We’re approximately halfway through the Republican Presidential nomination process and, much to my surprise, our man Newt Gingrich remains in the race.
To be clear, Newt’s chance of winning the nomination is pretty much zero. Since his big win in South Carolina, Newt’s popularity within the GOP has plummeted. All the talk about moon colonies and his nonstop, nonsense Tweets promising $2.50/gallon* gasoline have turned Newt back into what he was last summer: a joke candidate.
But Newt won’t give up. Why?
Well, clearly he enjoys running for President. He hasn’t been on TV this much since 1995.
More importantly, it looks likely Mitt Romney might not win a majority of the GOP’s nominating delegates before the GOP convention. This hasn’t happened to the GOP since 1976, when President Gerald Ford had his re-election bid challenged by an obscure union boss named Ronald Reagan.
If Romney doesn’t have the nomination secured after the last primary, there’s inevitably going to be some wheeling and dealing between Romney and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers (Santorum, Gingrich, and Ron Paul, though not necessarily in that order).
Newt’s fantasy scenario is that, with no clear winner, he rocks the convention floor in Tampa with a speech that’s frankly and fundamentally revolutionary. The GOP faithful will go wild, make Newt the GOP nominee, then head down to Ybor City to tattoo “#250gas” on their foreheads. If you think I’m kidding about that being Newt’s fantasy scenario, read this.
A more likely scenario – Mitt Romney offers Santorum, Gingrich or Paul something nice in exchange for delegates. For example, I think Rick Santorum would make a terrific Vice President. In fact, no one in American politics has ever seemed better suited to preside over our vices than Rick Santorum. And there’s been much speculation that the reason Ron Paul has been going soft on Mitt Romney for months is because he’s hoping his son (Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.) will end up as Romney’s running mate.
Newt is so unpopular within and without the GOP, it’s doubtful Romney would offer him the running mate slot. But Presidents have other carrots to dangle. He could offer Newt a non-elected position. Callista likes the Mediterranean. Maybe Newt could be Ambassador to Greece. With the Greek economy in such bad shape, his salary would go far.
If President Romney wanted Newt closer to action, he could put him in charge of the Department of Energy – maybe even let him rename it the Department of #250gas.