You knew it wouldn’t be that easy. Newt Gingrich is ending his campaign for the Presidency, kind of. He announced Wednesday that he will quit on Tuesday, with a speech. Always with a speech. Where have I heard that before. Oh yeah, it was one of the great philosophers of our time, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Of course Newt is a southerner of sorts. He was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in Georgia. You know Southerners, they’re always fixing to do something before actually doing it, so maybe Newt is just fixing to quit. I have lived in Knoxville for 12 years now and I have even caught myself saying that.
One thing he’s not quitting is his very expensive, tax payer funded, secret service protection. The Office of Homeland Security is expected to pull the plug on the $44,000 a day detail by the weekend. So Newt and Calista will have to slug it out without a security detail all the way till Tuesday. Oh the humanity.
Newt has already dropped most of his staff, and his debt continues to grow, in part because he continues to honor campaign engagements he made a month or two ago. If you think this is normal, I offer Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota and first candidate to drop out of the race.
When T-Paw decided to get out and endorse Governor Romney he cancelled all scheduled campaign events, went home to Minnesota and settled all outstanding debt. He did not suspend his campaign, he ended it. He filed the paperwork with the SEC (the commission, not the greatest sports conference in the country), and when he stepped to the podium to campaign for Romney he was completely free of debt and his campaign finance account was zeroed out. That’s how an adult who believes in fiscal responsibility runs a campaign.
Granted Pawlenty got out a lot earlier than Newt, so his debt was not as high, but that is way too simplistic an explanation. Neither Pawlenty, nor Santorum for that matter, flew around in private jets, hired private security details, or made an enormous amount of impromptu stops to zoos, sporting events, museums, etc… All that costs money and time and staff; which costs more money. The jet rental company has still not been paid. Calista even kept the private security after a Secret Service detail was assigned to her. Even more telling, the campaign made no financial adjustments after Florida, when the funding started to dry up and it became clear Santorum and Romney were the front runners. This campaign was running high on the hog from start to finish, debt be damned.
Newt is not the conservative he claims to be. He may say a lot of conservative stuff, but he doesn’t do a lot of conservative things. His campaign is more than enough evidence of that. I wonder how much debt he can ring up between Friday night’s trip to tour the Penske Racing Plant and Tuesday’s speech?
To semi-quote a Tom Cruise movie, Newt’s ego was and still is writing checks his account just can’t cash.