Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not so fast, Newt and Sarah

There are reports that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R.-Alaska) are considering running for president in 2012.

Gingrich was Republican Whip before engineering the GOP takeover of the House in 1994. His grateful Republican colleagues elected him Speaker following the November, 1994 midterm elections. Following the disastrous impeachment hearings and the GOP’s loss of numerous congressional seats in the subsequent 1998 midterm elections, Gingrich resigned his Speakership and his suburban Atlanta congressional seat (to which he had just been reelected). A professor by trade, he has been writing books over the last ten years.

Because of his combative partisan approach to politics, as well as his brilliant successes during the Clinton era, Gingrich was Dr. Evil in Democratic circles. Just ask Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who repeatedly named him in fundraising letters. His marriage history may actually be worse than Rudy Giuliani’s, which is saying something. (And I think he paid for an abortion, too.)

Newt could try to run against President Obama in 2012. I doubt he’ll get very far. What I’d really like to see—also far-fetched—would be for Newt to be Secretary of State. In this new Administration! It’s high time someone in charge rooted out the decades-long history of anti-Zionist bias that permeates the State Department. Newt could pull it off.

The limited success of candidates attempting to kick out a sitting, elected president is evident. It’s a short list: Clinton sent George H.W. Bush back to Houston in 1992; Reagan sent Carter on his current world tour in 1980; and FDR bounced Herbert Hoover in 1932. If you want to go past 1932, please send me your results. But my point is that only three men succeeded in 13 attempts to unseat a sitting, elected president. That’s a terrible 23 percent success rate.

I think Gov. Bobby Jindall, (R.-La.) could beat Obama in 2012, but it would require an electorate terribly disappointed in its president. With an expected economic recovery starting in 2011 or so, that’s extremely unlikely in my estimation.

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