Matt Lewis

It’s fair to say he was assailed and limned an ultra-conservative bogeyman of the right. As such, he is as divisive a figure as Hillary, and that takes away one of the only advantages a Republican candidate would have in a general election.

(Gingrich’s difficult days in the late 90s have also proven to be serendipitous. Had he remained Speaker during the Bush years, we would not be talking about him today. His Phoenix-like public relations rebirth has been nothing short of amazing.)

Still, others argue that it’s now too late for Newt to run – or that he would simply bollix up the whole race.

Without a doubt, the most likely winner of a Newt candidacy (aside from Newt inc.) would be former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

This is true for two reasons: First, Giuliani’s ceiling in a GOP Primary is likely about 30 percent, meaning no matter how well he does, he will never get more than 30 percent of Republicans to vote for him in a primary.

Newt’s entry would further dilute support for Romney and Thompson, paving the way for Giuliani to win the nomination.

Second, Giuliani is likely the only candidate, in my estimation, is capable of holding his own intellectually against Newt in GOP debates.

But while there are plenty of arguments for why Gingrich should not run, there is one big reason why he should: Substance.

If you’ve been following the feckless candidates in the 2008 presidential race, it is clear Gingrich could, at least, enhance the debate.

While pedantic nabobs don’t have a good win/loss track record in politics, let’s also not forget that while Ronald Reagan was effective at communicating complex ideas in a simple matter, he was, at heart a political philosopher, who read Bastiat, Hayek, and Whittaker Chambers, just to name a few.

So Gingrich’s intellectual appeal may resonate more than you think.

Will American Solutions ultimately be the opening salvo for Newt’s presidential campaign?

Those of us who are hoping Newt will actually make an announcement once the conference ends are most likely going to be disappointed.

His latest announcement -- that he will run only if he has $30 million pledged in advance -- strikes me as a perfect way to hedge his bets. Clearly, he views fundraising as infra dig, and challenging others to do the work for him allows him to either raise the money organically, or blame the system if it fails.

… Perfectly Newtonian.

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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