The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is Newt Gingrich going to back Fred?

Anyone who knows me knows how much I appreciate and admire the mind of Newt Gingrich; to me he articulates the vision of the Conservative movement better than almost anyone--living or dead. However Gingrich also has many many enemies, and a number of personal negatives left over from his tenure as Speaker. This was the biggest reason why, when Fred Thompson began to signal his interest in running, Thompson's negatives appeared to be much more palatable to me (and to many other conservatives) than those of the controversial former Speaker. Both Gingrich and Thompson have big upsides, but Fred would not bring nearly so much baggage into a General Election campaign.

For all these reasons, when I saw this tantalizing story in The Politico today, my heart raced. Because a Thompson candidacy with Gingrich behind it becomes even more formidable:

Newt Gingrich's long, slow striptease over whether he will seek the presidency in 2008 looks like it might come to an unexpected conclusion: a date with Fred Thompson.

Publicly, Gingrich has been sending signals making clear that a presidential candidacy for him is becoming less likely. Privately, he and some of his closest advisers have been meeting with -- and, in at least one prominent case, going to work for -- the lobbyist-actor and former Tennessee senator.

"I've always said it was unlikely I would run," Gingrich said in an interview last Friday with The Associated Press. And, he added, if Thompson "runs and does well, then I think that makes it easier for me not to run."

The same day that Gingrich made his comments, his former communications director, Rich Galen, disclosed that he had signed on as an adviser to Thompson's campaign in waiting. In an interview, Galen termed the coincidence "an unfortunate confluence of events," denying that there was any link.

But that was not the only evidence of a possible Thompson-Gingrich alliance in 2008. Gingrich and his wife, Calista, had dinner with Thompson and his wife, Jeri, at the former senator's home in McLean, Va., on July 16, according to two Republican sources close to both men. A Thompson aide would say only that "a good policy discussion" was had over the meal.

If a Gingrich endorsement of Thompson happens, it probably won't be until at least October. For one thing, Thompson isn't likely to formally announce his candidacy until after Labor Day. But Gingrich has also said repeatedly that he would hold off any decision until after he marks the 13th anniversary of the Contract With America -- the manifesto that spurred the GOP takeover of the House in 1994 -- by holding an online policy seminar in late September.
If Gingrich does back Thompson, the prospect of a Gingrich role in a Thompson Administration would be another enticing reason to support Thompson: Gingrich is so intelligent he could excel in virtually any role, from White House chief of staff to Vice President to Secretary of State or Defense.... even Communications Director or Press Secretary: Gingrich is so articulate that he would instantly make Communicating the President's message to the electorate a big area of improvement over the current Administration.

Stay tuned--this could be a very interesting fall campaign.

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DiscerningTexan, 7/25/2007 06:02:00 PM |