Really interesting stuff from National Review's Eliana Johnson, whose latest campaign dispatch sheds light on just how close Newt Gingrich has become with the presumptive Republican nominee -- and how hard the former House Speaker is said to be lobbying behind the scenes for a spot on the ticket. Are you ready for Trump/Gingrich 2016, America?
Gingrich has, in effect, launched his own campaign to secure the nomination. “I think Newt is lobbying to be the vice president, and I think their people are paying a lot of attention to him,” says Ed Rollins, a Republican operative and former Gingrich staffer now working for a super PAC supporting Trump’s candidacy. “It’d be a ticket with six former wives, kind of like a Henry VIII thing,” Rollins says. “They certainly understand women.” Trump’s search for a vice-presidential nominee is underway. The campaign confirmed last week that it had tapped veteran Washington lawyer A. B. Culvahouse to vet potential nominees, and Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that Gingrich is among a handful of people Trump is considering...“I don’t know two other people who can command more media attention than Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump,” says Rick Tyler, who served as Gingrich’s campaign spokesman in 2012. For Trump, Tyler says, naming Gingrich vice president would simply be “doubling down on an already successful strategy: keeping your enemies constantly on defense, constantly off balance, constantly explaining themselves. Newt knows how to do that.”
Let's just pretend Rollins' sarcastic (I hope?) "they certainly understand women" comment never happened, and instead focus on Johnson's details regarding how Gingrich has ingratiated himself with Trump's inner circle, effectively assuming the role of a deeply-trusted daily adviser:
Gingrich has a reputation for insinuating himself into campaigns by firing off dozens of e-mails brimming with ideas that range from brilliant to insane. While it’s a quality that has irritated previous presidential candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney, sources say that Trump has come to value the former speaker’s opinions. “They talk every day,” says a source familiar with the relationship, who claims that Gingrich e-mails Trump, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski “countless times a day.”...Gingrich’s influence within Trump World is widespread. Inside Trump’s newly established campaign offices in Washington, D.C., his fingerprints are everywhere. “Right from the minute I joined we were told that Newt will have his hand in every major policy effort,” says one Trump aide. “So one of the things I do when I’m researching or writing anything, in addition to looking at what Trump has said about anything, I look at what Newt has said.”
Though the tidbits and speculation about Newt supposedly maneuvering to emerge victorious in the Veepstakes chase is certainly interesting, Allahpundit is right that the biggest piece of real news out of this piece is that Newt Gingrich is, and has been, playing a fairly major role within the Trump campaign. That's something worth keeping in mind whenever he's seen offering "independent" analysis -- sometimes tellingly obsequious -- on television or over social media. The apparent reality that Newt and Trump speak every day is also newsworthy. If the bolded comment above from a campaign aide is representative, and Team Trump really is relying heavily on Gingrich for guidance on "every major policy effort," that insight could be reassuring to some conservative Trump skeptics. Though Newt is infamous for wandering off the reservation from time to time -- in ways both ludicrous and troubling -- he's generally viewed as a genuine ideas-based conservative. If Trump is willing to afford the former Speaker a major seat at the policy table, if not a perch at the head of said table, that may help reassure recalcitrant righties that a true believer is set to play an outsized role in steering the Good Ship Trump. To wit, via the NRO story: "On Friday, the source says Gingrich sent five messages after lunch, musing on everything from Fox host Megyn Kelly’s interview with Trump to Trump’s recently announced list of potential Supreme Court nominees to ideas for targeting Bernie Sanders’ voters."
Therein lies the appeal of Gingrich as a potential Vice President, should Trump be elected. As for his utility as a running mate, that's a bit murkier. A Trump/Gingrich ticket would be historically undisciplined as far as campaign messaging is concerned. Perhaps the barely-controlled chaos would play well. Maybe it'd be an epic trainwreck. One thing is clear: Trump is not remotely averse to following his gut and taking astronomical, almost unthinkable, political risks. Teaming up with Newt Gingrich could end up being one of them. To call that ticket "flawed" would be to refer to the Titanic as "no longer operational." But considering who the two individuals poised to capture their respective parties' nominations are, it seems like "unprecedentedly flawed" is all the hotness with American voters this cycle. Of course, it sometimes feels like virtually anyone could beat this person. She's so bad at this: