First, as to his top attorney and adviser, let me say that I resolutely believe he and his staff had done their "due diligence," and I suspect the last-minute decision not to run was not as much the result of negligence as it was a hurried set of circumstances. In other words, while we always like to attack the lawyers, it is not warranted in this situation. Trust me, as one who has represented Newt in the past, I have a better view of this than others.
And as for Newt Gingrich, what is his future? Well, I'll put it this way: I have always said that Newt had nine political lives. I think he used No. 8 up with his recent, temporary misstep.
But to those who actually hear him speak, he remains the idea man of the Republican Party. I can now say what I would never have said had he run because it would have been biased: The other candidates running in this race for the GOP presidential nomination can't hold a candle to Newt Gingrich in either knowledge or experience. He would have shredded them to pieces in a debate.
Now, I don't need any more letters about Gingrich's so-called "baggage." The man isn't running, and by the time this race is over, you will see more dirty laundry than you can stomach from all around. Newt will look like Mr. Clean by comparison.
For the moment, however, Gingrich the candidate is nothing more than a thought that did not develop. And at present it remains my firm belief that we are likely to see Hillary Clinton as our next president. The internal polling to date is that conclusive. (Of course, anything can happen in a year.)
Which leaves just this one thought -- 2012. For having not run in 2008, Gingrich may seem even wiser by the time of the following presidential election. I think he knew that all along. After all, he has nine lives.