Gingrich: Oh, you'd better believe I'm thinking about 2012

Consider this a follow-up to the Sarahcuda post. Is Newt … the anti-Palin?

“I’ve never been this serious,” Gingrich said.

“It’s fair to say that by February the groundwork will have been laid to consider seriously whether or not to run,” he said…

Gingrich is known for his frequently harsh rhetoric, and he didn’t hold back in speaking about Obama.

“I think he will replace Jimmy Carter as the worst president of modern times,” said Gingrich.

Thanks to Obama’s performance, Gingrich said he expected that whoever wins the Republican nomination would win the White House.

“He is a disaster,” Gingrich said of Obama. “His principles are fundamentally wrong. The people he appoints are more radical than he is and less competent.”

The Standard thinks he’s blowing smoke to keep the media on the hook and I’m inclined to agree. Who, exactly, would Newt’s constituency be in the primary? He’d be an “anyone but” candidate, wouldn’t he? He’s got a Ph.D. and years of Beltway experience, which should appeal to the “Anyone but Palin” crowd that worries about her qualifications. He’s been outspoken about his faith in God, which makes him a reasonable “Anyone but Romney” choice for base voters who are oncerned-cay about ormonism-May. He’s nationally famous and fully capable of dishing out thick cuts of red meat in his stump speeches, which leaves him as a viable “Anyone but Pawlenty” alternative worried about T-Paw’s lack of star power against Obama.

The only question: How many “anyone but” voters out there would prefer him to some other candidate in the field? That is to say, what exactly is the case for Newt, and how does it differ significantly from the case for Mitch Daniels? (“Newt 2012: Like Mitch Daniels, but with lots more personal baggage!”) I wonder if he’s imagining this as a replay of 1968, where the failed candidate turned Republican elder statesman is swept to the presidency by a backlash to the Great Society initiatives of his predecessor, or if he’s imagining it as a replay of 2008, where the GOP base is fragmented by a variety of candidates and ends up settling on the old familiar guy with a lot of experience. I can sort of see him winning early primaries in a three-way race with Romney and Pawlenty, but er, it’s not going to be a three-way race between him, Romney, and Pawlenty. Paint me a picture of how this would possibly work.