4. Bill Clinton has outlived the Lewinsky scandal. Richard Nixon died with most Americans grudgingly giving him his due as a big foreign-policy thinker, even if they never forgave his misdeeds on the domestic front. Jimmy Carter is the Ron Paul of ex-presidents: he won’t go away, but you learn to ignore his presence.
We have learned again during this primary election period that it’s not so much that people have short memories; it’s that they have real lives, and politics for them (unlike us) is not the center of their lives. It’s a diversion, much like pinochle or gin rummy were in the days when there were only three TV channels. Politics, for most people, is something to pass the time with between dinner and bedtime.
5. Even at his most unbearable—i.e. when he is winning big and gloating or losing big and whining—Newt is an interesting man to talk to and generally fun to be around. He picks up the tab when it’s his turn, and actually returns phone calls and e-mails.
Associations will still pay at least $60,000 to hear him speak, he will still participate in writing two books a year, and it is likely he will end up with some media firm offering him a contract.