Why Newt Gingrich Is Doomed

When it comes to Newt Gingrich's demise, the question is when and not if.

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Republicans are not happy. They wake up every morning looking for a candidate who they can believe in for president. So far no luck.

[Check out editorial cartoons on the 2012 GOP presidential field.]

The polls reflect their lack of enthusiasm for former Gov. Mitt Romney, despite his decent performance in the debates, and a seemingly well organized and well thought out campaign.

After briefly dating Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, it appears that Republicans may want to take former Speaker Newt Gingrich to the prom. This leaves poor Mitt Romney trying hard to get that date, almost there, but not quite.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney]

Those who say that Newt Gingrich has been vetted are wrong. There is plenty of material out there but voters haven't processed it yet. When will they? Before the primaries, during the primaries, or after the primaries?

As we approached 2008, "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani was way out in front in the polls. But his fall was fast and predictable given all his personal and political liabilities. True, it was a different group of candidates and a different process, no proportional primaries and no "debate–a-week" marathons.

The similarities, however, between Gingrich and Giuliani are telling. They both had rather serious personal issues with multiple wives and unusual behavior patterns. They both cashed in big time when they left office—Newt, Inc. and Giuliani, Inc. pulled in excess of $100 million each from serious influence peddling and exorbitant fees for speeches before special interests. Both men have egos and personalities that eclipse the Empire State Building. Newt and Rudy both tend to over-state and over-emphasize their own experience. Newt said he saved the world from communism; Rudy took care of the crime problem in New York City. Both had serious issue position problems:  Rudy was pro gay rights, pro gun control and pro choice; Newt hasn't been exactly pure on the Focus on the Family agenda either, particularly on abortion, and he sat next to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on a couch to push global warming in a TV ad. That's not likely to impress the Iowa evangelicals or southern super conservatives.

[See a slide show of Newt Gingrich's career]

There is also the matter of their personalities. Gingrich and Giuliani are often petulant, nasty, and condescending—in short, not always very likable! Not that likability is the critical qualification for president but it sure helps if voters think you are tolerant, responsive, and at least nice!

But, then again, Republican primary voters and debate audiences seem to like Newt's bluster this year.

The real question for Newt's demise is not if, but when. He might conceivably be lucky enough to beat Romney and become the nominee. Buyer's remorse will quickly set in, however, and Newt will explode and erupt like the human volcano he is. Make no mistake, once Americans see Newt up close and personal, he will become an over-ripe Georgia peach. Newt can't last but the tricky question is: how long will it be before the end comes?

[Read the U.S. News debate on whether Newt Gingrich can beat Barack Obama.]

Ask yourself, why do so many Republicans who have worked with him and served with him, find him unacceptable as president? You can be sure that many will come out with a barrage of criticism if they sense he might get the nomination.

The only way Gingrich could ever be elected president of the United States is if the world's economy totally collapses, we all lose nearly everything, and then it would truly be ABO: Anyone But Obama. That, hopefully, is a highly unlikely scenario. Otherwise, Newt will go the way of Giuliani.

  • Read Leslie Marshall on why Newt Gingrich is winning.
  • See photos of the 2012 GOP candidates
  • Read Robert Schlesinger: Conservatives attack Newt Gingrich with a vengeance.