I have to agree, in part, with Eliezer's assessment of Gingrich. I've spoken with Newt Gingrich on a variety of occasions and found him to be intelligent and open-minded. Gingrich's only crime was that he was too moderate for a GOP that, with prodding from the Christian Coalition and other groups within the Christian Right, is tending towards a more extreme right-wing stance. To an extent, this shift within the GOP was necessitated by a moderation of the Democrats.
I'd much prefer a Newt Gingrich as a leader of the GOP than a Helms, Livingston, Archer, or Armey. The fiscal dementia sported by the extreme right factions of the GOP don't need a highly-visible proselytizer in place as de facto GOP congressional leader.
However, not all is gloomy. I suspect Gingrich will return to public life (or attempt to). I would not be surprised to see a Bush-Gingrich ticket in 2000.