Newt Gingrich: The Proteus of a Potomac?

For all of the whining some of my fellow eCon’s do when Newt Gingrich disagrees with them aboot anything, you saw none of that at CPAC as we walked through the crowd to “Eye of the Tiger” and chants of “NEWT!” All is usually forgiven once he starts speaking and aides throw chunks of raw meat out into the audience.

But the question is, will he ever run for President. In New York we have the “Hamlet on the Hudson” approach where many of our top candidates flirt with the idea of running but always let us down in the end. Gingrich’s has been doing a lot of the same, which is frustrating for those of us who feel that – regardless of the vault full of opposition research the DNC has on him – he’d still make a great President, and is both the best ideaman and public speaker we have.

But yet he keeps teasing us, first in 1996 then again in 2008. So why should we think 2012 will be any different? I’ll let the former Speaker tell you…

“I knew in ’96 that it was hopeless,” he said. “You couldn’t have taken over the House for the first time in 40 years, be in a middle of fairly profound series of reforms, and cheerfully go off to run for president. It’s not physically doable, it’s absurd.” By ’07, however, Gingrich said he was “intrigued” by the possibility of running in ’08. But timing and prospects for success dissuaded him from tossing his hat in the ring. Gingrich said that he didn’t want to abandon American Solutions when it was just getting off the ground. It was formed in late ’06.

But Gingrich also understood that with a very unpopular GOP incumbent in the WH, and his own dissatisfaction with his party, mounting a campaign would be problematic. “I would have been so critical of the Republican policies that other than William Jennings Bryan in 1896, I couldn’t imagine a circumstance where it made sense to,” said Gingrich. “I was very acutely aware of how hard ’08 was going to be and how likely it was that we were going to lose,” he said. “’12 is different….”

As he reflected on the arguments of a potential campaign, Gingrich mused, “I think that the three questions are: who are we [as a country], what do we have to do to compete successfully with China and India, and what threatens us and how do we stay safe?” If a GOPer could effectively organize a campaign around those themes, Gingrich said, “You’d be a [Ronald] Reagan or bigger majority coming together to say, ‘Yep, that’s the direction I want to go in.'”

Usually the signs of a person running are a) releasing a book (he does that every few months), and b) forming a PAC to help candidates win in the midterms (which he’s working on now).

Could the third time be a charm?

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