John: Perhaps we should be grateful to Newt for reconfirming where his priorities lie. For all his flirty talk about maybe running, once it came time for him to say yes definitively the idea of losing all the big earnings and perks he enjoys as head of American Solutions was more than he could handle. Recall that Newt’s never really been the same since trying to cash in big after the 1994 elections, by signing a $4.5 million book deal with HarperCollins. In his memoir Bob Novak blasts Newt on this:
When three days after his 1994 election triumph Gingrich laid out to me his plans to rule the House of Representatives, he did not reveal his collateral design to amass a personal fortune and do it quickly. The desire of politicians without inherited wealth to become powerful and rich has been documented through the centuries although I believe it intensified in the 1960s. As politicians dealth with fabulously rich benefactors benefiting from their legislative decisions, they yearned for their share of the gold.
Gingrich wanted to much, too soon. Ironically, he shared the desires of Jim Wright, whose clumsy implementation of those desires enabled Gingrich to drive him out of the Speaker’s chair. Actually, Wright’s scheme of having organized labor buy bulk copies of his paperback memoir—a booklet more than a book—was penny ante compared to what Gingrich attempted.
If we haven’t learned by now that the best Newt can do is talk the talk but never walk it, we never will.
Incidentally, Bob Novak’s incredible memoir, The Prince of Darkness, is scandalously underreviewed in today’s Washington Post Book World, lumped in with three other books that comparatively have all the heft of a Jim Wright booklet. Who’s afraid of Robert D. Novak? All of establishment Washington, evidently, because he’s as straight-shooting about it as he is about Newt Gingrich.