All the indicators point to a decision by Georgian Newt Gingrich to give up his presidential campaign and return home and leave the Republican contest to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
That is, all the indicators except one: Newt himself.
I have seen no quit in the man, just a large dose of hard-headiness, not to mention his well-known, but not admired, headful of egotism.
The former U.S. House speaker has won only two states, Georgia and South Carolina. Romney has won 16 states and Santorum 11 since the GOP primaries began.
When Gingrich could not even win Mississippi and Alabama, that told me something. It was this: Newt, it's over for you. Grab a bus and come home.
He will not do it. He won't take the bait. Just this week Newt proffered some scheme that could deliver him the nomination. Gingrich said that if Romney does not end June with more than the 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination, the party leaders will change the rules in mid-stream and give him (Newt) the nomination at the Tampa convention based on his being best suited to take on and defeat President Obama.
Romney, who has shown a total lack of knowledge in how to win any Southern votes, is still far and away the leading GOP contender at this point with 569 delegates secured. He needs slightly more than twice that number to nail it down, and most future primaries are above the Mason-Dixon Line.
Gingrich has served Georgia well through the years. He's actually a native of Pennsylvania, but let's keep that little secret to ourselves.
I think his worst mistake was trying to convince voters that his job at mortgage giant Freddie Mac was providing them with "historical perspective," not as a lobbyist. Records showing he earned $1.6 million told the tale.
Newt's owning up to past marital difficulties was admirable. Few marriages are of the rose garden variety and many people seem to have forgiven him.
Despite his failed effort to win Alabama and Mississippi, we were proud that he showed Messrs. Santorum and Romney a thing or two about grits and shrimp and catfish. He displayed true leadership form in telling the world that he knew it is "cheese grits," not "cheesy grits."
He also was not ashamed to use "y'all" on the trail with gusto. Romney's efforts at greeting southerners in the same manner were wretched at best. Santorum's giddy attempts were even worse. When Romney told one Dixie crowd that "something came over me" to help him enjoy a plate of fried catfish and the trimmings, we recognized a total lack of sincerity. He wouldn't know a hush puppy from a fox terrier.
We were pleased that Newt chose to release his latest tax returns without much fanfare, unlike ol' 1-percenter Romney who dodged every call for his own show-and-tell tax report until the pressure got to be too much.
Mr. Speaker, you've been a prolific writer in your lifetime. Now write us a tell-all book about the campaign. Please, start typing!
Mac Gordon is a retired reporter who lives near Blakely and writes an occasional opinion column for The Albany Herald.