Unlike candidates Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, Newt Gingrich doesn’t embark on quixotic undertakings like running for president solely out of principle. He does it because he thinks he can win.
This demonstrates how out of touch he’s become with the down-home folks who comprise his would-be base. Gingrich is a Washington creature, and as such is lionized by the beltway media and establishment GOP party leaders as a towering intellect who bubbles ideas like a champagne fountain at a Long Island wedding. On paper, he is formidable.
If you want to analyze his strategy, however⎯which is to embrace the favorite hot-button causes of the cultural right, brandish his newfound religiosity, make slanderous assertions about Barack Obama, flog fiscal austerity, and bash the entire Muslim faith whenever possible⎯then you know that his intended listeners have certain strongly-held beliefs about personal and moral responsibility. They will expect their candidate to be a paragon of probity.
Ronald Reagan was able to get away with being divorced because he was an affable guy. That goes a long way with the American electorate (see the “Who would you most like to have a beer with?” polls). Gingrich is not only twice divorced, he has openly admitted he was unfaithful to two of his wives. He asked one for a divorce while she was in the hospital, recovering from cancer. Does he honestly think women voters will ignore all this?
Combine this with his demeanor, which falls far short of Reagan’s in the “beer” category (Gingrich would probably stick you with the tab—just because he feels so passionate about his country), and it’s difficult to imagine how God-fearing souls could bring themselves to pull the lever for him, considering there will be a lot of other Republicans on the primary ballot doing the identical pander to his.
That isn’t to say we won’t be looking forward to his performance in the debates. Scorched earth, anyone?