Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why Newt Gingrich will never go away


In a post-Apocalyptic world, I'm pretty sure four things will remain -- Walmart lawn and garden centers, Walmart Vision Centers, $5 DVD bins at Walmart, and Newt Gingrich.

Newt  has been everywhere since the 2012 election wrapped up, and really, for no easily discernible reason.

Since November 6, he's been on The View, ABC's This Week, Tavis Smiley's show, local TV stations, CNN, CBS, The Colbert Report, Fox News, and The Today Show, just to name a few.

In most of those appearances, he's spent time hitting Mitt Romney's campaign and giving the GOP advice on just about everything.

Really? Newt Gingrich? Calling out a losing campaign?

Newt's own presidential bid was a more spectacular flame-out than Edward VIII in an Edsel; indeed, it was really only useful for teaching us how not to run a campaign.

Whilst flaming out, a CNN poll gave him a 25%/63% favorable rating and a CBS survey gave him a 16%/54% rating, leading The Washington Post's Aaron Blake to dub him the "most disliked politician in America."

His staff mutinied, he looked for votes at zoos, he went positive when he should've gone negative, he went negative when he should've gone positive, he was ideological when he should have been pragmatic, he was pragmatic when he should have been ideological, he nearly blew his future on Fox News by unleashing an epic rant against his former employer, promised a moon colony by 2020, and, again, he looked for votes at zoos.

The Economist summed it all up thusly in April.

Just what he was trying to do was never quite clear. At times, it has seemed like he was trying to get elected president.

He did some utterly weird things like floating the idea of a presidential debate at a brokered convention -- at a time when he was electorally deader than Winona Ryder's career.

He rather grandiloquently claimed he'd won 15 of 17 GOP debates, ran an ad about Kosher food in Florida, said his infidelities might make him more releatable, and saw one of his think tanks go belly up.

Now... this isn't meant to be some Trash Newt kind of post.

But the big question is -- why is Newt still considered to be any sort of spokesman for the party?

Well, here are a few reasons why he endures, and why he'll continue to endure.

1. He's good TV.

To be good TV, you can't just be funny, smart, and engaging. You have to have some sort of resume behind that charm -- even if it's an outdated resume.

Ozzy Osbourne hasn't been relevant in music for decades, but he's still a good interview.

When you couple awesome personality with resume, you get great TV, and Gingrich has both of those things.

He can talk Teddy Bears and Teddy Roosevelt with equal alacrity. That counts.

2. His brain is like a CNBC screen.

If you look past the messenger and his many failures, he actually says a lot of things the GOP needs to hear.

He really gets minority outreach, he can put the conservative vision into terms both practical and beautiful (Charles Hurt called him a "romantic conservative" this year, and I can't think of a better description -- he's all Delacroix and last five minutes of Casablanca ), and he has an incredible storehouse of information.

In fact, Newt's brain is kind of like CNBC's screen, with a wildly eclectic mix of info about marsupials and Marxism streaming relentlessly through his mind.

Even better, he can organize, synthesize, and dumb down that information so normal people can understand it without sacrificing essential points.

Gingrich himself said it this way when analyzing his debate performances:

If you watch them and watch me, the difference in the depth of knowledge...

I'm not sure if the GOP needs Gingrich.

But we need him.

3. His family.

The Kennedys had sex appeal, the Bush's have dignity, the Clintons have cool, and the Gingrich's have a 12 foot tall elephant historian. Case closed.