When Will Newt Say When?
One of the saddest spectacles of the 2012 season is seeing Newt Gingrich, who for so long was the ideas guy of the right, run out of steam.American Solutions, his once much heralded organization, is now shut down. Newt left the organization to run for President and it could not keep the lights on without Gingrich there.But Gingrich seems to be having trouble keeping the lights on in his campaign.This weekend saw a straw poll at the annual Georgia Republicans’ fish fry in Perry, Georgia. The event, started by former Governor Sonny Perdue as a campaign fundraiser for himself and the party when he got elected back in 2002, is a huge affair for the state party. Folks come from every corner of Georgia to eat fish and politick.There are two Georgia sons in the 2012 race: Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Cain is a businessman and former talk show host in metro Atlanta. Gingrich was and, for many is, “the Speaker.” He taught at my wife’s alma mater; his first wife was my wife’s high school math teacher. He then went on to represent the Atlanta suburbs in Congress for quite a while, eventually becoming Speaker.This weekend, as they might say in Georgia, the dogs didn’t hunt for Newt Gingrich.Herman Cain came in first place in the straw poll, followed by Ron Paul. No, Gingrich did not come in third. Rick Perry came in third. Gingrich, who was the only candidate to attend the fish fry and speak to the crowd — Newt gave a great speech, but speaking has never been his problem — came in fourth. Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann followed him.Rumors continue to swirl that his campaign is hurting for money. He has failed to gain measurable traction thus far and even in Georgia polls show he would not really be competitive (and I’m not talking straw polls).For many of us who got our start in politics around the Republican Revolution of 1994, it is kind of sad to see Newt Gingrich neither victorious nor really beaten nor vanquished — then it would at least have been a momentous fight. That would have had some catharsis to it. He’s just out of gas. He fizzled without so much as a flash in the pan. How does that happen to a guy who once was the most powerful Republican in America?