Gingrich Considering a Third-Party Run?

Gingrich Considering a Third-Party Run?

Is anyone really surprised? Really?

Newt Gingrich is one of the most delusional, smarmy, and entertainly egotistical people to ever grace a presidential race (and given the caliber of most people that run for president, that truly is a distinguished place). Perhaps that’s why it should come as now surprise that his significant loss last night to Romney in Florida doesn’t seem to have slowed his personal ambitions at all. In his “concession” speech last night, he vowed that from this point out, he would run not a “Republican campaign, but a people’s campaign.” What does that mean? Is Gingrich flirting with a third-party run? Could he reach Independents with his stridently partisan conservative rhetoric? Personally, I think Gingrich is just muddying the waters, but his campaign won’t ever float.

To understand Gingrich’s ambitions, let’s take a look back at his campaign. He had no problem flouting his party’s baseline, calling GOP poster-boy Paul Ryan’s May, 2011 budget plan “radical right-wing social engineering”. In addition, just as his campaign seemed to be sinking (with top staffers leaving en masse), he took a Mediterranean cruise with his wife. A pretty far cry from his recent image-upload as a “people’s candidate” vs. Romney’s 1%’er status. Over the summer he stayed pretty low key, using his campaign platform as more of a book tour to sell his and mistress-turned-wife Callista’s books. After a few famous flameouts by opposition, Gingrich managed a resurgence via negative ad campaign, a tactic that many Republicans seemed to think was sacreligious, but Tea Party voters rallied around in South Carolina.

Therein is Gingrich’s single biggest problem with attempting a third party run. He has pandered so completely to the far right in his rhetoric, that attempting to pass himself off as an Independent when the Republican ticket doesn’t seem to be cutting it will be a non-starter. Independents tend toward the moderate. If he wanted to run a moderate campaign, he certainly should have started back in May, rather than waiting through four early-voting states. So his rhetorical insinuation that he’s running a “people’s campaign” (code for Independent), is simply his willingness to be whoever he needs to be to stay in the race. As he campaigns in Nevada and Nebraska, we may see a slightly different Gingrich. A more socially moderate conservative that will mercilessly go after Romney as “too-conservative” and “too rich”. Perhaps he’s noticed what Obama and the House Republicans have: that it’s no longer cool to be the GOP. In any case, his vow that, "If I become your president, I pledge to you my life, my fortune and my sacred honor," sounds a little too close to a marriage vow, and we all know how that turned out.