Newt Gingrich is backing Doug Hoffman. What a difference a day, a Sarah Palin endorsement, and a few tea parties make. The age of party leaders picking people is over. See update 11-3-09 below. Also see post election update below:
This from Newt is a brave statement:
The age of party leaders picking people is over.However, he goes on to call Dede Scozzafava a "statesman:"
Scozzafava did the statesmanlike thing in dropping out.And he says the populist movement wins over politics-as-usual:
This is both a tribute to the power of the national conservative movement to define an issue and a commentary on the populist anger against politics-as-usual.Gingrich admits that he has been a part of "politics-as-usual." Isn't that pitiful? Sarah Palin brought DeDe Scozzafava to national attention. I doubt many of us would have known about her without Palin's endorsement of Hoffman. Sarah is no longer an elected official. She is now one of the conservative sentries sprinkled around the country - standing guard, as are our the tea parties. We are back on track.
In an interview with Rush Limbaugh in January 2008, Gingrich said this:
We are at the end of the Reagan era. We're at a point in time when we're about to start redefining -- as a number of people started talking about, starting to redefine -- the nature of the Republican Party, in response to what the country needs.
Newt, the great modern day, post-Reagan brain of conservative politics, has forgotten that Ronald Reagan did the hard lifting. Reagan didn't "redefine," he didn't figure it out for himself, he just took the Constitution's conservative principles and planted both feet squarely. When he could not get the policy he wanted, he didn't stop talking about conservatism. He didn't start making excuses, redefining and looking around for a bigger tent.
Newt fell into the trap. He forgot that conservative populism is constitutional populism. He forgot that populism is "we the people." He knew it when he was Speaker. Conservative principles haven't changed. As Newt once said, the primary purpose of a political leader is to:
"build a majority. If [voters] care about parking lots, then talk about parking lots."So let's get on with it and talk about conservatism. If we can fill a big tent with pro-choicers joining us because conservatism, in the main, is a constitutional and very decent position, then let them enter. Let us talk, and talk, and talk about what is constitutional and what is not.
Newt gets it: The age of the party picking people is over. It should have never started. "We the people" allowed it to happen. We thought our chosen leaders would be on watch, but that sentry failed. Even as we began to wake up, the leadership didn't listen. We'll keep our sentry posted. Now let's work on getting support for Marco Rubio in Florida who is the only conservative in the race for the U.S. Senate.
How could she have accepted all that support?" he said, adding later: "I'm very, very let down because she told everybody she was a Republican, and she said she was a loyal Republican."Earth to Newt: did you ever take just a minute to check out her voting background or her associations? All the info was very public and very available. Hoffman was in the area telling everyone, everything about her. How did Sarah figure it out and you didn't?