This season we went from an apparent front-runner to an apparent nominee to a presumptive nominee, and now we have a new political creature, the “presumptive drop-out,” as The New York Times dubbed Newt Gingrich the other day when he let on that he would be ending his candidacy.
I liked it very much. You couldn’t exactly call him a drop-out, because he was still showing up at scheduled campaign appearances, though very few other people were, but he did allow that very soon “the campaign will go bye-bye.” Which is what makes him a presumptive drop-out.
Ron Paul is not a presumptive or any other kind of drop-out, at least not before May 29, when Texas holds its Republican primary.
Gingrich is funny as a hanging-on and hanging-around candidate because of the cost of providing him with Secret Service protection, which runs $40,000 a day. Not exactly a federal budget buster, but still, for someone who rails against the government for its profligacy, as he and all other Republicans do, it’s kind of cute. Another week or so of meaningless campaigning means a few hundred thousand dollars more of our tax money to protect him.
You can say that’s less than his line of credit at Tiffany, but remember, the line of credit didn’t do him any good either.
You can also say it’s less than the cost of Michelle Obama’s 2010 vacation in Spain, which ran to $467,000, according to the anti-Obama and anti-Clinton group Judicial Watch, but then we know that First Family travel is always expensive, and even that is just 10 days’ worth of Newt’s pointless meandering around North Carolina.
And further on the national political front, I hoped you noticed who John Edwards’ trial attorney is — it’s Abbe Lowell, the same hot shot who represented our own Sen. Joe Bruno two and a half years ago. Which meant I wasn’t surprised when I heard that the judge in Edwards’ case called the lawyer to the bench for an apparent dressing-down after a lot of aggressively nitpicking cross-examination of a witness, because I remembered that in the Bruno trial, Mr. Lowell nettled Judge Gary Sharpe also.
He has a way of appearing smarter than anyone else in the courtroom that doesn’t necessarily play well, even if it might be justified.
He’s the guy who represented President Clinton at Clinton’s impeachment hearing in the House of Representatives and also represented such luminaries of our national culture as Sean Combs and Jack Abramoff during their time of need.
He’s an aggressive litigator, but I don’t know if he could have done anything for former state Sen. Carl Kruger from Brooklyn, who just got hit with a seven-year sentence for taking $1 million worth of bribes. That might have been beyond even him.
The Times said Kruger “steered or squashed legislation” in exchange for the bribes, which undermines democracy, though word watchers noted it should have been “quashed,” not “squashed.”