The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Newt Gingrich

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Born: June 17, 1943, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Spouse(s):Jackie Battley (1962-1981), Marianne Ginther (1981-2000), Callista Gingrich(2000-?)

Children: Two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren.

Residence : Carrollton, Georgia (79-93), Marrietta, Georgia (93-99) McLean Virginia (Current)

Alma mater:Emory University,Tulane University

Profession:College Professor, author, Member of Congress

Religion: Roman Catholic

Political Career :

  • Two unsuccessful runs for Congress in Georgia’s sixth congressional district in 1974 and 1976
  • Elected to Congress in 1978 and subsequently served for 8 more terms until 1999
  • From 1989 to 1995 he served as the 16th United States House Minority Whip
  • From 1995 to 1999 he served as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Throughout his continuing career, Gingrich has proven to be a prolific and top selling author. Most of his novels are comprised of innovative, conservative policy initiatives and directions that are rooted in the founding principle of our nation. His first book was published in January of 1982. It was entitledThe Government’s Role in Solving Societal Problems and offered a solid foundation for conservative leadership in America. But his breakout book came in 1985 withWindow of Opportunity, a profound compilation of of path to prosperity in America.

Other works include:

  • Contract with America (co-editor).
  • Restoring the Dream
  • Quotations from Speaker Newt
  • To Renew America
  • Lessons Learned The Hard Way
  • Presidential Determination Regarding Certification of the Thirty-Two Major Illicit Narcotics Producing and Transit Countries
  • Saving Lives and Saving Money
  • Winning the Future
  • Rediscovering God in America
  • A Contract with the Earth
  • Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis
  • Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works
  • To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine

Newt has also written a substantial number of historical novels:

  • 1945
  • Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War
  • Grant Comes East Thomas Dunne Books
  • Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory
  • Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th
  • Days of Infamy

See a more detailed bio of Newt here on his White House 2012 presidential contender page

Newt is probably not going to be Mitt Romney’s choice as a running mate. While he is consistently considered the smartest man in the room, he is also one of the loosest cannon in any room and although he can easily bring some very positive qualities to the ticket, it his baggage that may  prevent us from every seeing how positive those qualities may be on the G.O.P. presidential ticket.

Newt would certainly be impressive in any vice presidential debates, although it is more than likely that the Obama ticket will only allow one vice presidential debate, if even that. Newt would also certainly be able to condense the election down to several very succinct and powerful words that the average voter would be able to relate to in a most convincing way.

But Newt will also shoot from the hip and in what will undoubtedly be a highly negative campaign waged with the near billion dollar campaign war chest of the Obama ticket, any stray bullets fired off by Newt could become lethal distractions that the Romney campaign can ill afford.  Just having Newt on the ticket will be a very distraction.  The left’s venom of Newt is so strong, that a daily rush of personal name calling and attacks will be discussed in a pro-liberal mainstream media to such a great extent, that the Romney-Gingrich message would be overshadowed and muted.

As a play it safe kind of guy, Newt is probably too much of a risk for Romney’s liking and Newt’s long and accomplished political career is most likely open to the type of criticism that Mitt Romney does not want to deal with. Therefore, despite Newt’s ability to compensate for several of Mitt’s shortcomings, such as a lack of innovation and boldness as well as a lack of any popular anti-establishment sentiments, Newt will probably not be Vice President anytime soon.  Add to that a bitter campaign between the two of them and what you have is a personal relationship that does not preclude the idea from consideration, but is not exactly conducive to the creation of an enthusiastic partnership at the top of the presidential ticket.

Pros:

  • Articulate and has a great capacity for shaping issues in a way that makes the conservative approach to our problems seem like common sense
  • Has an anti-establishmentarian streak that can appeal to independents and T.E.A. Party activists and compensate for Romney’s establishment image
  • Great in debate
  • Brings unappalled experience to the ticket
  • Would help Romney among Southern conservatives who are not comfortable with him

Cons:

  • Has personal baggage which can easily become a distraction in the campaign
  • Has been a harsh critic of Mitt Romney and his policies
  • Shoots from the hip and can be a very loose cannon
  • Has the potential to overshadow Mitt Romney

Overall Assesment:

In some ways, Newt would be the perfect Vice President. Having once been the second in line for presidency, his experience is invaluable. He is also incredibly articulate and dogged in his defense of conservative values and tireless in his efforts to find innovative solutions to our problems and ways to remove government from our everyday lives. But Newt has an ego problem and it often gets in his way and it is that ego problem which Mitt Romney will probably not allow to get in the way of his winning the White House.  So when it comes to Newt Gingrich, he would not be the perfect Vice President for Mitt Romney.

Furthermore; while Newt was relatively competitive in the first half of the primary process, he never quite caught on and proved that he can’t be even be counted on as a favorite son of the South who could motivate those Southern voters uninspired by Romney.  And that is an important factor because for Mitt Romney to win this election, he will need to have the Republican base come out to vote for him in near record numbers.

Overall, while the selection of Newt would be a good one from a policy, management, and issue oriented angle, from a political perspective regarding an election, Newt is not the best choice for Mitt.

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Some Past Key Votes

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article One

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – President Clinton was charged with willfully providing perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning one or more of the following:: – …

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article Three

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – -Accuses President Clinton of obstructing justice by coaching White House Secretary Betty Currie in potential testimony, encouraging Monica Lewinsky to lie under oath and by …

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article Two

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – – Accuses President Clinton of committing perjury on December 23, 1997, during his testimony in a Federal civil rights action brought against him by Paula …

More Key Votes

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Gingrich on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Health Care
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Civil Rights Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Jobs Welfare & Poverty Corporations
Energy & Oil Environment Technology Principles & Values

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Today should be it

Mitt Romney should easily sweep a handful of blue states today, including New York and Pennsylvania.  If he does, I think the staunchest of conservative holdouts are ready to call it for Romney.  The only thing that will change the trajectory of the primary at this point would be if Romney’s performance is weak in any of these states.

Is that possible?  To a certain extent.  With Romney already the presumptive nominee, media coverage of the April 24th primaries has been minimal.  Additionally, any inhibition towards voting one’s conscience should be gone.   Romney’s refocusing on Obama is certainly not unwarranted confidence, but does signal an end to his scorched earth campaign that ravished his closest rivals.

Will Gingrich show any sort of proof of life in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, or Rhode Island?  Don’t count on it.  To be sure, there is a conservative underground in each of these states, most strongly in Pennsylvania.  But at the same time, they have been so marginalized by the liberal culture that “most conservative who can actually win” is deeply engrained.

My prediction is that Newt doesn’t break 40% in any of these states.  If that is the case, I am ready to call the 2012 primary for Mitt Romney.  However, if Newt can somehow mitigate his losses and mathematically survive today, he has some friendly states coming up in May.  He may still not survive to the convention fight he is counting on, but he would have a chance.  And something he hasn’t tasted in months: momentum.

Bad News for Romney?

Romney declared today to be a good day for his campaign.  The media easily agreed, following their template that Romney is already the nominee.  However, the good news may end up being all for Gingrich.  The long dead in the water conservative finally has what he has needed for a second resurgence: no competition for the social conservative vote.

In fact, Newt made the point today that he would love to get Santorum’s delegates.  Newt is right, he is far closer to what Santorum’s delegates want than Romney.  While Romney is far away ahead of both candidates on their own, together their delegates number more than 400.

Gingrich’s next hope for a good day won’t come until May 8th, and Romney is sure to sweep the blue states that vote on April 24th.  In fact, nearly certain victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island could seal the deal.

On the other hand, Gingrich could start a come back in Indiana and could win North Carolina and West Virginia with some hard work.  In fact, May should favor the remaining social conservative, culminating with the 155 delegates in Texas.  May could be enough to provide Gingrich with the convention floor battle he’s been hoping for.

On the other hand, without a strong ground game, and with limited funds and no media recognition that he even still exists, Newt may never have a chance at realizing the potential the Santorum exit has given him.

Ohio Made Super Tuesday a Superficial Nail Biter

 Bookmark and Share  While Rick Santorum’s Super Tuesday results were far better than predicted, they did little to make a difference other than in the headlines we will be reading and in the cable news teasers that we will be hearing.

While it is true that the results from the ten state Super Tuesday contest can allow one t0 go so far as to say that Rick Santorum came out a winner,  his clear victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and his second place finish in Ohio that was too close for comfort for  Mitt Romney, have undoubtedly established Rick Santorum as the other man in what seems to be a two man race and it will go a long way to energize both Santorum supporters and Romney haters.  However, the psychological perception, as undoubtedly important as it is, does not change the reality that Mitt Romney has created for himself and despite himself.

Although it is too early to establish precise electoral vote counts after yesterday’s returns, the combined results of the nearly 20 states that held binding contests to date, make it clear that Mitt Romney has a much clearer shot at the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination, than do his remaining rivals in the race. On Wednesday, Romney’s campaign chief, Rich Beeson, will make a rare public appearance designed to stress that if one does the math, Mitt is the only candidate left in the race who can realistically collect enough remaining delegates to win the nomination.  While mathematics does make it for possible for Santorum to win the nomination, reality does not because it dictates that Santorum would have to rack up at least 60% of all the remaining delegates.  To perform that well, Mitt Romney would have to be caught in bed with an underage boy and Newt Gingrich would have to be caught cheating on his latest wife, Callista and neither are likely to occur between now and the Republican National Convention in September.

Yet Santorum’s outperforming and Romney’s underperforming in many Super Tuesday states, ends nothing except the unlikely ability for Newt Gingrich to comeback.

For Newt, Tuesday’s win in Georgia, the state which he represented throughout his entire political career, was a gimme and barely enabled him to call himself a regional candidate.  Losing to Santorum and Romney in other Southern, Super Tuesday states, denied Newt even that title.

As for Santorum, he has become the last real hope for those who wish to deny Mitt Romney the G.O.P. nomination.  It will allow Santorum to continue raising decent amounts of money and will provide him with a small degree of momentum as we head in to the next contests of Kansas and Mississippi, two states that should be fertile territory for Santorum.  In between those two states, several American territories will be voting and Romney should easily win them, but Santorum’s anticipated strong showing in Kansas and Mississippi will most likely make Illinois the next major and possibly decisive contest to come up.  If Santorum does as well as expected in the next two states and manages to make Illinois as close as Ohio and Michigan were, or worse yet for Romney, was to defeat him there, the race will remain in flux for weeks to come.  At least until Texas on April 3rd, and ultimately the Mid-Atlantic version of Super Tuesday, on April 24th when Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island vote on the same day.

Still though, all the the numbers are on Mitt Romney’s side.

Santorum may be able to hang on much the same way that Mike Huckabee did in 2008 after Mitt Romney saw the writing on the wall and realized that the numbers were on McCain’s side.  But hanging on and winning are two different things.  Sure Santorum may go for a ride a little longer, but unless the small chance of brokered convention arises, he has no shot at the nomination.  And in a brokered convention, with the establishment clearly behind Romney, Santorum still has no chance at winning the nomination.  Even though the race is competeitve with Santorum doing far better than ever expected or predicted, any perception that the outcome of the nomination is in doubt is a deceptive one.

However; the  problem is that just having the numbers on your side does not mean you can win the one thing that that all this is for.  The presidency.

As I pointed out, Mitt Romney saw that John McCain had the numbers in 2008 and dropped out.  But Barack Obama went on to defeat McCain.  In 1996 after winning only 4 states, even Pat Buchanan saw that he could not defeat Bob Dole for the nomination.  But Bill Clinton defeated Dole.  Those defeats occurred because the eventual nominees won the nomination not because they inspired people, but because they were just more acceptable than the other choices.  A similar scenario exists now with with Mitt Romney.  But in some ways its even worse, because a substantial numbers of conservative oriented voters and anti-establishment types, just refuse to accept Mitt Romney.  At least so far.

Ultimately, Mitt Romney has to begin winning Republicans and Independents over because they like him, not because they don’t like his opponents.  If that is the formula Romney is banking on to beat Barack Obama with in November, then let us all just throw in the towel now because it won’t work.   With a billion dollars to spend, President Obama will have the ability to not only make people briefly like him, he will also have the ability to make people hate Mitt Romney, something which Romney seems to make easy to do.

Meanwhile, regardless of how exciting the results of Super Tuesday seem to be on the surface, below the surface is a reality that dictates a fate which gives the Republican presidential nomination to Mitt Romney.  And while Rick Santorum can tempt fate, no matter how promising he may look after Super Tuesday, he will not be able to change fate and we Republicans can only hope and pray that Mitt Romney eventually gives us more reason to vote him than just the fact that he is not Barack Obama.

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Why Drudge is Headlining Newt

Romney barely eeked out a win in his homestate Michigan.  Newt barely registered.  Judging from Arizona and Michigan, which Newt conceded before they even started, Newt is less likely than Ron Paul to be the nominee.  So why is Drudge front paging a 2% Gallup poll increase for Newt as a third comeback?  Simple, Drudge wants Romney to win.

It’s no secret Drudge is a Romney supporter.  Santorum has Romney on the ropes, especially when heading into some of the southern more conservative states.  If Newt’s votes in Michigan went to Santorum, Romney would have lost.  What has kept Romney in this race is a split vote between Newt and Santorum.  Romney needs that split to survive.

I wish Newt would make another comeback.  He is the best candidate with the best ideas.  But don’t get your hopes up.  Romney wants a perceived Newt resurgence almost as much as Newt wants a real resurgence.

 

Wishful thinking?

Santorum’s Campaign Against Himself

Bookmark and ShareBeing a political junkie I do spend time checking out the campaigns of any and all candidates I can manage to follow in local, state and federal races. It’s not necessarily the politics I enjoy as much as the campaigns themselves. I enjoy strategizing and predicting where, why and what candidates do or will do in their campaigns. I even follow those from the “D” word persuasion. As they say, know thy enemy.

There are moves that baffle pundits and followers alike in each and every campaign. No candidate is above or beyond making a move or even a gaffe now and then that leave some scratching their heads in disbelief. As the 2012 GOP candidates rumble through what has been a very tough primary process so far there is one candidate that has stood out to me, at least the past couple of weeks, as being stuck in a perpetual ‘WTF?’ moment. That man is former PA Senator Rick Santorum.

The first issue the Senator got caught up in is what I like to refer to as the social issue wheel of doom. If it was intentional on the part of the Obama administration and the Democrats is up in the air (as a campaign junkie I would like to believe it was intentional) but Santorum took the bait hook, line and sinker. Don’t get me wrong, social issues are important to the Republican base. They are especially important to the evangelical portion of that base to which the Senator appears to be the favored candidate. A base that is well aware of the Senator’s stances on all of the social issues they hold dear. It is because of that that I am baffled as to why a candidate with the experience of Rick Santorum would let himself get caught in the social issue whirlpool? He doesn’t have to convince the part of the GOP base that is concerned with social issues that he is their man. There may be a few Newt supporters out there that he can try and turn but if social issues were number one with them they probably have already moved to the Senator’s camp. The only thing getting into a discussion about Rick Santorum’s stance on social issues can do is turn off the independent voter that any nominee will need to beat the President in November.

Again, I state that social issues are important in any GOP primary. But doesn’t the Senator already have that vote locked in? Wouldn’t he be better served to go after the moderate republicans who are more concerned with fiscal issues and the size of government than to be preaching to the choir who has already named him choir leader? Recent Rassmussen polling has him behind Obama by 2 points nationally while rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, yes Ron Paul, were polling up on Obama.

Although I disagree on many things with the Senator he does have some ideas that would 100% be better than the solutions, or lack thereof, being offered by the current Democrat administration. Every candidate in the GOP field would be light years better than what we have now. What I want in the GOP nominee is someone who can go head to head with the machine that will be the Obama campaign come November. In all fairness the Senator has stated that simply because he holds a personal belief, does not mean he will force that belief on the American people if elected President. I believe him. However in the soundbite world in which we live that information will not be stated or considered by the general electorate and most certainly not by his opponent. In an era of bumper sticker campaigns it is probably not a good idea, fair or not, to allow bumper stickers to hold your personal belief on the case of rape and abortion. The “JFK’s separation of church and state speech made Rick Santorum throw up” t-shirt will probably be a good seller at the Democrat convention.

The social issue wheel of doom aside what seemed to get the ire of even the social base Republicans was his Michigan robo calls for the Democrat vote. In watching the Senator’s Facebook pages and posts today he has been catching the normal flack from the Romney, Paul and Gingrich supporters but what surprised me was the blowback that was there from those that seemed to be supporters (or former as some pointed out) of the Senator. Now I am aware that I said he needs to reach out to the moderates to win in November. However, in reaching out to the Democrats he handed Mitt Romney the steering wheel of his campaign. I mean in all honesty when Michael Moore comes out and says he is going to vote for you so Romney doesn’t win…..you just kicked yourself in the proverbial junk. Romney’s people are already printing posters which point out that the Democrats are scared of him. Scared enough to vote for Rick Santorum who they feel will be an easy win for Barack Obama.

And after the social issue wheel of doom I fear they will be right. And Rick Santorum has no one to blame but his campaign against himself.

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Reality Check

As we head into Michigan and Arizona, the Republican party needs a reality check.  Fortunately, here it is:

Rick Santorum

The media is doing their best to paint Santorum as some sort of radical conservative religious whacko.  Hardly.  Santorum on social issues is saying what most Republicans are thinking.  The thing is, conservatives are scared to death of Obama winning re-election and many will gladly sacrifice what they believe to take the candidate everyone is telling them can win.  But here’s the thing, Obama’s economy has about a 26% approval rating and any Republican looks amazing economically next to Obama.  If Obama wins, it will be because he runs an incredible marketing campaign, race bates, and paints his opponents as somehow more socially radical than he is.  It won’t be because Obama saved the economy, unless moderates and independents are even more gullible and stupid than we thought.

What should keep Republicans up at night about Santorum is his passion on Iran.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon.  I think they will use it on Israel if they do.  But America is not ready to commit to another war.  I think we would have to see another 3,000 US civilians die on one day before the majority of Americans get the stomach for what Santorum has been talking about.  That includes what he has talked about with central America.

Mitt Romney

Romney is uninspiring by design.  His economic plan is a mixture of timid populism.  In the end, what he is running on is his record of creating a great deal of personal wealth and success, as well as his management skills.  But Warren Buffett, another populist, has also made great personal success through good management, and I think he would be a terrible President.  If this election were solely about the economy,the DNC would be looking for a new candidate and Romney would already be the GOP candidate.  The fact is, as long as Romneyites continue to downplay social issues, they will continue to loose the support of the majority of conservatives who actually care about social issues.  Believe it or not, many Americans on both sides of the aisle hold the value of their social and religious issues higher than the economy.   For example, many pro-lifers would sacrifice a great deal of wealth to stop the murder of the unborn.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Mitt Romney is the fact that even his economic plan has been as malleable as his social stances.  What was supposed to be Romney’s conservative strength has instead turned into calls to raise the minimum wage and tax the rich to redistribute to the poor.  In each case, this was a reaction from the Romney campaign to criticism from the left.

Newt Gingrich

Newt is the smartest candidate and he has the best ideas.  It is no secret that I believe this.  But Newt is easily destroyed by opponents and the media.  He has tried to run a cheap campaign with little or no ground game, which makes victory as visionary as a base on the moon.  Part of Newt’s problem is that now his electability is questionable instead of Santorum’s.  Newt isn’t going to win anything until he re-establishes himself as the only electable anti-Romney.  Every time Santorum wins another state, Newt’s chances dim even more.  Get ready for things to start looking real bad as Santorum wins Arizona and maybe Michigan.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Newt Gingrich is how easily he is destroyed by negative campaigning and how weak his campaign structure is.  If Newt can’t beat the unelectable Santorum and uninspiring Romney in every state, how would he propose to beat Obama?

Ron Paul

No one ever thought Ron Paul would win, except maybe his 10% who also think that being obnoxious will win people over.  However, it has been noted that Paul seems to have a cozy relationship with Mitt Romney.  Perhaps Paul also thinks only Romney can beat Obama.  Or, as some have suggested, maybe Paul has a secret deal with Romney to secure a VP slot for him or his son.  Actually, a Romney/Rand Paul ticket would be an incredibly smart idea and might be the only thing that can bring the extremes of the Republican party back together.  The only thing, of course, other than Obama himself.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Ron Paul is his Iran policy.  Yeah, maybe we aren’t ready to go to war in Iran like we did in Iraq.  But I also don’t think most Americans are ready to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that Iran isn’t a threat.  I think fewer Republicans have an appetite to continue the World America Apology Tour under a different name.

Barack Obama

The real reality check for Republicans should be a refocusing on Barack Obama.  Believe it or not, there are people out there who support him.  After Solyndra, Fast n Furious, reversing Mexico City policy, forcing religious organizations to provide abortion pills, Obamacare, and everything else Obama has done, there are actually cars on the road with Obama 2012 stickers on them.  Somehow, Obama still has a shot in this race.

What should keep Republicans awake at night about Barack Obama is that despite all that he has done to this country and to the rule of law and constitution, there are people who still support him.  The media refuses to vet Obama, even ignoring his radical social positions on abortion.  Meanwhile, in desperation Santorum is releasing economic plans that are going ignored by the party and media.  GOP candidates are doing a great job of getting their message out.  Unfortunately, their message is that each other suck.  Let’s hope that Republicans will find a way to inspire the entire base, and expose Obama on fiscal AND social issues.

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