Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Newtonium Bomb

If you don't know what a Newtonium Bomb is, that's OK - it's been pretty irrelevant for a few years now. It first came to light during the 1990's, thanks to a paranoid American electorate which demanded action from their government, and instead got several failed initiatives, conspiracy theories, and an eventual non-scandal involving the nation's highest office. The reason why? The Newtonium Bomb had the unfortunate tendency to implode before it ever came near its goal, and allowed America's "enemies" get an easy pass.

If you didn't get the reference by now, I'm talking about former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich. Newt has been out of politics and out of sight for nearly a decade now, but was always the grapevine favourite to run for the presidency, sort of like our McKenna, except incompetent.

Except this year, Gingrich decided to actually put down roots and run. The 67-year old Georgian was expected to make some headway in a Republican primary that would be dominated by engaged conservative activists, scared GOP insiders, and evangelical Southerners - all things you'd expect Gingrich, the man who held the third-highest office in the land for four years, who once said that "medicare should whither on a vine," and who likes to play up the evangelical and Southerner angle quite a bit, to be dominating.

However, Gingrich is running up against some walls. First off, it seems that many conservative activists are not too fond of Newt, given his failed attacks against the then-Clinton administration which backfired heavily and lead to his compromise and Clinton's re-election. Then, his spotty moral record in regards to the sanctity of marriage leaves some evangelicals mighty cautious over him - and there's also the fact that he's Catholic, which in the worldview of God-fearing protestants, isn't a good thing.

Then, only last week, Gingrich put the fail nail in his coffin by criticizing Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plans over its attacks on medicare, thereby pissing off the Republican establishment and conservative activists at the same time. Given his irrelevancy since the 1990's, and the long road it'll take for him to get the GOP nomination, this was definitely not a step in the right direction.

Gingrich has allowed his campaign to implode before it even got off the ground, pretty much squashing any hope of him getting the nomination and playing a better role than spoiler vote. I actually expect him to drop out, if not soon, then during the primary itself, after he realizes he has no friends left to count on. That narrows down the already-shrunk GOP field, where credible runners Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour have already decided against a run, and crazy runner Donald Trump backed off. Gingrich's decision to back out will give some more breathing space to the three most credible candidates I see - Romney, Daniels, and Bachmann - and just goes to show that old politicians who totally screwed themselves before probably aren't the best choices to lead you to victory (coughcough).

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