The conservatives might be able to organize a draft and take over the convention, but the question of electability is going to be the paramount concern. Gingrich has not been successful in the primaries. Another problem for him is that he has the worst gender gap vs. Obama of all the Republican candidates. (The Wall Street Journal wrote a story about the gender gaps last week; Obama led Gingrich by 17 points among all voters, by 6 points among men, and by 27 points among women.) Romney has a core of support. Santorum has a core of support. Gingrich has struggled. Perry has damaged his own brand. The plan (according to Fox News) is to “unite the evangelical, Tea Party and very conservative voters” who make up the GOP base. Excuse me for asking, but doesn’t Santorum already have those voters? The story was carried by CBS, citing a report from Fox: Sources close to the Gingrich campaign say preliminary “what-if” conversations are underway that could lead to a Gingrich-Perry ticket being announced prior to the Republican National Convention at the end of August. Gingrich insiders hope forming a predetermined ticket with Perry will unite the evangelical, Tea Party and very conservative voters that make up the core of the GOP. As discussions got underway, a spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a statement saying, “Gov. Perry thinks Newt Gingrich is the strongest conservative to debate and defeat President Obama and truly overhaul Washington. The speculation is humbling but premature.” Readers with long memories–at least since last July–will recall that Perry has repeatedly said he has no interest in being vice-president. I never believed that either. Perry has had a place on the national ticket in mind since at least 2010, probably before. Probably thought about it when he first ran for Ag commissioner. If you believe in the Intrade markets, Romney has an 86% chance of being the Republican nominee. Santorum is the next closest with 2.4%. Gingrich is at 2.2%, slightly ahead of Jeb Bush at 2.0%. This really resembles a stop-Romney strategy, more than an elect-Gingrich strategy. Gingrich is not electable. The significance of the Gingrich-Perry play is not about Gingrich. It’s about Perry. His interest going forward is in national politics. That is why he reacted so quickly to the women’s health care issue. He was in danger of being on the wrong side. And Texas is in his rear view mirror.
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