I think I just came in my pants a little.
Over the last three months, Trump watchers have noticed that former House speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has been consistently advocating on Trump’s behalf in the media, on Capitol Hill, among K Street power brokers, and on social media. In fact, Gingrich has morphed into Trump’s unofficial ambassador for GOP peace and unity, while also seeking converts in hostile territory.
Gingrich is the most recognized and respected member of the GOP establishment who is defending the insurgent candidate — even as Trump rails against that same establishment. But now, it has become apparent that Gingrich is waging an active campaign to become Donald Trump’s running mate.
These days, any Trump World speculation is incomplete without comments from Roger Stone — Trump’s high-profile, long-time, on-again-off-again unofficial consigliere who was called “Donald Trump’s Donald Trump” in a recent Politico interview. When I asked Stone about a Trump-Gingrich ticket he said, “Newt has been enormously helpful defending Trump against the establishment” and that he “should be on Trump’s short list.” Most tellingly, Stone told me that “Newt is a revolutionary, and Trump is leading a revolution.”
Curious about Gingrich’s reaction to Stone’s “revolution” comment and to his name being mentioned on the Times’ VP list, I reached out to the former Speaker. This is what he said:
It is an honor to be mentioned. We need a new Contract with America to outline a 100-day plan to take back Washington from the lobbyists, bureaucrats, unions, and leftists. After helping in 1980 with Reagan and 1995 as speaker I know we have to move boldly and decisively before the election results wear off and the establishment starts fighting us. That is my focus.
His answer speaks volumes. In the Times article Gingrich is quoted as saying that “it would be very hard for a patriotic citizen to say no” and that “very few people pass up the chance to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.” I think it’s safe to say that Newt is actively developing a new Contract while awaiting Trump’s call.
If Trump wants to shore up his “true conservative” credentials, I can’t think of anyone better. If he feels he needs the assistance of a career politician with experience negotiating the treacherous swamps of Mordor On The Potomac to actually get things done, I can’t think of one more acceptable to me. If he wants an attack dog who won’t shy away from confronting the Praetorian Media and going after Hillary as his lieutenant, I can’t think of one more bellicose and tenacious. And if he wants someone to crank liberal-fascist nightmares way past ten, thereby causing them to soak their fever-dream sheets in both piss and flop-sweat, Newt would have to be the man. This caveat strikes me as needless worry-warting:
There is an obvious downside, however, of a Trump-Gingrich ticket: With gender issues shaping up to be a yuuge factor in the general election, Newt’s three marriages are sure to raise red flags that Team Clinton will joyfully exploit.
Does anybody really think it likely that the Clintons will be eager to be forced into the position of having to be seen lecturing America on the secrets of a joyous, healthy, harmonious marriage? I can’t see it, although their bald-faced, sleazy brazenness does at least admit the possibility. Even so, I can’t see them being very successful with it; absolutely nobody who isn’t already a rabid Clintonista is going to buy a word of it. If nothing else, it opens up way too many avenues of stinging counterattack against them, avenues I’m quite sure Trump is already planning to exploit anyway. An attack like that would amount to just giving him another reason to jump in with both feet and stomp away relentlessly—as if any were needed—rather than just giving them a swift, sharp kick and moving on to something else.
Bill is already on this, saying “If manipulating Congress and nullifying or at least controlling the iron rice bowl Old Guard is the name of the game, though, there is no better player than Newt Gingrich.” More:
The only real power the Veep has is all potential power – one heartbeat away, and all that. And that is why I think I prefer Newt in the Veep slot rather than, say, White House Chief of Staff, which is a different sort of job, much more nuts and bolts. The real power of the CoS is that he controls access to the President and runs the palace bureaucracy.
Newt is more a manipulator, thinker, and big picture guy with enormous political skills – just the sort of man Trump will need as his ambassador to the Congressional leadership and others. Newt knows where bodies are buried. Hell, he even buried some of them. He’s as at home in the halls of Congress as a shark is in a school of tuna.
He will be Trump’s Speaker to Animals. His nominal tie-breaking votes will be mostly trivial. But the fact that he’ll be shepherding the Trump administration’s plans through Congress to fruition will easily make him the second most powerful politician in D.C. – after Trump himself, of course.
As for that one heartbeat deal? Hell, Newt has already spent years being just two heartbeats away.
Your mileage may vary on all this, naturally. But speaking purely for myself: I like it. I like it a lot.