When people on the right attempt to defend Newt Gingrich they usually avoid mentioning his many character flaws and try to talk up his intelligence. For instance, during the 2012 primaries his supporters could often be seen and heard in the media talking about the fact that he was the most thoughtful and wise candidate. This is something Newt himself has tried to promote at times, arguing that ‘I’m not a natural leader. I’m too intellectual; I’m too abstract; I think too much’. Newt has a lot of problems, but I’m not sure thinking too much is necessarily amongst them.
When it comes to predicting the future Gingrich has an absolutely appalling record. Take for instance the 2008 Presidential election. In 2007 Gingrich predicted that the Democratic nominee would eventually be Hillary Clinton, with Barack Obama as her running mate. Now that isn’t too bad a mistake to make, as at the time Obama was still a relatively new Senator while Hillary had a huge amount of experience and almost the entire weight of the Democratic machine behind her.
However when it came to the Republican nominee Gingrich was even more off base. In this case he completely ruled out the chances of John McCain succeeding on the ground that he was too liberal. Talking about McCain on TV he argued that, ” he has taken positions so deeply at odds with his party’s base that I don’t see how he can get the nomination”. Of course as it later turned out McCain got over 70% of the delegates.
Instead Newt predicted that the Republican race would come down to Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. As it turned out Romney was the third place candidate while Giuliani crashed and burned due to his ill-thought out Florida strategy and Thompson didn’t win a single state. Neither Giuliani nor Thompson even lasted in the race till February.
Clearly not worried by his repeated failure to predict the future, Gingrich in 2010 argued that Sarah Palin was destined to have a very long career in American politics, and if she ran she’d be the GOP nominee in 2012, eventually beating Obama. He even described her as ‘intelligent and articulate’, something some of her critics might like to query. As it turned out Palin didn’t run due to a lack of support, and her future political career currently looks pretty doubtful.
Finally there is the fact that Newt repeatedly predicted his own success during the 2012 primaries. However, I’ll let him off the hook for this one as I suspect that even he didn’t believe it.
Here is a clip of Newt Gingrich predicting Sarah Palin’s success: