Facing losses in the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, Newt Gingrich gave a speech on Tuesday night in Birmingham, Alabama, in which he vowed to fight on. Saying that he intends to run “a people’s campaign,” the former Speaker of the House declared himself the “visionary leader” that the times demand, and vowed to take the fight right up to the Republican National Convention if necessary.
We at Raw Story believe that Newt’s hopes may already joined the choir invisible, but his campaign lurches ever onward, leading us to one inevitable question.
Is it a zombie?
When dealing with reanimated human zombies signs of zombification include things like the smell, obvious signs of decay, lurching movements and a habit of lunging at you and biting. In political campaigns, however, the symptoms are less obvious.
Let’s look at the available evidence.
1. He’s not winning southern primaries.
Last night, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won Alabama and Mississippi. These rural, heavily Christian states would seem to be the ideal proving ground for Newt’s brand of tea party-friendly, “food stamp President” Republican rhetoric. Just weeks ago, the campaign declared the southern states would be the lynchpin of its overall strategy.
As of last night, none of these southern victories had come to pass, with Gingrich only carrying his home state of Georgia. In this discussion from Tuesday night’s The Rachel Maddow Show, host Maddow and Salon writer Steve Kornacki agree that Gingrich’s last stab at relevance at this point would be to hold his delegates until the convention and hope that Mitt Romney comes up short.
2. His main backer is facing a $375 million lawsuit.
Deep-pocketed casino baron Sheldon G. Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, has been sued by an estranged partner company, Asian American Entertainment. Alleging breach of contract, Asian American is suing for $375 million in damages over a decision by Sands to obtain a casino license in Macau outside of the two companies’ agreement in 2001. Macau is now the “world’s biggest casino market” according to a New York Timesarticle about the suit, which, says the Times, is one of many faced by Adelson.
The question is whether the billionaire financier is going to look at how long the odds are getting on a Gingrich presidency and decide to hedge his bets. The added pressure of expense of multi-million dollar litigation can’t be helping Newt’s chances of staying on the campaign teat. And without his high-roller sugar daddy, we don’t think Newt is going to make it very far.
3. The campaign is floating vice presidential trial balloons.
An anonymous “senior adviser” to Gingrich (Callista? Is that you?) was talking up the unstoppable, Obama-beating potential of a Santorum/Gingrich ticket to Huffington Post on Tuesday night. “Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would make a powerful team against Barack Obama. They have the capability to deny Gov. Romney the nomination,” they said.
Those are not the words of an adviser who is confident in his man’s ability to seize the presidential nomination in a miraculous, last-minute coup. If anything, this is the strongest indicator of all that Gingrich knows his campaign is on the ropes. When the man who famously declared himself the nominee on December 1 of last year is sending out emissaries to plead, however indirectly, for him to be allowed to play second fiddle? Then, friends, the writing is on the wall. In the words of this Mother Jones article, “Newt, we hardly knew ye.”
So, yes, in spite of its apparent unwillingness to come to terms with that fact, the Newt 2012 presidential campaign is dead. It may shuffle and stagger along for awhile, biting such passersby as it may, but this really is the end. If only it would lie down and admit it.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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