Three more states participated in the primary process last night. What isn't surprising is that Mitt Romney lost both Alabama and Mississippi. After his tone-deaf pandering with comments about "y'all" and "cheesey grits", he's lucky they didn't drag him from the bumper of a pickup truck to the state's border.
No, what's surprising is that Newt Gingrich couldn't pull a victory out of Alabama. Despite it bordering his declared "home state", and being the only other candidate besides Ron Paul with any real southern credentials, he lost it to a "yankee"
from Pennsylvania. You'd think he'd be humbled or discouraged. But no, we're talking Newt, whose beltline is surpassed only by his ego. He sees no reason to get out now
Gingrich said his expectation was to be in Tampa and have an open convention, and that taking the nominating process all the way to the convention would be "good for America." Gingrich said that he and Santorum staying in the race would be helping conservatives because "Santorum and I are stopping Romney."
He gave his little speech congratulating Santorum, in a way that makes me think he wants to stay on Santorum's good side. Gingrich supporters are hoping for a Gingrich/Santorum ticket in the fall, but I think Gingrich secretly realizes his chances are small, and is playing nice with a Santorum/Gingrich ticket in mind. I don't know if he realizes that Santorum would actually have a much better chance if he got out. Perhaps he thinks he can trade his delegates for a veep position, should it come to that.
He also actually has a logo for his campaign with the $2.50/gal gas (too large to imbed; see it here
). He is asking supporters to donate in "Gingrich Gas", ie: $2.50 = 1 Gallon. So you could donate 10 Gingrich gallons for $25.00. Considering what a pompous blowhard he is, the term "Gingrich Gas" is just way too funny.
His campaign website contains the "blueprint" for how to achieve that
. It's pretty much "drill baby drill", with drilling allowed anywhere by anyone (he was touting N. Dakota in his speech). The problem, of course, is the same thing that President Obama is dealing with - there's little a president can do about gas prices, even drilling. Yes, you've probably heard it before, but since Newt is making this a cornerstone of his campaign, let's review the facts
Political rhetoric aside, how much can the president really do to control gas prices?
Not all that much. The major cause of the recent spike—gas rose to $3.80 a gallon this week—is the increasing tension with Iran, most analysts say. That's making traders nervous about a possible conflict in a crucial oil-producing region, which could have the effect of cutting off a significant source of the world's oil. In addition, Japan has been using much more oil since shutting down virtually all of its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster last year. And various conflicts in Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya have choked off some production in those countries.
Republicans say opening up the United States to more domestic drilling would bring prices down. Newt Gingrich has been hammering on that theme lately in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, saying he has a plan to reduce gas to $2.50 a gallon. But American consumers are part of a global market for oil, and crude oil accounts for about three-quarters of the cost of a gallon of gas, according to the Energy Information Administration. So increasing domestic production wouldn't do much to ease prices. Not to mention, it would take years to come to market and start bringing prices down even marginally.
Some Democrats have argued that unscrupulous speculators on Wall Street are driving up prices in search of short-term profits, and that the administration could ease the pain at the pump by cracking down on this activity. But even if that is going on, most experts say that global oil markets are simply too large for regulators to police. "If you go and put a position limit on [contracts in the New York Mercantile Exchange], fine," energy analyst Stephen Schork told the Washington Post last week. "But a significant amount of trading is in the Brent Market, which isn't in New York. You'll do nothing to relieve volatility."
So while Romney struggles to get his momentum back
, and Santorum continues to win delegates in deep red states, Gingrich will continue to be the spoiler, touting his pie-in-the-sky gas plan to uninformed Republican voters who continue to blindly vote with their wallets despite evidence that they are being blatantly lied to. Considering how he's burning Romney, unless Santorum somehow manages to pull this one out, we'll likely be seeing Gingrich as a pundit on FAUX News post-Tampa. At least then he'll be off MY TV screen.