Newt Gingrich is said to be getting ready to throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Two words: Big Mistake.
I like Newt on a personal level, I have had the pleasure of sitting next to him on several flights over the last few years. He is a great guy to talk to, and someone I would not mind sitting down with to have a beer or two. Unfortunately Newt is not what Conservatives, TEA Partiers, or Republicans in general need at this point.
Newt has several factors working against him: age, his ridiculous failure to support the tea party initially, lack of a recent conservative political record, and some of his RINO moves while he was Speaker of the House. Newt has also been removed from the political spotlight for some time. Although there is no doubt he has been working hard behind the scenes to prep for a presidential run – including writing books, and trying to stay in the media as much as possible, he has not held a position of power for a long time.
Normally I would say that outsiders are a good thing – of course we don’t want the same old Washington insiders – but Newt is not an outsider by any means. He has only recently become a public supporter of the TEA Party (probably due to the party’s success rather than his personal beliefs), and because he has been out of political power for so long we have no way of knowing whether he would actually govern as a conservative or fall back into the old and comfortable ways that worked while he was in the House in the past.
There are many candidates that are more conservative, younger, have a better recent voting record, and come with less baggage than a recycled candidate. I believe he could have been a successful candidate in 2000 if he had done things differently, but in 2012 we need something more.
Remember that worn-out line from the drive-by media in the 2008 election: “Optics matter.” Whether we like it or not things have changed – not only does appearance matter (really it always has) but age, and past political history play a huge factor. I would much rather see someone like Chris Christie or even Scott Walker announce their intention to run. We need a candidate with a recent record showing their ability to make difficult decisions.