Instead of linking to Newt Gingrich's rambling farewell speech, in which he thanked many people, and um, said many things (including a digression on his lifetime achievements) and, um, didn't really support Mitt Romney so much as state that any Republican was better than Obama (inspirational!), I think I'm just going to concentrate on Newton Leroy Gingrich's real contribution to this campaign.
For one thing, there's the negging he did earlier in the primary to make the Romney campaign really want to hook him up with support from their donor list to help in retiring his massive campaign debt. You know, like these comments right here:
And then there's this marvelous and accurate statement from Fox News' own honest fellow, Shep Smith, who comments on Gingrich's parting words and Team Romney's response to them:
"Politics is weird....and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality."
I would make that into a needlepoint to hang over my bed if I could do needlepoint, I tell you what.
This moment is bittersweet for me. I don't think there's much of a political future for Newt Gingrich and actually, I suspect that his campaign may have even harmed his reputation by calling attention to the rare batshit flavor of what has generally been assumed to be his scholarly, historical, and technological Big Ideas. Viewing him in the light of 2012 casts a pall over the earlier version that once loomed large in my political imagination--the 1994-1999 Gingrich whose Contract With America and whose leadership in the House led to such...nonsense. The government shutdown. The impeachment of President Clinton.
I don't think you could blame me for seeing the echoes of that time in the 2010 mid-term elections that swept in a mess of GOP freshmen armed with hard-core partisan ideals, or for wondering if someone like Eric Cantor or (more probably) Paul Ryan might have Gingrich-like influence as Speaker themselves one day by following in his creative-destructive footsteps (no fear of Boehner--he's useless). Yet seeing the curtain swept back on the Great and Powerful Oz to reveal a little con man is kind of satisfying, in a way. Did he give brains, a heart, courage, a home, to arch-conservatism? Or were they merely tokens?
Meh. Ding dong, the career is dead.
(X-posted at Rumproast.)