If nothing else, and there probably is nothing else, Newt Gingrich has made this campaign a lot more interesting and a bit longer.
You'll get no complaints from me. Or anyone else in the media.
Newt is the only candidate ever fired by his staff; it's usually the other way round but last summer they all walked out on him. But he came back and for one, brief, shining moment, he was the frontrunner du jour.
But he's been out of the money for a long time now, racking up his one-time home state of Georgia and South Carolina. Ever since then he's been falling farther and farther back in the pack, sometimes even coming in behind Ron Paul, sometimes not even bothering to compete.
There's much depth to Gingrich but not to his campaign, which has been marked by little planning and less organization. How else to explain his failure to get on the ballot in his new home state of Virginia? Or in all the districts of other states where he ran?
So what's he really running for?
Newt is a has-been who wants back in the spotlight and never to have to fly coach again. He didn't really have a chance for the nomination but he has been good copy, is very smart, a terrific debater, a creative thinker pushing all sorts of new ideas and a reliable source of malevolent off-the-wall attacks.
He calls himself a "grandiose thinker" and as evidence he has proposed establishing a colony on the moon, mining its minerals and making it the 51st state.
Newt hasn't been running for president so much as promoting Newt, Inc., with books by Newt, speeches by Newt, movies by Newt, interviews with Newt, honoraria for Newt. That is his pension plan. He's 69, likes the good life and craves an audience.
He's got an extremely wealthy Jewish benefactor, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, but that money could dry up or at least slow to a relative trickle when the casino mogul shifts his support to Mitt Romney.
Newt has been loyal to Adelson's extremist views regarding the Middle East and may even share them. He has called the Palestinians an "invented" people, supports the Gaza blockade, said he would consider releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, thinks "the whole peace process has been absurd," and is ready to march into battle against Iran with his friend Benjamin Netanyahu.
Unlike Santorum he never took money from Jews for Jesus followers (as far as we know) and didn't stand up and applaud when Evangelical preacher Dennis Terry declared "there is only one God and his name is Jesus…If you don't like the way we do things…get out….We worship God's son Jesus Christ."
Romney tried to one-up Newt by saying his first foreign trip as president would be to Israel. Gingrich came back with a promise that his first executive order as president would be to transfer the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and dismissed threats from the Saudis and others to break relations with Washington over the move as "nonsense" and they're too scared of Iran.