I expressed skepticism back in January about Gingrich’s insistence that he wouldn’t decide on a presidential race until after Labor Day; his explanation, in light of the state of campaign finance law, didn’t make much sense. Now his explanation for why he’s decided against running doesn’t make sense, either: “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.” Come on, we’re supposed to believe it just occurred to him that campaign finance laws wouldn’t allow him to promote himself tax free? (Or that it would be really hard to raise $30 million in a few weeks?) All this time, part of his schtick has been to bash consultants for having no sense of history, as if McCain-Feingold had changed nothing and the race was starting earlier than it has in the past for no reason. It’s hard to shake the feeling that he’s too smart to have really believed that.
All year, Newt has been a hot commodity on the speaking circuit, in part because of speculation that he’d become a presidential candidate. If he’s been teasing about running while knowing full well that a campaign was never in the cards, isn’t there something slightly unseemly about the way he’s been raking in speaking fees?