10.31.2009 0

Another GOP Betrayal

  • On: 11/04/2009 10:40:55
  • In: Conservative Movement
  • By Howard Rich

    The final results in the NY 23 congressional election — with the Conservative Party candidate nearly pulling a stunning upset — prove anew what astute pundits have long known: As much as Newt Gingrich’s posturing and pontificating might suggest otherwise, the lens through which he views the world has always been dominated by power and partisanship – and how both forces could be manipulated to advance his own personal and political interests.

    This was the case in 1995, when as Speaker of the House Gingrich betrayed the faith of a nation which overwhelmingly supported the Republicans’ “Contract with America.” And it remains the case today, as Gingrich once again sacrificed the principles he claims to uphold on the altar of political expediency.

    In an overt, outdated appeal to the sanctity of increasingly meaningless party labels, Gingrich waded into what may well have been a defining special election – the high-profile, three-way race between establishment Republican Dede Scozzafava, Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Party challenger Doug Hoffman.

    What was originally viewed as one of several early referendums on the administration of President Barack Obama, the race in New York instead turned into a referendum on the two-party system itself.

    As such, it produced a visceral (and well-funded) reaction from the GOP establishment, which found itself in the unenviable position of having to rally around a candidate who supported President Barack Obama’s $787 billion bureaucratic bailout, who wants to strip workers of the secret ballot and who has been endorsed by the local ACORN organization.

    In becoming the most prominent Republican to lend his support to Scozzafava’s candidacy, Gingrich made no bones about his endorsement reflecting a desire to advance partisan needs over ideological interests. “The New York 23 special election is a test of whether we respect local parties and local leaders,” Gingrich wrote on his web site.

    Actually, the election was a test of whether institutional Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) will remain relevant in the coming era of multi-party, merit-driven electoral politics. And Newt Gingrich failed that test just as he has virtually every test in his career where principle conflicted with politics.

    Worse still, he attempted to demonize anyone who doesn’t join him in towing the party line, saying that their support for a third-party challenger represents “a clear road to reelecting President Obama and making Nancy Pelosi Speaker for life.”

    Such intellectually incurious fear-mongering wouldn’t seem strange coming from a lower-level party functionary, but Gingrich has always branded himself as the GOP’s intellectual heavyweight. Of course, in tossing this partisan “red meat” to a shrinking constituency, Gingrich neglects to mention how he teamed up with Speaker Pelosi last year to help advance the fuzzy science of global warming – which now serves as an ideological centerpiece of the Obama administration’s multi-faceted assault on the free market system.

    In other words, NY 23, he was simply being disingenuous and hypocritical – again.

    But, don’t just take my word for it, though. Ask U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, or former Reps. John Kasich and Joe Scarborough, each of whom has written in unflinching detail about how Gingrich moved quickly to betray the principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism after Republicans took control of Congress in 1995.
    Ultimately, power and party mattered more than principle to Gingrich then. And they still do.

    So, in the final analysis, NY 23 was really Gingrich deja vu. And once again, limited government advocates learned anew that once the former Speaker looks through the lens of power and partisanship, the hand that holds the dagger will invariably plunge into his neighbor’s back.

    The author is Chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

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