Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gingrich: "GOP Can't Compete If Clinton Is Nominee" Media Leaves Out Qualifier "As Constituted" Palin Led GOP 2016 A Different GOP


The Huffington Post has a clip at the link above of Newt Gingrich appearing to give away the 2016 presidential election if Hillary Clinton is the Democrat's nominee.

This is an extraordinary statement coming from someone who, for a time, was the GOP's leading candidate for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election. What on earth can Gingrich be thinking by his comments?

"WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regularly brushes off the idea of a 2016 presidential bid. But if she were to run, at least one prominent Republican thinks his party would be completely outmatched.
"The Republican party is incapable of competing at that level," Gingrich said during an appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press."
"First of all, she's very formidable as a person," he said. "She's a very competent person. She's married to the most popular Democrat in the country; they both think [it] would be good for her to be president. It makes it virtually impossible to stop her for the nomination."
In addition to having Bill Clinton's support, Hillary Clinton would also have the backing of President Barack Obama, who will still be a "relatively popular president," Gingrich added. "Trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl." (read the rest at the link above).
If Clinton does run it can be well imagined that this clip will be repeated endlessly during her campaign. Also, given that Gingrich has hinted that he might consider another tilt at the nomination in 2016 if Hillary announces she will run then this clip would presumably be the end of any such ambitions for Newt.

However, as with so much in various fields,economics for example but most especially politics, it is the little qualifiers which gives an escape clause.

The first such is Gingrich saying that "presumably president Obama will still be relatively popular". The history of presidents second term endings finding the "relatively popular" is not too good as a glance at Nixon/Bush 1/Bush2/Carter/LBJ etc etc would attest. 

The playing field might be more than levelled in 2016 if history is a guide and might be tilting very much towards the GOP irregardless of whom the Dem's run. In point  of fact of course if there is a major recession in 2016 Hillary might not even bother to run.

The second qualifier is the key one. Gingrich quickly states "with the Republican party (as) constituted now" (which the Huffpost leaves out of their report). Of course come 2016 the Republican party will not be as constituted now even if the current leadership stays on place as the 2014 mid-terms will bring in fresh blood-including, presumably, more conservatives.

But the biggest change for 2016 would be if Sarah Palin decides to run. A Palin led party, with perhaps an Hispanic VP choice like Martinez or Rubio would be utterly different from the GOP "as constituted" now and would bring a massive ground game and the highest level of conservative voting support and could not only compete at that level" but win.