It would be interesting to see how Rick Santorum would do straight up against Mitt Romney. But we’ll never know how this would work out as Newt Gingrich is pig-headedly insisting on staying in a race he has no prospect of winning.
A friend who is prone to conspiracy theories of all kinds suggested that Newt might be hanging in because he has a secret deal with Romney whereby Romney would put Newt in Romney’s cabinet if he wins in November. “Follow the money,” he counsels.
In Newt’s case I would counsel to follow the psyche. A more likely explanation is that Newt is staying in out of spite and an acute case of self-centeredness that is impressive even for a politician. He can’t possibly believe he has a chance in hell of winning. Last night’s results demonstrate that Newt is not even a strong regional candidate. There is zero prospect that between now and August photos will surface of Mitt doing unspeakable things with winos in a bus station men’s room, which is about what it would take to get Mitt off his current glide path to the nomination.
The other consideration, other than spite, is that there’s just nothing else Newt could be doing with his time that’s more fun than running for president. He seems to like to have his face (and voice) on TV and in the newspapers as much as Jesse Jackson does. And after he loses yet another primary, or primaries, he gets to deliver another long-winded, incoherent, hectoring lecture/speech. (He was a college professor, after all. And probably should be one again.)
The man is a mess. It’s as clear as spring water that he doesn’t care a fig about a conservative beating Mitt Romney, or even that a Republican beats O’Barnum in the fall. It’s only important that he, Newt, be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. As sorry as this picture is, we can some take comfort in the sure knowledge that after August Newt will be out of the public eye, ear, nose, and throat and back to working the lecture circuit in the obscurity he has no richly earned.