At last week's American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Virginia governor and rising Democrat star Mark Warner worked the crowd, scoring major points in discussing their support for Israel and their tough stand on national security. According to U.S. News & World Report's Washington Whispers column, Gingrich, whose 2008 presidential aspirations have lately left him aggressively jockeying for media attention, made a strong impression on many top-dollar donors at an off-the-record lunch during the event. "Newt was a huge hit--HUGE," said one insider.
Gingrich hasn't formally announced that he's running, but every indication is that he will. He's been an outspoken critic of the Busheviks and the current Republican leadership, and he's posturing himself to be a viable alternative to folks like Mitt Romney, Bill Frist, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. To be sure, his pro-Israel stance, his tough-talk on Iran and his hawkish homeland security positions, combined with botaloads of charisma and a keen ability to put forth political doctrines that resonate with voters (see "Contract with America") make him an attractive Republican candidate.
At the AIPAC conference, Gingrich shared the limelight with Republican-Lite Warner, who appears to be believing all the D.C. hype that he's the only viable challenger to Hillary Clinton. According to WW, Warner was the big hit at the event's cocktail party. There's no question about Warner's intentions. He's clearly seeking the nomination, and his every move for the past year or more has been to solidify his base and reach across America to voters with whom he's had little or no name recognition.
Excuse me if I'm not excited. If Newt and Warner are the best their respective parties have to offer, both are in serious trouble.