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Atlanta Must Reads for the Week: the return of highway protests, a gentrifying grocer, and a beginner’s guide to Newt Gingrich
The best stories each week about Atlanta, from Atlanta-based writers, and beyond.
Georgia politics in the 1990s was like a murky twilight zone with two galaxies spinning away from each other. On one side were the remains of the old Solid Democratic South, still dominant at the beginning of the decade but best glimpsed in ghosts and caricature-like light from vanished stars. On the other side: the Solid Republican South, gathering mass and best represented by Newt Gingrich.
Every four years, TV executives agree to allow Democrats and Republicans to air lengthy political infomercials for free. These ads, better known as the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, are an opportunity for presidential candidates to pitch their candidacies to an audience considerably larger than the party die-hards they were talking to during primary season.
Why isn't Newt Gingrich the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination? Is it because he's extraordinarily unpopular with voters? Is it because he's so disliked by actual Republican office holders that he was reduced to touting an endorsement by Sarah Palin's husband? Is it because he's the only Speaker of the House in U.S. history to be fined and reprimanded for ethics violations?
If it had happened in February or March, Rick Santorum's withdrawal from the GOP Presidential race would have been great news for Newt Gingrich. I'm not suggesting he would have beat Romney, but he would have had a better shot - particularly in the southern primaries where Romney is least popular. Instead, Santorum's announcement Monday that he's giving up the fight has actually managed to Gingrich look (even more) foolish.
After failing to win, um, any primary or caucus of consequence since South Carolina, Newt's campaign is winding down. In fairness to Newt, I've been incorrectly predicting the eminent end of his campaign since before it began, so duty requires me to offer some hard evidence this time.