The search for a grand unified theory of Newt Gingrich's behavior has lately been confounded by new data.
Not so long ago it was possible to think of Gingrich as a vengeful egomaniac. Though he had no real chance of getting the nomination, he was staying in the race both to bask in the limelight and for the joy of retribution: by attacking Mitt Romney he could avenge the Romney Super Pac attack ads that had destroyed his pre-Iowa momentum.
But now Gingrich is staying in the race even though, according to conventional wisdom, his best shot at sabotaging Romney is to get out of the race and quit draining support from Rick Santorum. What happened to vengeful Newt?
One theory is that sometimes in life a person has to choose between egomania and vengeance, and Newt has made his choice. He is regretfully setting bloodlust aside in order to keep basking in the limelight.
This is the theory I was leaning toward until I read Byron York's account of Newt's current thinking in The Washington Examiner. Gingrich contends he can have it both ways--thwart Romney and become the nominee himself. After all, remember Leonard Wood? Well, no--and that's exactly the point! Wood was the Romney of his day. He went into the Republican convention leading, but eventually the nomination went to Warren G. Harding--who had gone into the convention in sixth place.