The former House Speaker’s Facebook friends and Twitter followers will be the first to know, on Wednesday, that the former House Speaker is – who saw this coming? – running for president. Gingrich has zero chance of winning the Republican nomination. Right? He has too much political baggage, including but not limited to: a bunch of marriages – and messy divorces (complete with gratuitous cruelty: he served divorce papers on his first wife while she lay in bed recovering from surgery for cancer); a tendency to pop off that suggests John McCain-level instability; a record of flip-flops that makes Mitt Romney look doctrinaire; the clinging stench of the Lewinsky business; ethics issues … and on, and on. Moreover, he does an even worse job than most pols of concealing the colossal egotism gets him out of bed in the morning and up in the nation’s business. But there you have it. He’s running.
All that said, one reason not to discount him out of hand is that since getting booted by his House colleagues, he has “built an empire of outside groups” organized under the umbrella of American Solutions, and this furnishes him with “a publicity and policy machine without parallel among his likely Republican rivals,” notes the WSJ. In fact, Gingrich has used his network to pull together 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raise $32 million in the past two years–more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined.
But, organizational prowess notwithstanding, it’s hard to see Gingrich overcoming the burden that comes with being Newt Gingrich. “No question Newt is an ideas machine, and he’ll add intellectual heft to the debate,” Republican operative Mark McKinnon tells the Journal. But “he’s just been around the track one too many times. At a time when people are hungry for something different, new and refreshing, Newt just feels stale.”
• Gingrich’s Secret Weapon: Newt Inc. [Wall Street Journal]
• Newt Gingrich to announce presidential bid [Washington Post]