Isle of Newt

Already, Newt Gingrich is being described by some in the media as the "embattled" GOP presidential candidate. And this is some 18 months before the election.

It gets worse for Newt, as some are going even further, and changing the word "embattled" to "former."

Newt's fledgling candidacy seems to have the aerodynamics of a lead balloon.

The razor-tongued Gingrich has been praised by supporters for his "honesty" and refusal to pull punches. Looks like that punching bag just snapped back and caught Newt square in the jaw.

Gingrich has been an equal opportunity offender of the right, cutting a swath from Rush Limbaugh to Paul Ryan and many people in between. Newt is becoming an island of one.

On Sunday, fresh off his announcement of his candidacy, Gingrich described the House GOP's plan for Medicare "right wing social engineering," while at the same time being a proponent of individual mandates in health care---which is just the sort of thing that his fellow Republicans couldn't stand about President Obama's plan.

Before those comments, he made a flippant one about Detroit, which was deemed racist, because it had to do with food stamps.

"We don't want all our cities to be Detroit," Newt said, as I barely paraphrase.

Before he contracted hoof-in-mouth disease, Gingrich was already going to have to deal with assassination attempts on his character and charges of hypocrisy, as it turns out that at the same time he was leading the pitchforks and torches against President Clinton's sexual misdeeds, Newt was engaging in dalliances of his own.

Of course, Newt says he has "made peace" with God and his family, and he's a better person now. Funny how an apology is good enough for the accuser, when he's under fire, but not sufficient if the accused offers one up.

But it may all be moot, as Gingrich's candidacy might be finished before Memorial Day---of 2011.

At this rate, with Newt on the ropes and Donald Trump's made-for-TV candidacy self-canceled and Mike Huckabee not running, Mitt Romney might be the frontrunner by default on the Republican side. And Mitt has had verbal mishaps in the past, too.

But in the end, will any of it matter? Suddenly, Obama vs. Candidate X looks like it could be a replay of Clinton-Dole, 1996. The president is on a roll now, but again, we're 18 months away from the general election---but only eight months from primary season.

It may have taken some folks a little while to re-process who Newt Gingrich is/was when his candidacy was whispered about a few months ago, but he was kind enough to remind us, forthwith---like in the first hours of Opening Day.

That promptness might have stalled Newt before he got halfway to the first turn.


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