Well, folks, there comes a time in a man's life when he has to shuck off all the uncertainty and indecision, extricate himself from his numerous financial commitments, take the hand of the "Chevrolet" lady he macked on while he was married to his "Jaguar," and commit himself fully (or as fully as he can!) to the path of becoming a second-tier candidate (pending a decision from Mike Huckabee) for the GOP nomination to be President of these United States of America. And for Newton Leroy Gingrich, that time came -- well, actually, it was supposed to have come back in March, but there was some confusion on that regard, right? So now the time has come! Newt Gingrich is in the race for 2012!
Gingrich's decision to leap into the pool and finally get himself wet kicked off what has been -- and what will continue, through tomorrow, to be -- the period in which the 2012 GOP field really started to come together.
Also joining the festivities: Texas Representative and "ReLOVEution" leader Ron Paul. Of course, unlike Gingrich, Ron Paul isn't much for dithering. By the time he took the stage at the first GOP debate in South Carolina, it was pretty much a given he was in -- he had a ground game laid in Iowa and fans who were dropping million dollar money-bombs on his campaign coffers.
But then there's Mike Huckabee. He's on the tease today about a forthcoming announcement about his plans for the 2012 campaign -- plans he says he will share Saturday night on his eponymous Fox News show. Hmmmm. Saturday night. It's all right for fighting, but for making news about jumping into a Presidential race? Not so much. Signs are starting to point to Huckabee staying home.
That leaves room at the top of the polls, where Huckabee has been a mainstay. And who knows, there may be movement still to come. Mitt Romney, who has been a co-frontrunner for many months with Huck, gave his major speech on health care this week, and it did not go well. Not at all. The National Review called it "illogical," and "terrible," and said, "Mitt Romney just gave a more articulate defense of Obamacare than President Obama ever has." Knives are out. Will Romney get himself cut up, or has he put the issue out there early enough to get past it?
Romney's not the only one to take a hit this week. Donald Trump's support in the polls completely collapsed this week, and underneath all that human wreckage you could also find the ruins of Tim Pawlenty -- his post debate numbers from Public Policy Polling were grim. And the world still waits for Mitch Daniels to decide what he's going to do -- all eyes are on his wife, Cheri, who could hold veto power, and who got a taste this week of what the dark arts of presidential politics are really like.
Amid it all, some still wonder if there's time for a "white knight" to ride in and save this field from ruin. What about Cain-mentum? Or maybe Team Huntsman can help? Huntsman campaign manager John Weaver is confident, quipping, "This is the weakest Republican field since Wendell Willkie won the nomination on the sixth ballot in 1940."
Wendell Willkie references? That's the sort of week it's been. To get up to speed on everything that's happening, please enter the 2012 Speculatron for the week of May 13, 2011.