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The whole Limbaugh-abetted kerfluffle over Newt Gingrich's remark that "we are at the end of the Reagan era" reminds me of how long it seems (though it's only been a few months) since it looked like Gingrich might jump into the GOP race himself. Nothing that's happened since then has made it seem any more likely that Newt would have been able to win the Republican nomination outright had he thrown his hat into the ring; on the other hand, the crazy fragmentation of the GOP field does suggest that Newt-the-candidate would have been a major factor in the race, and thus it's hard to see how a Presidential run wouldn't have benefited the Gingrich brand - and won more attention for the Gingrich platform - than the book promotion he's doing instead.

It's true that Gingrich tends to be overrated (by conservatives, that is) as a font of new ideas, but I still would have liked to see him in the race - not only because he'd be vastly entertaining in the debates, but because his standing within the movement positions him to give voice to certain truths without coming in for quite the ritual denunciations that Huckabee and McCain have summoned up.

Photo by Flickr user Matthew Bradley used under a Creative Commons license.

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