Newt Just Wants to Help TV Networks

Even with his own sense of grandiosity, I doubt even Newt Gingrich truly believes a brokered convention is on the horizon. Mitt Romney, while still a weak candidate for the general election, is working his way steadily up to the required delegate count, and the leaders of the Republican Party—such as possible White Knight Jeb Bush—are throwing their lot behind Romney.

But Gingrich isn't quite ready to drop the line, and his reasoning for why a brokered convention would help his party has become specious to a hilarious degree. Yesterday he suggested that it'd help Republicans because a brokered convention would just be so much darn fun to watch. Via GOP12, here's what Gingrich said on CNN:

"That would be the most exciting 60 days of civic participation in the age of Facebook and Youtube. ... the convention would be the most exciting convention in modern times, and whoever became the nominee would have the highest attendance, the highest viewership in history for their acceptance speech."

As a political observer who will spend the last days of August searching for a good story in Tampa, I certainly share Gingrich's desire for a convention with a bit of fun and uncertainty. But it's hard to imagine how that would help the Republicans. Conventions are droll affairs of little interest except for the most diehard political junkies. Sometimes a young politician is introduced to the national spotlight with a great speech—such as Obama in 2004—but real drama doesn't tend to help the hosting party. The Chicago Democratic convention in 1968 wasn't lacking in excitement, but that didn't work out so well for Humphrey in the general election. Or take 1976 and 1980, when an intra-party primary challenge against an incumbent president added extra intrigue, deflating the standing of the incumbent in both instances.

A brokered convention this year would attract viewers who might typically tune it out, and would create have a host of viral-ready clips to be spread across YouTube and Twitter. It wouldn't be the harmonious kumbaya moments that would get passed around, it'd be clips of a discordant party at war with itself, not exactly the best posture for entering a general election against a sitting president.

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