What about Gingrich for president?

Published 6:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2016

Will Newt Gingrich be our 45th president?

I never seriously considered this until one of the smartest individuals I’ve ever known suggested it to me. At the time, we were observing an Eagle nesting across the river from his Arkansas mountaintop retreat.

Jim Carroll is a founding member of the law firm Carroll, Warren and Parker. A native Mississippian, Jim is an adjunct professor of law at Ole Miss as well as Arkansas State. Jim has been involved in politics his entire life, having served as William Winter’s state youth chairman in 1967 during Winter’s first bid for governor and has been an ardent supporter of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran for over 40 years. Carroll practiced law in Jackson for over 40 years.

Email newsletter signup

Jim was philosophying recently about the Republican quagmire of the 1,237 delegates required for nomination. Jim posed an interesting theory regarding the eventual nominee by stating Newt Gingrich may be the perfect compromise candidate should Donald Trump be denied the top prize. Following is a brief Q&A with the legendary attorney that sheds light as to why this eventuality might be the most realistic.

Q: Jim, what appeal do you believe the former speaker has with Republicans at large?

A: Gingrich has national experience and name recognition and was part of the Republican establishment. However, he has been away from D.C. so long that he enjoys the aura for anti-establishment that seems to appeal to the average Republican in this election cycle.

Q: Jim, because Gingrich missed his opportunity several years ago in being denied the nomination, do you think this will work against him?

A: Considering the complete loss of credibility of the Republican establishment as a result of the past two elections ala Mitt Romney & Co., it would seem that this would be to Gingrich’s advantage with the rank and file Republicans, independents and even Democrats.

Q: Jim, Gingrich is well-liked throughout the South, however, how would he fare in the Rust Belt states and New England?

A: I think the attitude is anybody but an establishment candidate, whether it be Hillary Clinton or an establishment Republican. I believe he would do well.

Q: Jim, Should Donald Trump’s legions of hard-core followers be disenfranchised in Cleveland, could a Gingrich candidacy get them to return to the voting precincts in November, or would they conceivably bolt the party and launch a new national movement?

A: Non-party movements don’t elect presidents. Even Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t pull that off. These disenfranchised Republicans will not support just any Republican. They have to feel that the nomination was not stolen by an establishment coup. But rather they can be animated to vote for Gingrich if they think their only option is a socialistic Democrat like Sanders or Clinton.

Q: Jim, What seemed like the logical matchup this past June between Clinton and Bush, is it now looking more likely that it may be neither?

A: The American people have had enough of the Bushes. Clinton is a flawed, unlikable candidate. Bush is history. Even if Clinton is not indicted (probably won’t be because Obama will protect her out of self-defense), she probably cannot win unless the Republicans hand her the presidency on a silver platter. The answer is maybe.

Q: Jim, what national appeal do you believe a Gingrich-Kasich ticket would have (they are close friends)?

A: Well, Kasich is boring enough to be a vice presidential candidate and Gingrich does have significant name recognition. Also, they have a history of success working together in Congress for a balanced budget. So there is appeal.

Q: Jim, finally, should your theory materialize, what do you believe the main talking points against Gingrich will be incorporated by the Democrats?

A: His personal life, although that would be a hard sell for Clinton, considering hers.

Steve Vassallo is a contributing columnist and Oxford resident. He can be reached at sovassallo@gmail.com.