What to Make of Newt Gingrich

by Sal on October 28, 2009

in Election 2009,Politics

I like Newt.  I think he has played a vital role in the advancement of Conservatism over the years, and continues to be a vital voice in the Republican Party and Conservative movement.  I also am not that upset that he sided with Dede Scozzafava in the election.  We as Conservatives have to realize that there are differences of opinion on occasion at the best approach to the end result of achieving limited government.  I think Newt is being a little short-sighted in this matter, as he does not see the buildup of frustration among Conservatives at the way the GOP has treated Conservatives.  Had the NRSC stayed out of the races in Florida and California (and Pennsylvania before Benedict Arlen switched sides), Conservatives may not have gotten so riled up about NY-23. Yet here we are, with a good, solid Conservative running under the Conservative party ticket, who would rather have run as a Republican, but was  denied the chance.

To be fair, Newt endorsed Scozzafava before all of the attention was brought to that race, so he is in somewhat of a hard spot at this point.  In his rush to defend his position, however, he has disparaged Conservatives who support Doug Hoffman and has made some rather unfortunate attacks on Hoffman himself, including one that is the height of hypocrisy for Gingrich, that Hoffman is a carpetbagger.  Now, New York law allows someone from outside the district to run in the district.  To be fair, Hoffman was once part of NY-23 before it was recently redistricted.  He is from NY-23 but his current residence is a few miles outside the boarders, and he has pledged to move into the district should he win.  Where this becomes hypocritical is that Newt himself ran for a district in which he did not live in back in 1992.

People are lashing back at Newt, some harsher than others.  To me, the best and most measured response came from former Sen. Fred Thompson, who sums up beautifully what many of us in the Conservative movement are thinking:

Newt said that our support for Hoffman was a ‘purge,’ was ‘misguided,’ was—we were applying a litmus test that said if you’re not 100 percent with us than you’re not with us at all.   And that Scozzafava was more in step with her district and therefore we shouldn’t substitute our judgment for the party elders of the district.  Are we saying that as Americans you’ve got to have an ‘R’ by your name before you vote for them?  Where do you draw the line?  If somebody with a record like this gets our seal of approval, regardless, only because she’s got an ‘R’ by the name… You know, just because we’re Republicans doesn’t mean that we’re deaf, dumb, and blind.

Newt should continue to be looked at as a major influence of American Conservatism, and play an important role in the debate.  I think that this incident, however, has ruined his chances of winning a primary in 2012.  Gingrich thumbed his nose at the base, was disingenuous with his accusations against Hoffman, and has become almost too willing to compromise and work with those who seek to undermine the founding principles of this nation.  It’s a tragedy that a once great leader of the movement has turned in this direction.

H/T: Michelle Malkin

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