Well, probably not.

Publicly, Gingrich has been sending signals making clear that a presidential candidacy for him is becoming less likely. Privately, he and some of his closest advisers have been meeting with — and, in at least one prominent case, going to work for — the lobbyist-actor and former Tennessee senator.

“I’ve always said it was unlikely I would run,” Gingrich said in an interview last Friday with The Associated Press. And, he added, if Thompson “runs and does well, then I think that makes it easier for me not to run.”

The same day that Gingrich made his comments, his former communications director, Rich Galen, disclosed that he had signed on as an adviser to Thompson’s campaign in waiting. In an interview, Galen termed the coincidence “an unfortunate confluence of events,” denying that there was any link.

But that was not the only evidence of a possible Thompson-Gingrich alliance in 2008. Gingrich and his wife, Calista, had dinner with Thompson and his wife, Jeri, at the former senator’s home in McLean, Va., on July 16, according to two Republican sources close to both men. A Thompson aide would say only that “a good policy discussion” was had over the meal…

Friends and former aides … say Gingrich’s true aim is not to insert himself into the race but to press his agenda for modernizing government institutions for a new generation of problems into the heart of the contest.

He’d be bad news on the ticket because of his baggage, which I’m sure he recognizes vis-a-vis his supposed presidential run. A shrewd operator like him has probably sized up Fredmania, sees it’s his best chance to reach another position of influence, and is hitching his wagon to it now in hopes of parlaying it into a cabinet position later. And a good thing too as he’s one of the few prominent Republicans anymore who seems to have any ideas beyond “terrorists are bad.” He’d be wasted in the vice presidential role (although not, perhaps, if it continues the Cheney mode) but he’s an easy pick for some or other secretaryship. Where do you put him, though? The brainy types usually go to State but can you imagine the dissension in the ranks if Newt swept in to Foggy Bottom to ride herd?

It’d be just what they need, actually.

Update: “If you want to say no to jihad, you WILL say NO to Fred Thompson. He chose, and now we must choose against him…”