It seems that Newt Gingrich is really laboring under the illusion that he can manage to stay out of the Republican primaries until the fall of this year and then begin to run. If he really believes that, he is the modern equivalent of the candidates of earlier times (like Humphrey in 1968) who stayed out of the primaries and got nominated by the party bosses.

But Newt is just wrong in his calculations. By the fall, Rudy will have raised his first 50 million and will be en route to his second 50. A candidate who starts at zero on Labor Day 2007 cannot hope to compete so as to climb the steep trajectory necessary to have the money needed to run in a national primary on Feb. 5, 2008. 

Gingrich will be hobbled, in any event, by polls that show him to be the most rejected of the possible candidates. According to the latest Fox News survey, 54 percent of the voters in a general election say that they would never vote for Newt, well above Hillary's rejection percentage of 46 percent. Given the fear that GOP primary voters have of losing, they will not knowingly nominate a candidate who statistically cannot win.

All this places a premium on Fred Thompson's decision. He may be the only candidate who can stop Rudy. (Not that I personally want Rudy to be stopped!)