Thus it’s time for a (subjective) look at some of the Republican Party’s prospective 2012 candidates. If you start with the assumption that a candidate must have a plausible path to both the nomination and the presidency, the prospects of the might-be candidates fall into three categories: Believable, conceivable, and unachievable.
Let’s begin with Newt Gingrich, who bumbled his way toward launching a presidential exploratory effort this week. Gingrich has never won an election in anything bigger than a congressional district. His mid-1990s reign as speaker was marked by petulance, pugnacity, and backlash-begetting budgetary brinkmanship.
His personal conduct has been, um, Edwardsian. Meanwhile, consider this assertion from his latest book: “The secular-socialist machine’’ — by which Gingrich means the Obama administration and its allies — “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.’’ If you overheard that on the street, you might well mistake it for the ravings of a lunatic. Let’s label Newt’s hopes: Unachievable.
He’s joined in that category by Sarah Palin. So far over her head in 2008 that some of John McCain’s own advisers fretted at the prospect of having her a septuagenarian heartbeat away from the presidency, Palin has hardly allayed doubts about herself since. If the GOP really wants a lighter-than-air disaster, why not just nominate the Hindenburg?