- previously supported a cap-and-trade plan to reduce carbon emissions, and even filmed a commercial alongside Nancy Pelosi to that effect;
- previously supported a health-care plan with an individual mandate;
- proposed blasting North Korea with -- wait for it -- lasers;
- took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac;
- began the campaign with six figures in debt to Tiffany’s;
- carried on an extramarital affair with a House staffer 20-years his junior during the Clinton impeachment trial (they’re now married);
- tried to explain away said extramarital affair by saying, “There’s no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate”;
- scribbled a note describing himself as an “Advocate of civilization, defender of civilization, teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who form civilization, organizer of the pro-civilization activists, and leader ‘possibly’ of the civilizing forces”;
- supported the TARP bailout;
- is loathed by almost every conservative thought leader writing today;
- called Paul Ryan’s budget “right-wing social engineering” and then, two days later, said, “The budget vote is one that I’m happy to say I would have voted for...So, let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood”;
- called for “a massive new program to build a permanent lunar colony to exploit the Moon’s resources”;
- called child labor laws “truly stupid”;
- suggested that “a mirror system in space could provide the light equivalent of many full moons so that there would be no need for nighttime lighting of the highways”;
- said that “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama” is that “[Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]”;
- was fined $300,000 by the House Ethics Committee for offering “incomplete, unreliable, and inaccurate” information during an investigation of a for-profit college course he developed while serving in Congress;
- helped the GOP lose the 1995 government-shutdown showdown by saying that “part of why you ended up with us sending down a tougher continuing resolution” was that he didn’t get good enough seats on Air Force One;
- was a dues-paying member of the Sierra Club;
- supported the 1989 Global Warming Prevention Act, which included a provision encouraging the U.N. to work to control population growth through, among other methods, family-planning services;
And I don’t believe Republicans will choose someone like that.
I have nothing against Gingrich. I kind of like him, actually. He’s a dreamy policy wonk who loves science fiction novels and health-care policy. For obvious reasons, I find a lot to empathize with there. Newt Gingrich is the kind of candidate I would like to get a beer with. But he’s not the kind of candidate who’s going to win the presidency. The oppo file the Romney team has developed on Gingrich is likely the longest single document written in the English language.
There are eight weeks between the New Hampshire primary and Super Tuesday, and almost six months between Super Tuesday and the Republican National Convention. Gingrich might generate sufficient momentum to win a few primaries. But he can’t survive seven months as the frontrunner. The more interesting question is whether he could damage Romney badly enough that the GOP needs to find a new candidate to serve as their nominee.