On Newt Gingrich’s bad night and chances going forward

When I explained my vote for Newt Gingrich in Georgia’s presidential primary, I described him as “the candidate who is clearest and most effective at offering a different direction” than the one in which Barack Obama is leading us. For the past eight days, GOP votes in a number of states expected to be sympathetic to the former Speaker have been proving me wrong about the “most effective” part, at least.

The results last night in Alabama and Mississippi were dreadful for Gingrich. Not only did Rick Santorum beat him in each state, but in each state Gingrich’s vote total put him closer to third-place Mitt Romney than to Santorum. This, following results on last week’s Super Tuesday in which Gingrich finished third in both Oklahoma and Tennessee.

One small sign of Gingrich’s troubles connecting with voters: He came in third in Madison County, Ala., home of NASA’s Huntsville space and rocket campus, despite his repeated (and oft-ridiculed) comments in favor of a robust U.S. space program. In much the same way, he lost Brevard County, Fla., home to the Kennedy Space Center, by 10 percentage points back in January.

The public comments made by Gingrich and his supporters last night indicate he will press forward with a strategy to deny Romney an outright majority of delegates and then, presumably, win the nomination on the convention floor. While there are good and bad arguments made about the wisdom of a convention fight in late August, clearly the worst outcome would be for that fight to result in a nominee whom Republican primary voters had already rejected at the ballot box.

If the strategy is simply to deny Romney the nomination, at this point Gingrich’s continued candidacy works against that. By denying Santorum outright majorities in states like Alabama, which give nearly all their delegates to a candidate with more than 50 percent of the vote but split them in case of a mere plurality, he is ensuring that Romney continues to pick up delegates even in states where he is relatively weak.

The calls for the primary to wrap up completely are premature, because there is plenty of time left for Republicans to heal the wounds inflicted along the way and close ranks around the eventual winner. But voters Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee have made clear that the time is drawing near for a three-man race to become a two-man race. (Obligatory Ron Paul note: The Texas congressman’s strategy of amassing delegates in caucus states has fizzled, and with it his chances of being a power broker at the GOP convention.)

I don’t regret my vote for Gingrich, because at the time there was a path for him from Georgia to the convention in Tampa. That path is now sealed off. It’s a free country, and he can continue campaigning if he wishes. But it’s no longer a campaign with a chance of winning.

– By Kyle Wingfield

181 comments Add your comment

Steve Thompson

March 14th, 2012
7:44 am

Here is some background information about the beliefs of Rick Santorum’s ultra-wealthy backers and how much they have donated to his campaign:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2012/03/rick-santorums-near-billionaire-backers.html

The populist movement that elected America’s leadership in the past is finished.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 14th, 2012
7:51 am

Steve, ever heard of George Soros?

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 14th, 2012
7:54 am

Romney is going to have to move toward the right to win the nomination now. He’s shown in the past, though, that he’s not so willing to bend his principles (standing by Romneycare, for example) in order to broaden his appeal.

Becky

March 14th, 2012
7:55 am

Enter your comments here

Becky

March 14th, 2012
7:56 am

The Elite Media has spoken and bitten doughboy on his fat a@@. buh bye.

AmVet

March 14th, 2012
8:05 am

Shades of 2008 all over again. (I think I’m havin’ a deja vu, man.)

Almost to a T.

A semi-loathed RINO and a host of fatally flawed, unelectable has beens and never wases.

And the dysfunctional GOP tries to put lipstick on it all.

Republicans, prepare yourselves for a second McCaining…

Tommy Gunn

March 14th, 2012
8:06 am

Newt stands no chance against the media. While no HE did not win, neither did anyone else! What is being played as a Sanatorum :”sweep” is in fact a “tie’. He gets no press coverage, because he is the most feared candidate of the three by both the press and Obama.
A fight on the floor is EXACTLY what we need, and MAYBE we will get someone who can win, such as Jeb Bush, Christie, etc. Romney= 4 more years of Obama!

Gm

March 14th, 2012
8:06 am

Ok, Ala, Miss, had the common sense not to vote for this immoral, ethics violation person, hello Georgia we are talking Ala Miss, what does this tell you about the conservatives idiots of this state who voted for this man?

And you conservatvies voters in Georgia wonder why people around the world think you are a joke””””

ByteMe

March 14th, 2012
8:07 am

When I explained my vote for Newt Gingrich in Georgia’s presidential primary, I described him as “the candidate who is clearest and most effective at offering a different direction” than the one in which Barack Obama is leading us.

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” — “Hungry Joe” Lewis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_Joe)

Kyle thought the Newt book tour and fantasy campaign was real. Sucker.

sheepdawg

March 14th, 2012
8:07 am

moon bat newt is done!!! hahahahahaha!! ayotolla sanitorium vs. the wall street mormon. will be fun to watch the GOP eat itself and die a slow death between now and november!!!

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
8:09 am

I was a Newt guy until he besmirched Paul Ryan’s brilliant blueprint as “right-wing social engineering.” Newt is a brilliant guy who is too intolerant of, and too often blind to, the genius of others. While I voted for Santorum, I am not persuaded that there is any meaningful policy difference among the three potential nominees. As Mitt has almost half the number required for nomination, twice that of Santorum and four times that of Newt, I think it is time to close ranks behind Mitt. Here’s hoping he will select a hard young conservative for VP (Rubio or Ryan would fit the bill.)

Becky

March 14th, 2012
8:10 am

I firmly believe their convention will be a travesty.

Becky

March 14th, 2012
8:13 am

I don’t understand why everyone talks about how brilliant Newt is. Really? He hasn’t shown me anything other than being a loathsome, immoral person. Where is the supposed brilliance? He taught one college class at a tiny little school no one has heard of in backwater north georgia that even the esteemed Jay Bookman found hard to stomach. He was tossed from the Speaker’s job. What else is there?

BW

March 14th, 2012
8:15 am

Kyle….there was no plan for Gingrich going out of Georgia….Santorum had already seized the real momentum. The appearance that Newt is funded by a single billionaire doesn’t help matters. It was fun while it lasted…he can say he won the state he represented, the ‘real America’ part of Florida, and that state to the east of us. But now it’s time to accept the facts….as you say he is actually helping Romney at this point. I actually want to see Santroum v Obama in the fall….I want to watch that debate badly…I want to see how or if Santorum attempts to pivot towards the middle and whether or not the attack ads will write themselves from this extended primary season.

BW

March 14th, 2012
8:18 am

ragnar

Do you think those seniors would vote for whomever publicly endorsed the Paul Ryan plan?
Do seniors on Medicare really care about deficits if trimming the deficit involves reducing Medicare subsidies?

sheepdawg

March 14th, 2012
8:18 am

Ok, Ala, Miss, had the common sense not to vote for this immoral, ethics violation person, hello Georgia we are talking Ala Miss, what does this tell you about the conservatives idiots of this state who voted for this man?

And you conservatvies voters in Georgia wonder why people around the world think you are a joke””””

BRAVO!

Del

March 14th, 2012
8:22 am

Kyle, good commentary…it’s time for Gingrich to bow out.

SLIM065

March 14th, 2012
8:24 am

Let Newt stay in so Santorum doesn’t get close to the nomination. He is economically moderate at best and is very close to being a : freddom of religion but not freedom from religion” person.

There is a reason he lost so badly in PA. And he talks of the establishment in DC…was he not a part of that establishment until he was thrown out in a landslide?

At least I have heard, in recent weeks, Newt offer up big ideas and be clear on his ideas. And he could actually debate Presbo. Hearing Romney and Santorum in the GOP debates was very, very hard to listen to.

JDW

March 14th, 2012
8:30 am

@Kyle…”But it’s no longer a campaign with a chance of winning.”

Point is, it never was.

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
8:30 am

Dear BW @ 8:18, fair questions, “Do you think those seniors would vote for whomever publicly endorsed the Paul Ryan plan? Do seniors on Medicare really care about deficits if trimming the deficit involves reducing Medicare subsidies?”

There is little question that the democrat play-book assumes that senior citizens are both incredibly self-centered and short-sighted, in that they would prefer to see social security and medicare both go broke before they would accept actuarial changes for future beneficiaries. I think that view in error, and believe most seniors would accept changes for future beneficiaries.

Tom

March 14th, 2012
8:31 am

One word-EGO.
That’s why Newt is still in the race. And Kyle is correct. Gingrich will be the reason Romney will be the Republican nominee. It’s beginning to look a lot like “four more years”.

BW

March 14th, 2012
8:32 am

ragnar

Based on what? I don’t think it’s just seniors who are self-centered….everyone wants what they want…whomever can send lobbyists to Capitol Hill seems to get it nowadays

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
8:32 am

Re-posting this comment from another thread yesterday, ICYMI:

Folks, I’ve paid less attention to the comments thread the past week or so, for a variety of reasons, but I’m taking a few steps right now to get things back on track:

1. Do What???? and GodHatesTrash Superstar are in moderation, effective immediately, for spending far too much time attacking others and calling names. If they want their comments to be posted, those comments need to refrain from name-calling.

2. As always, be forewarned: Anyone who posts comments gloating about Do What and Trash Superstar will also be put in moderation.

3. I’m going to be spending more time monitoring comments, taking down juvenile or offensive ones, and putting others in moderation. Some of you almost made the list, so shape up if you want to stay off it.

Some of you have tried to help police things by calling out the offenders, and I appreciate and encourage that. I apologize for taking so long to take these corrective steps.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
8:35 am

BW @ 8:15: I think you’re forgetting how different the race looked after Santorum ended up losing Michigan. After challenging Romney there but then failing to close the deal, he looked like yet another Pawlenty, Perry or Cain — not ready for his close-up when it came. Gingrich had managed to hang around in spite of a couple of falls, so it looked like he might have more staying power. As I wrote in the OP, the results of the past eight days have proved otherwise.

Aquagirl

March 14th, 2012
8:37 am

I firmly believe their convention will be a travesty.

I’m getting the popcorn ready.

What makes this Republican death by a thousand cuts sweeter is it’s the result of “corporations are PEOPLE!” idiocy. Primaries used to coalesce around the winner because losers couldn’t get enough donations to stay in the race. Now trash like Gingrich can stay around long past the expiration date and even stink up the convention. All they need is immense ego and a sugar daddy billionaire.

America thanks you for your vote, Kyle, you’ve done your part to cripple the Republican party. Maybe they’ll return to the land of sanity after their own corporate-worship philosophy bites them on the @$$.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 14th, 2012
8:45 am

Guess that moon base will have to wait…

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 14th, 2012
8:47 am

Newt still needs more material for his book tour this fall.

BW

March 14th, 2012
8:48 am

Kyle

It simply amazes me that Santorum is even competing given the ragtag feel of his campaign. I mean Mitt has followed all the traditional rules….he’s waited his turn, he’s been running for the past six years effectively, he’s locked down the establishment endorsements…he has to curse to himself every night! As far as Gingrich, he wasn’t even competitive in Michigan if I recall correctly and hasn’t been competitive outside of any state that touches Georgia. Clearly there is a “not Romney” vote that has been bouncing from candidate to candidate and Newt did seize that vote for a while but so did The Donald, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry as you noted. Gingrich unfortunately overplayed his hand and proved not to be ready either. Mathematically this race is between Santorum and Romney….Romney’s strategy is starting to remarkably look like Obama 2008’s strategy of maximizing delgates without maximizing wins. Gringich has no hope of securing unbound delegates at the convention….I am waiting see if Santorum can compete and win in California, New York, and Texas with the winner take all status of those states.

Becky

March 14th, 2012
8:56 am

BW-I would wager the voters in California and New York are a bit more sophisticated and learned than the deep south and will vote accordingly for Romney. Texas will vote for crazy.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
8:56 am

This sums up Santorum candidacy in one paragraph.

Santorum’s appeal is limited to just one thing. He’s godly. That’s it. He doesn’t really have any big ideas, he’s served without much distinction in the U.S. Senate (a body known far and wide most recently for rather unexceptional service), and have I mentioned that he’s godly? Santorum is the perfect sucker candidate for GOP primary voter; attractive in the primary late at night after a few too many drinks – ugly in the general election the next morning when sober reality sets in.

BW

March 14th, 2012
9:00 am

Becky

I completely agree….Romney wins in the suburbs of most cities…I see a walk-over in New York just due to the City….and I see a walkover in Southern California as well.

Dave G

March 14th, 2012
9:08 am

I see few commentators pointing out how Romney has done his linear regression and is putting his resources where they do him the most good. Romney won more delegates yesterday then any of the other candidates, in spite of his loss. Isn’t that what we want in a President, someone who can make the best caclulated decisions for the nation? Romney is the best bet to take the entire nation to the right rather than splitting the nation. He’s got the ability to bring things together. We need that right now more than ever. We can fuss and fume about the left but unless we can bring them to the right what does it matter? Let find candidates who can appeal to the left and help them come right. Romney looks like that candidate at this point. Kyle, who do you support now? Maybe I missed it but would like to know.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 14th, 2012
9:10 am

The extreme conservatives rightly see that Mitt isn’t a conservative at heart.

Ted

March 14th, 2012
9:10 am

Santorum would be Goldwater in 64. Ike Romney is the best chance to take out a guy who, for the good of the country, needs to be gone.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 14th, 2012
9:17 am

Bring back the 40-hour work week

This is what work looks like now. It’s been this way for so long that most American workers don’t realize that for most of the 20th century, the broad consensus among American business leaders was that working people more than 40 hours a week was stupid, wasteful, dangerous and expensive — and the most telling sign of dangerously incompetent management to boot.

http://www.salon.com/2012/03/14/bring_back_the_40_hour_work_week/

Amen

Don't Tread

March 14th, 2012
9:19 am

“Ike Romney is the best chance to take out a guy who, for the good of the country, needs to be gone.”

I agree Obama needs to be gone for the good of the country, but would Romney be much better? I don’t see it happening, unless other Republicans mold him into shape a little bit.

It’s too bad Gingrich created more than his fair share of infidelity problems – otherwise he’d be nominated already, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Just saying..

March 14th, 2012
9:19 am

Does Newt have the ston…uh…stomach to tell Callista she won’t be speaking on national tv anymore?

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2012
9:20 am

Like many I wanted Newt to exit the race, but he said something last night that changed my mind.

If Newt exits, that would mean Romney can spend his big bucks against only Santorum. You can imagine the negative ad impact. With Newt in the race, Romney has to divide the money.

While some of us would like to see Santorum one-on-one with Romney, Newt has a very good point.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
9:23 am

Lord save us from nonsensical Salon.com links. :roll:

Rickster

March 14th, 2012
9:25 am

What are Newt’s chances? Slim and None – and Slim just saddled up and left town.

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2012
9:25 am

“And you conservatvies voters in Georgia wonder why people around the world think you are a joke”””” ”

The only joke here is Liberals living in Georgia who self-anoint themselves as superior in intellect and political idiology or those posting who don’t live here. For the former, I-75 will lead you North. For the later, your comments are unwelcome. Try Bookman’s blog; you will find many like yourself.

Junior Samples

March 14th, 2012
9:26 am

Soros, Drink!

clyde

March 14th, 2012
9:26 am

The Religious Right has spoken in AlaMiss and the Godliest candidate has ascended.

Ragnar
I am a senior and I want to see Social Security and Medicare financially viable.First we cancel the tax cut that is reducing funding.Then we jail the fraudsters.Then we deal with the SSI and SDI recipients that used to be on the welfare rolls and were switched over on some sort of mental anguish ploy. I’m dreaming,aren’t I??

JF McNamara

March 14th, 2012
9:27 am

Thanks Kyle. The comments were getting out of control.

Newt is done. He should drop out. I strongly dislike Santorum because of the religious bent, but he appears to be who the Republicans want. That gives him the best chance.

Old Hippie

March 14th, 2012
9:34 am

Johnny Reb: “With Newt in the race, Romney has to divide the money.”

While this may be true, Newt and Santorum are splitting the same group (White evangelicals) of voters. If Newt got out of the race and endorsed little Ricky, Santorum would get a larger share of the delegates in each contest. The GOP screwed the rightwingers with this proportional division of the delegates.

Ted

March 14th, 2012
9:44 am

Every successful business owner is a pragmatist, and that includes Mitt Romney. My judgment is it is totally easier to convince Romney of the merit of conservative principles – he is already a thrift hound – than it would be with Obama. Anyone who does not see the difference between Romney and Obama has either a logic problem or has not read very much.

Joe the Prophet

March 14th, 2012
9:46 am

Gingrich has a 100% chance of getting to the White House….as Rick Santorum’s running mate..!!!!

Good job last night, Dixie…..It’s time for Mitt Romney to go to his REAL home….Salt Lake City…..Mormons don’t believe in Hell…….I think it’s very important that politicians believe in Hell, because that’s where the majority of them are going…!!!!!!

If you’re going to vote for Romney, may as well vote for Obama….healthcare, energy, taxes….They’re the same…..Except the President doesn’t send his checks to polygamists….

Del

March 14th, 2012
9:46 am

Gingrich has portrayed himself as a Reagan Republican but that blew up on him as it came out that he greatly exaggerated his relationship with Ronald Reagan. He doesn’t make that comment anymore but touts his conservative credentials, which he also exaggerates. He’s a highly intelligent man with a great knowledge of history but he’s not presidential material. Santorum is good man but has lost elections and his fiscal conservative credentials aren’t exactly stellar. I don’t see Santorum or Gingrich as the best Republican candidates to go up against Obama. Romney is and the hypothetical head to head match up polls support that he would be the best candidate. There was a significant split among Democrats in 08 when Hillary Clinton and Obama were campaigning against each other. The split among Republicans is nothing new in politics. I don’t see this Republican split doing much damage as it didn’t damage Democrats in 08. I think Romney will be the eventual nominee and Republicans along with the majority of Independents will come together and rally around him in the general election. It will be a close election but Obama and the Democrats have no reason to feel at all comfortable about their chances for a victorious outcome.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
9:47 am

Old Hippie, your analysis is incorrect.

First, polls show that the difference between Gingrich votes going to Santorum is not automatic; maybe 50% to Santorum and 30% to Romney. And except for last night, the great majority of Gingrich votes haven’t been enough to tilt this contest significantly one way or another.

Now, to your contention that the GOP screwed rightwingers with proportional voting, that is also incorrect. In fact, proportional division is a much fairer way to award delegates in a multi-candidate race rather than winner-take-all. While it doesn’t target any one group of thought, it does make it more likely that a close 3 or 4 way race stays in place longer than it might have in the past. If winner-takes-all were still in place, Romney would have sewn this up weeks ago given his wins.

Morrus

March 14th, 2012
9:49 am

Newt took GA. What does that say about the great state?….embarassing