken a few more chunks out of Romney (or maybe in the backroom deals of a contested convention). Even Gingrich has to realize he can’t beat ‘Lil Ricky with the social conservative/religious nutball crowd, but I’m absolutely certain he believes he can drop-kick Romney if he could just get him in a two-man race. Ditto for Obama, assuming Gingrich gets the nomination (which of course he does).

    In the end, however, it’s all just another example of Gingrich having “Big Ideas” to put himself on top, but no grasp at all of the details (or patience) necessary to make any of his dreams come true. Story of his life.

  5. steve says:

    Narcissism. Even for a politician, Newt is incredibly narcissistic, so Newt’s motivation is easy to understand. I fail to understand his backers. Maybe there is some truth to the idea they are doing this to help Romney and make sure Santorum does not get the nomination.

    Steve

  6. Scott F. says:

    “We have to go back to being an America that has big dreams and then liberates the American people to chase their dreams,” he told the crowd of several hundred.

    As hard as this is for me to say, I think Gingrich is right about this. The singularly brilliant Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium and space exploration cheerleader, has said almost the same thing regarding Kennedy’s call to put a man on the moon. An inspiring objective cultivates innovation. His argument is a very strong one, if you ask me.

    I think Gingrich sincerely believes he is this champion of the big ideas that will save civilization. The problem for Gingrich, as it is with most Republicans, is that big dreams are completely incompatible with the “we’re broke” rhetoric of the GOP. The “big ideas’ end up coming off as so much BS.

  7. Fiona says:

    If the Republican party wants to commit suicide, nominating Newt Gingrich would be a surefire way to go about it. He alternates between playing the whiny, morose victim and the grandiose, awe-inspiring visionary–a true narcissist if ever there was. The more exposure he gets, the more dislikeable and downright delusional he seems. While part of me would love to see Gingrich debate Obama, who’d take Gingrich down like the fly-weight he is, another part thinks he needs to be carted off to the asylum before he embarrasses himself any further.

  8. DRS says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Maybe Newt is suffering from early dementia? He’ll be 70 soon, you know.

    This is an interesting point. Quite seriously: what if a candidate were not in his right mind, either for physical or mental health reasons? How could he/she be identified and removed from the race?

    With all the elections we have in this country, it’s a question that will arise someday.

  9. sam says:

    But don’t tell Newt Gingrich that, he’s convinced himself he can win

    Reminds me of another angry, delusional old man:

    No, you unnatural hags,
    I will have such revenges on you both,
    That all the world shall–I will do such things,–
    What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
    The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep
    No, I’ll not weep:
    I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
    Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
    Or ere I’ll weep.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: What about the possiblity that Romney is paying Gingrich to stay in the race and split the non-Romney vote? Or am I being too cynical?

  11. WR says:

    @DRS: “This is an interesting point. Quite seriously: what if a candidate were not in his right mind, either for physical or mental health reasons? How could he/she be identified and removed from the race? With all the elections we have in this country, it’s a question that will arise someday. ”

    Arise someday? Those of us who are over thirty have already lived through it. Go back and look at Reagan’s second term.

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Scott F.: My thought on Newt’s “big ideas” schtick is that the problem isn’t that we don’t have the money or that the GOP is too pessimistic. The problem is that the general public has actually seen the moon (and Mars) now and knows that “the colony boys” at NASA and guys like Tyson have been bogarding that doobie for too long.

    But really, colonizing the moon or Mars isn’t really that hard. All we have to bring is the water and the atmosphere and the soil and the plants and the seeds and the microbes for the soil and method of controlling the temperature on the surface better and we’ll be all set.

  13. Kolohe says:

    Newt loves nothing else in the world more than Newt, and campaigning is like a daily birthday present to himself

    Really though, what else is Newt going to do? If someone else were paying the bills, I’d travel around the country pontificating and blabbering, too.