Celebrities always die in threes, and today we have Vaclav Havel, Kim Jong Il, and the presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich. No one would be happier to rank Gingrich with those two than Gingrich himself. "How do we make sure this train wreck doesn't happen?" an unnamed "party chairman in a battleground state" told The New York Times' Jackie Calmes. "That's the conversation among the politicos." Well, politicos, consider the train stopped. Gingrich is now polling behind Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in Iowa.
Politico's Jonathan Martin reports that Gingrich has hired Martin Baker, a "well-regarded GOP consultant," to be his political director, which one Republican called "a sign he's finally recognizing the need to professionalize." Baker starts his job Tuesday, which looks to be a bit too late. Gingrich's numbers have dropped steadily for the last two weeks, National Journal's Ron Fournier points out. He's following the same pattern as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain. A month gives the press enough time to give voters all the reasons the underdog was at the back of the pack to begin with. As the Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett notes, in the Public Policy Polling survey that puts Gingrich in third, only 36 percent think Gingrich has "strong principles." That's despite the fact that Gingrich is now advocating that U.S. Marshals arrest activist judges.
Meanwhile, Real Clear Politics' Jeremy Lott argues that if Paul wins Iowa, he could win New Hampshire. "The Paul campaign has thrown a marker down in Iowa and it has thrown it wisely: must win third place or better on Jan. 3," Lott writes. "That way, if they take second, they beat the expectations game. And if they take first, it's a whole new race for New Hampshire a week later." And that is how a new Not-Romney is born.