By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
I guess the Republicans really do want to party likes it's 1994.
The 1994 elections were the high tide of the conservative wave that broke over the country with Ronald Reagan's ascendance in 1980.
That was the last time Rush Limbaugh was so much at the center of the political debate, sparring with a Democratic president, recall. Of course no one suggested Rush was the face of the GOP then—he was the godfather or a beloved honorary team member. The party's undisputed chief was Newt Gingrich.
And oh by the way, guess who's pondering a presidential run? Newt for Prez? It's a flashback to the spirit of '94!
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
"Callista and I will look seriously and we'll probably get our family totally engaged, including our two grandchildren, probably in January, 2011, Gingrich told reporters during a sit-down interview before last night's speech.
"We'll look seriously at whether or not we think it's necessary to do it. And if we think it's necessary we'll probably do it. And if it isn't necessary we probably won't do it."
Of course as Politico's Ben Smith points out, his ambition may exceed his reach (I know—a huge surprise with Gingrich):
The latest poll I can find on him, a Quinnipiac national survey from 2007, found that a remarkable 47% of Americans had unfavorable opinions of him. The survey found that 22% had favorable views, and the balance didn't know enough. That's a tough place to start.
Of course if you drill down in that Quinnipiac poll, the news is more mixed for the former House speaker: Among Republicans Newt's favorable/unfavorable split is 45/26. That's good news. But here's the bad: Among white Evangelical born-agains, the favorable/unfavorable is 32/35. Those two sets of numbers more than the overall national figures will matter in a GOP primary—especially in this ideologically distilled party of, well, Rush Limbaugh conservatives.
Say this for Gingrich: He's one of the few genuine idea men left in the GOP (as exemplified by this piece he wrote on healthcare reform for us.)
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