When in Europe, I was frequently queried about the current state of play in the Republican and Democratic presidential primary process.
My quick response on the Dems was that Hillary’s juggernaut was extremely impressive — but that Barack Obama had passed the skeptic’s test and was filling the “bubble” of expectations he created with an impressive architecture of widely diverse donors and well thought out policy proposals. I believe that Edwards is being crushed in between Hillary and Obama — despite his connection with worried middle class Americans and organized labor. I thought that the rest of the pack — Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, and well — that’s about it — were running for VP or other positions.
In the Republican race, I told the story of the McCain campaign’s fall from what once looked like inevitable success. I suggested that Brownback, Tancredo, and Huckabee — despite their bond with Southern Christian fundamentalists — gave up any real chance of living at 1600 Pennsylvania when they denied believing in evolutionary science. I told folks that while Giuliani and Romney were both performing impressively — both in fundraising and in sustaining themselves in the polls — I just couldn’t see either firmly securing the Republican nomination.
I could be very wrong here — but the Republican Party is not so pliable as to celebrate its redness in the last couple of elections and then turn around and nominate either of two northeastern liberal Republicans.
My guess is that Fred Thompson comes in and steals a lot of the party — both moderates as well as Christian conservatives.
And then in August/September of this year, I think that there is a strong chance that Newt Gingrich will come into the race with a force and excitement that most underestimate. He is someone who straddles the South and science. Gingrich can weave faith-based commentary and new economy globalization and jihad-focused national security concerns into the same sentence, or at least the same paragraph. He has had an affair and confessed — and that won’t be a problem running against Hillary; only against Obama.
The only unbeatable pairing, I suggested, was Gore-Obama.
But Gingrich is putting a lot of effort into keeping himself in the public eye. Here is an email that I received from his staff today:
An Invitation to the World That Works
Today I have an invitation for any of you who have:
Tracked a package online with UPS or FedEx;
Used a mobile phone with a camera;
Gotten money from an ATM outside the U.S.; or
Used Travelocity, Orbitz or Expedia to buy an airplane ticket or book a hotel room.
For any of you who have done any of these things, I am inviting you to join me for a briefing on how we can make our government bureaucracies work more like UPS and FedEx and less like, well, bureaucracies.
Please join me on Monday, July 23, from Noon to 6:00pm (EDT) for a briefing on “From the World That Fails to the World That Works: The Coming Transformation of Government.” The briefing will be at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. It will also be webcast at americansolutions.com.
To join us at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, please e-mail Nancy Bocskor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The World That Works Is Not a Theory
For a good introduction to the ground we will cover next Monday, watch this video.
I think Newt is going to run.
This is classic pre-campaigning, and Dems need to begin thinking about — and stop scoffing about — a possible Newt run. He’s the kind of clever and formidable competitor who should not be underestimated.
— Steve Clemons