Walter Shapiro, in the New Republic, concludes that the Louisiana primary marks the end of Newt Gingrich’s quest. “There are no third acts in American politics.” Shapiro opines.
“At an age when most young men are focused on playing sports and meeting girls, Newt was fantasizing about saving the world.”
—Steven M. Gillon, The Pact, 2008
Despite Newt Gingrich’s best efforts, it looks like the world is going to have to save itself.
Unfortunately, I tend to think he is right. For a while, it looked as if it was actually possible that Newt Gingrich could use the power of debate to re-shape the trajectory of the primary contest and the election in his own favor, that he could singlehandedly move our political process out of the modern sound bite and electronic image era and back into the era of verbal discourse and the contest of ideas.
Gingrich, however, also deliberately threw the first punches below the belt, attacking Romney, forsooth! for capitalist actvivity. Gingrich’s attack ads seem to have reminded Republicans of some behavior giving the impression of opportunism in the past, and a variety of prominent conservative and Republican figures responded with a devastating, highly coordinated attack from which Newt never really recovered.
Gingrich was clearly a flawed candidate. Of course, they are all flawed, but Newt Gingrich’s flaws are not being forgiven or overlooked.