First, a disclaimer. I was Newt Gingrich's campaign chairman from 1992 until he left the U.S. House of Representatives. We have known each other for almost 30 years.
But anyone who knows the two of us also knows that the former speaker of the House usually ignored any substantive advice I offered him.
I, in turn, missed out on many of his cutting-edge concepts because I usually made a point of not listening to his many professorial speeches and lectures.
Newt won't be asking for my advice anytime soon. But I know the man like a book.
Many in politics may be unsurprised when I say that he will run for president.
They may be a bit more taken aback to know that I believe he may win the Republican nomination.
I hear the roars of laughter. This sounds bizarre, I know, but let's set the stage with four things in mind:
First, remember the story of Richard Nixon's astounding comeback from the political scrap heap.
Second, let me reiterate the polling results that show -- like it or not -- that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) is the odds-on favorite to win her party's nomination for the presidency in 2008.
Third, understand that there really is a GOP "establishment" and that it has definite Bush leanings. This is the same establishment that sat by in 1996 while the Republican presidential nominee, Bob Dole, endured endless attack ads. (Ironically, they linked Dole with Gingrich.)
Dole never recovered, setting the stage for George W. Bush's emergence in the next election cycle.
Finally, regardless of President Bush's popularity, or lack of it, when he leaves office in early 2009, there will remain in the wings an attractive and smart potential president who is also named Bush -- current Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
That scenario probably wouldn't be ripe for 2008, but instead for 2012 or even later.
But there's a problem for a Jeb ascendancy, and its name is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). And that's where a Gingrich candidacy in '08 suddenly looks more realistic.
Most public opinion surveys list McCain as the early first choice of Republican voters to be the party's nominee in '08.
Also according to polls, he is the only Republican who consistently beats Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head contest.
The worm in the apple of this rosy situation is that the Republican establishment I have identified absolutely despises McCain.
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