Super PACs are Super Enablers

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MACON, GA - MAY 13: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the keynote speaker during the Georgia Republican Party Victory Dinner on May 13, 2011 in Macon, Georgia. Gingrich announced Wednesday his candidacy to run for the Republican Presidental nomination in 2012. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

MACON, GA – MAY 13: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the keynote speaker during the Georgia Republican Party Victory Dinner on May 13, 2011 in Macon, Georgia. Gingrich announced Wednesday his candidacy to run for the Republican Presidental nomination in 2012. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

Super Tuesday was supposed to be a day of reckoning for many candidates, but especially for Newt Gingrich. After South Carolina gave him no advantage in Florida, the Gingrich campaign said that he was focusing all of his time and energy on Super Tuesday. That’s where he was drawing the line in the sand.

We didn’t see him in Colorado, or any other states for that matter, in that last few weeks so he could focus strictly on Super Tuesday contests.

Based on that theory, Super Tuesday was a Super Disaster for Gingrich.

However, thanks to his Super PAC throwing millions of dollars of support in his direction, he can continue to try to convince GOP voters across the nation that wins in South Carolina and Georgia are enough to keep him in the race.

If this were back in the good old days of politics, like say 2004, Newt Gingrich would not have a Super PAC throwing millions of dollars in the race and he would be forced to realize that he doesn’t have the firepower to win. After his defeats on Super Tuesday, he would be bowing out of the race and offering his endorsement to another candidate.

But, because of the support of his Super PAC, Gingrich is upsetting the natural course of primary politics by staying in a race that he cannot win, nor influence.

Ron Paul will stay in the race, despite the fact that he cannot win, but he is hoping to influence the final vote with the grassroots support he has amassed over the campaign.

Newt Gingrich has only showed that he can attract a majority of the southern vote. That’s not exactly influential in the big scheme of things. It’s not as if he could bring that influence to a ticket as a Vice Presidential candidate, nor can he bring a batch of dedicated grassroots supporters to back him up.

While Gingrich is the focus of my criticism, the choice to stay in the race is not his fault. Candidates run until they are out of money. While Gingrich would likely have great difficulty raising money for his own campaign, his Super PAC found a big fan that is single handedly keeping the Gingrich campaign in the race possibly indefinitely.

One might argue that this is democracy working and that super PAC’s are simply free speech activated in a campaign. While that is a fine theoretical argument to make, here’s why the theoretical argument becomes a practical detriment to the eventual GOP nominee.

If the non-super PAC natural order of politics would have had Gingrich bow out of the campaign after Super Tuesday, future races in southern states would have determined if Romney or Santorum could keep the GOP momentum in the south.

Now that Gingrich will likely stay in the race, and win a few more southern states, the GOP will not have an accurate gauge of its support for the general election. That won’t spell the doom for the GOP, but it will give the eventual nominee a significant disadvantage.

Environmentalists have proven that nature must find its own balance or the entire ecosystem will be at risk. What’s true in nature is true in politics.

The fact that Newt Gingrich can survive Super Tuesday after spending all of his time campaigning in the ten states, only to win his home state proves that the super PAC’s are upsetting the political ecosystem.

In the end, the enabling nature of the super PAC’s are upsetting the natural order of things in the political world, and that can’t be a good thing.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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