Rick Perry is on his way out. Michelle Bachmann is on her way out. Herman Cain is likely out. Chris Christie is not running. Donald Trump played the role of creepy seducer for about two weeks. And the most sane men in the GOP 2012 presidential nominee field, Jon Huntsman, Jr., and Buddy Roemer, the latter I could actually vote for in another era, never had a chance in this field of wingnuts and freedom hating millionaires.
That leaves just two men. Two men who happen to be the veterans of the pack. They are the ones who have spent the most years trying to earn a GOP presidential nomination, and therefore, should have been the front runners all along. And those two men are Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Romney should still be the favorite, based on the history of these things. However this installment of the GOP presidential nomination race has broken the pattern set over the last 40 years. It has been fascinating to watch. Simply the record number of debates has been fascinating. There will be more GOP primary debates than any NFL team has games this season, including the eventual Super Bowl participants.
I think we might have finally put infidelity behind us as a destroyer of men's political careers. How else can we explain the return of Newt Gingritch? Here's a man who cheated on two wives and is thrice married. It should be pointed out that Gingrich left his first two wives not only in the middle of extramarital affairs, but while they were stricken with a long term illness. Here's a man who shamelessly had an affair with the woman who became his current wife while prosecuting Bill Clinton for having an affair with a White House intern. Then, just a few months ago, he spun the story in a unique way when he explained that his affairs were driven by his passion to serve the nation. Newt is a passionate guy. And passionate guys will scamble to replace their wives as they walk the long road to the White House.
Cheating on one's wife and divorcing her when she's in the hospital is the sort of behavior that destroyed Gary Hart and John Edwards, respectively. But not Newt. He has gone from former House Speaker with no elected future 13 years ago, to having about a 45% chance of becoming the star of the 2012 GOP ticket today. He has spent most of the last decade as a lobbiest and paid speaker at Republican conferences and events. He had no chance of being elected to public office ever again. He wasn't seriously considered as a presidential candidate between 1998 and 2008, when George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney were the big three ticket condenters. And does anyone remember this video from 2003?
Newt being punked by Sacha Baron Cohen was confirmation that he was done as a politician, yes? How incorrect I was, with a lot of other, more qualified people who appear on television to analyize politics.
While I took a look at Newt's growing web site, I couldn't help but notice this text in Callista Gingrich's blog within site (which is called Callista's Canvas!):
Acquaintances admit that Callista Gingrich’s stiff smile and crisp uniform make it easier for detractors to portray her as cold and manipulative, a characterization they say is not accurate, though she has apparently resisted internal campaign efforts to soften her edges. Those sources also say it is hard to overstate her ever-growing involvement in the Gingrich empire and her husband’s campaign, for better or for worse.
Actually, go and read that entire blog post. It is incredibly frank and revealing. Could you imagine any presidential candidate's wife not only allowing her cold personality to be acknowledged by the campaign writers, but also acknowledging just how much of the family's K Street lobbying income is diverted to her favorite private institutions? Yes, it's public information, available to those who seek it out. But I have never seen it disclosed so clearly on a candidate's web site. Expect Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews to pick up on Callista and the "five Gingrich firms on K Street," or, as Callista calls it above, "the Gingrich empire."