Has Gingrich Given Up the Presidency to Be Kingmaker for Santorum?

by on November 4th, 2010
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COMMENTARY | As the New Hampshire primary draws nigh, Newt Gingrich continues his assault against Mitt Romney. First, according to Hot Air, Gingrich placed a full page ad in the Manchester Union-Leader comparing Romney to himself unfavorably.

Gingrich also has a TV ad up that refers to Romney as “timid” and himself as “bold.” This is in keeping with the “comparative advertising” strategy that Gingrich has promised that he will carry out. It will not be, Gingrich insists, the same thing as a negative attack ad. In a way that is true. An attack ad mentions only the candidate who is being attacked.

In the meantime, Politico is reporting that Gingrich and the Rick Santorum campaign are making a tacit agreement not to attack one another, either in debates or in the media. The two are said to be friendly and have been political allies in the past.

The strategy of attacking Romney on his own New Hampshire turf and laying off Santorum, a rival for the position of the great right hope alternative to Romney, would seem to be counter-intuitive. However is does make sense if one suspects that Gingrich had given up on the idea of his being president. The second part of that theory is that he is bound and determined to make sure Romney does not become president either.

If Gingrich can’t be president and Romney should not be president, that leaves Paul, Perry, and Santorum. Paul is unacceptable because of his weird foreign policy ideas. Perry is too weak and is likely to leave the race soon. That leaves Santorum, who is surging in the polls, coming into second place nationally according to Rasmussen.

Santorum is a conservative with two differences from Gingrich. He lacks Gingrich’s imagination, but also his erratic nature. Santorum is sounder than Gingrich, has performed well in debates, and has demonstrated a certain tenacity necessary for winning the presidency. Having him elected president may well be a good enough consolation prize for Gingrich. This is especially true if there was a cabinet office or even the Vice Presidency in the offing. But could a secondary role in someone else’s administration contain Gingrich’s outsized ego? There is reason to wonder.

Sources: On to New Hampshire, Tina Korbe, Hot Air, Jan 4, 2012

Timid vs Bold, Gingrich for President Campaign, YouTube

A Gingrich-Santorum nonaggression pact? Maggie Haberman, Politico, Jan 5, 2012

Election 2012: Republican Presidential Primary, Rasmussen Poll, Jan 5, 2012


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