His ideas may seem merely grandiose, but they reveal the deep affinity between American conservatism and one branch of science fiction.
Stagnating in distant third place in the national polls, is there any way Newt Gingrich could still win the Republican presidential nomination? Hell no, would be the response of most pundits and pollsters.
But here's the kind of scenario that could keep the Gingrich bandwagon chugging along: in tonight's debate, Gingrich applies one of his patented sucker punches to Mitt Romney, who then goes down to defeat in Michigan. The party establishment deserts the fatally wounded Romney and the race for delegates narrows to a contest between Gingrich and Rick Santorum as party leaders frantically and futilely cast about for a fresh leader to enter the fray. Meanwhile, Gingrich has the upper hand because his super PAC coffers will be filled to the brink by Sheldon Adelson. Moreover, because Santorum is too focused on social issues, a slew of remaining primaries go to Gingrich, leaving him well positioned heading into the contested convention in Tampa. No party savior is forthcoming and Gingrich wins with the delegates he's acquired, once again validating South Carolina's importance as the bellwether for the GOP nominating calendar.
Is this scenario at all likely? No, but being implausible makes it all the more appealing to Gingrich, a man who is happiest when living in the hypothetical mode, conjecturing and speculating about possible futures. Newt Gingrich's identity as a science fiction fan (and indeed occasional science fiction writer) is as crucial a part of his worldview as being a conservative Republican. To understand Gingrich's quixotic quest for the presidency you have to understand that more than any previous American politician he's been shaped by one particular form of genre fiction -- the reactionary science fictions of the second half of the 20th century.