Despite Newt Gingrich’s best efforts, it looks like the world is going to have to save itself. A humiliating third-place finish in Saturday’s Louisiana primary should have extinguished the last embers of Gingrich’s wildfire dream of a second-ballot victory at the GOP Convention. Any Newtonian fantasy about stopping Mitt Romney in Tampa requires the former House speaker to continue to accumulate convention delegates. But Gingrich—after winning a combined 9 percent of the vote in Louisiana and the prior Illinois primary—is now in the goose-egg phase of his descent into irrelevance.
How hard it must be for Gingrich at 68 to accept that his active political career is over for good. So Newt and Callista, according to a schedule released by the campaign Sunday, will be holding Wisconsin rallies at the end of the week in advance of the April 3 primary. It undoubtedly will be Potemkin Village Politics—scant crowds, minimal press coverage, but with the purported trappings of a presidential campaign. Since, according to Politico, Gingrich has begun paying off vocal campaign creditors, there should be enough money left for a Wisconsin weekend in presidential primary fantasy camp.
So it ends for Gingrich without even a whimper. He will go through the motions of campaigning while visiting zoos (I suspect the Milwaukee County Zoo will merit a pre-primary visit) and dining in plush hotel restaurants with Callista. When the primaries are finally over, Gingrich may even be given a brief prime-time slot at the Tampa Convention if he effusively endorses the nominee and pledges not to gush about beach volleyball as he did at the 1996 GOP Convention.
But the dream that has defined Newt Gingrich’s life for more than a half century ended Saturday without fanfare in the Louisiana bayous. It has been a long journey from Verdun to being done.