Newt (Finally) Kind of Says "Goodbye"

May 05, 2012

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich finally brought his book tour presidential campaign to a close Wednesday (the photo is one I took in Iowa last August). He has been slowly dropping out for the past weak, even oddly noting last week he would drop out this week (and thus wasting a lot of money--including taxpayer money for Secret Service protection--for his odd swan song). While many presidential candidates do an odd dance and repeatedly announce they are running, Gingrich seems to be unusual in his decision to do the same on the way out of the race. Gingrich's departure leaves only U.S. Representative Ron Paul challenging former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the nomination (although considered the presumptive nominee, Romney has not yet garnered enough delegates for the nomination). Gingrich, who won the South Carolina and Georgia primaries, briefly led in the polls just months after seeing his campaign in disarray--but then stayed in so long he ended in disarray (even bouncing a $500 check!). In addition to offering crazy ideas (moon colony!) and frequently attacking the media, Gingrich also helped demonstrate the continuing importance of confessional politics. Most substantially, Gingrich demonstrated that even a thrice-married adulterer can claim the title of being a "family values" candidate with confessional rhetoric and evangelicals proclamations. In our age of confessional politics, a candidate's rhetoric--not their actions--seems to make the biggest difference.

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