Patrick Ruffini, 4:22 pm yesterday:
Newt is Running
On Hannity last night, Newt said he would collect pledges over the Internet. That means he's almost certain to reach the $30 million goal he's set for himself. Whether he can actually raise that amount is another matter entirely.The Politico, 2:23 pm today:
If I'm a person of modest means but I want Newt to run, I can "pledge" to max out at $2,300. Heck, I can even throw in the wife to up it 46 Benjamins. That doesn't mean I will actually give that much.
Newt would need only 14,000 of his fans to flood the site with $2,300 "pledges" in order to declare a broad public groundswell for his candidacy.
Sound far-fetched? You've seen what Ron Paul supporters do. You think Newt fans wouldn't do the same if they believed his entry into the race depended on it? And if Newt's people actually left the system this open -- i.e. didn't require you to leave a credit card that could then be charged -- I guarantee this hack would spread like wildfire on the blogs the minute the site went up.
Newt is either totally naive (highly unlikely) or knows exactly how the Internet game is played. This deal is rigged.
Gingrich decides against White House run
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) decided Saturday morning not to run for president just as his staff was preparing to launch a website to seek $30 million in pledges, his spokesman told Politico.The least Newt could have done was wait a few days.
Gingrich had planned to seek pledges as part of a three-week exploration without making any formal declaration of candidacy for the Republican nomination — an approach that several Republican leaders said was legally questionable...
Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokesman, said lawyers told Gingrich that dabbling in a presidential campaign could endanger the non-profit status of his group, American Solutions for Winning the Future, which is holding a workshop in Cobb County, Ga., on Saturday.
“He had to make a choice between being a citizen-activist, raising the challenges America faces and finding solution to America’s problems, or exploring a potential candidacy,” Tyler said.
“It’s legally impermissible to do both. It was the necessary choice. It was the only choice.”
That said, it's a relief that the 2008 field seems at last to be complete. While many Republicans seem still to wish that Ronald Reagan was running, he's not about to declare. And if you can't find someone to like in a field that ranges from Rudy Giuliani to Alan Keyes, then no Republican candidate would do the trick. And to the extent that people (like me) were fascinated at the idea that Gingrich might jump in... well, suffice it to say that he is as flawed as any other GOP candidate.
The dissatisfaction with the current candidates probably says more about the party than it does the candidates, too. If we as a party were not consumed with the question of where we go in the post-George Bush era, and if George Bush and his administration were not themselves so unpopular, the field might look very different. Or, one of the candidates we have might look much better.
I suppose that's a roundabout way of saying that we are where we are. We have the field we have and the political environment we have. And while things could certainly look better, I think we can win with the candidates we have.
Let the race begin!