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Friday, April 03, 2009

Newt Gingrich: 2012 might see a third party movement if the GOP doesn't shape up

"Remember, everything Obama’s doing, Bush started last year,” said former Republican speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. “If you’re going to talk about big spending, the mistakes of the Bush administration last year are fully as bad as the mistakes of Obama’s first two, three months.”

Gingrich was speaking to an audience at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri. He was busy warning GOP leaders of the possibility of a significant third party rise come 2012 if the Republicans don't manage to regain their status as the small government party: “If the Republicans can’t break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012.”

Gingrich is right. The movement started by Ron Paul when he ran to become the Republican nominee for president seems only loosely tethered to the Republican party. The Campaign for Liberty, as it's now called, has a large and passionate following.

Fox News host Glenn Beck is tapping into a similar small government sentiment with his program, which has the highest viewership amongst news stations in its time slot, and occasionally outstrips The O'Reilly Factor for viewers. Beck frequently includes third party leaders like Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr on his broadcast.

Meanwhile, the anti-big government Tea Party protest movement is strong and growing, with no discernible ties to Republicans.

Gingrich himself has openly mused about possibly seeking the presidency in 2012, a decision he will make come 2011. Given the content of his speech, there's reason to think that he might be testing the waters of running third party himself, possibly as a Libertarian Party candidate, a Constitution Party candidate, or as an Independent candidate.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on April 3, 2009 in Economic freedom | Permalink


Newt Gingrich should not be welcomed into any liberty-friendly movement. He left his first wife when she was recovering from cancer surgery. He left his second wife because he was having an affair with his current wife. While elected, he said that all drug smugglers should be killed. His position on the separation of church and state is at best unclear.

Having him say intelligent things is like having George W. Bush defend capitalism at the end of his presidency -- it's an ally so bad he worsens your cause.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2009-04-03 7:58:36 AM

Great post, Peter.

Although, I don’t think there is any reason to believe Gingrich is looking at a third party run. I think he’s simply letting his party know that it needs more of his “Contract with America” and less of Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” if it hopes to shake its reckless, big government image. Voters who want big government will vote Democrat. Voters who want small government will vote for a third party if the Republicans abandon their roots, is his warning. It’s the same warning Ron Paul has been sharing with the party.

Gingrich is letting the base know that they would do better with his small government brand of conservatism, than with what the party is currently offering voters.

How about a Gingrich-Paul ticket? Gingrich brings the conservative base; Paul brings the libertarians...and the growth, energy and money.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-03 8:27:48 AM

Mike, is this your Jerry Falwell routine?

The Contract with America was the best thing the Republicans have had on offer until the Ron Paul Revolution. It stuck to fiscal reforms and left social issues more or less untouched. It wasn’t perfect, and neither is Gingrich, or Paul for that matter, but it would go a long way to restoring the Republican party.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-03 8:39:09 AM

Matthew: I'm persuaded by your analysis.

I now think that the most likely thing happening here is Gingrich is busy raising the potential threat of a third party, and doing his best to remind GOPers of the big win they had with his Contract with America. He is most probably eyeing a potential GOP spot.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-04-03 9:09:09 AM

I would add, Peter, that this third party threat -- or the Ron Paul threat, whatever form it might take -- is very real. Gingrich isn't crying wolf.

He and his party would be wise to tap into the Campaign for Liberty. It represents opportunity for growth.

If Ann Coulter can warm to Ron Paul, so can Gingrich.

Boy, have things changed. When we first started writing about Paul, conservatives on this site went apoplectic. Now, the only hope for their party can be found in Paul's Campaign for Liberty. I guess regular people are simply inclined to liberty.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-03 9:27:44 AM

I agree with you, Matthew.

There are so many positive things happening in the broader pro-liberty movement, that it's difficult to keep up with all of it.

The anger directed at Ron Paul seems, in my judgment, to be entirely dependent on Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy. But since the primary issue just now is the economy, and the bailouts in particular, a lot of conservatives are warming up to Paul's Old Right conservatism. And a good thing too.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-04-03 9:39:54 AM

I think you're right, Peter.

But America's wars are also growing increasingly unpopular. Perhaps Republicans are growing tired of defending the Empire. Now they can say to voters: "But we have Ron Paul."

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-03 9:54:39 AM

And a third party movement is a bad thing?

Posted by: Morgan | 2009-04-03 10:25:49 AM

"And a third party movement is a bad thing?"

It's terrible for the Demopublicans.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-04-03 10:33:22 AM

I don't think it is, Morgan. I just don't think Gingrich is the kind of guy who starts or joins a third party.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-03 11:24:34 AM

Morgan: I applaud third party movements.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-04-03 12:30:00 PM

How about a Gingrich-Paul ticket? Gingrich brings the conservative base; Paul brings the libertarians...and the growth, energy and money.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-03 8:27:48 AM

Ummmm ... nawwwww. Not Gingrich.
I'd like to see the whole system of sham democracy go down in flames though.

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-03 8:44:19 PM

More on the Freedom Movement: http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-03 8:45:21 PM

Gingrich won't run as a third party candidate. What he said was part of an attempt to push the Republican Party back to the right economically. Gingrich is also behind the scenes pushing the careers of such young Republican congressmen as Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Eric Cantor of Virginia. The two are some of the biggest opponents of Obama's economic policy. I would be surprised if he openly runs for president. His negatives have always been high(Although, I am surprised that his affair and treatment of first wife would bother libertarians. After all, I thought libertarians believed that the private life was no one elses concern).
A third party would split the American right. Many socially conservative Americans are not going to support a party that ignores their views. The U.S. is still largely a socially conservative country(pro-death penalty, pro-gun, pro-school prayer with over 75% support, anti-marijuana legalization with 62%-31% opposed in CBS poll, and most favoring strict abortion restrictions). Also, the victory in Iraq has taken some of the steam out of the anti-war movement. Obama is sending more troops to Afghanistan and the polls show the U.S. public supporting the move by 2 or 3 to 1. Paul was helped by opposition to Iraq. The war was won despite Paul and his ilk wanting the U.S. to lose. The current uproar is not so much foreign policy related anymore. The current issues are obama's big spending, mexico's instability, and coddling up to terrorists. Ron Paul can't address the terrorist issue because he voted against every law that got tough with the terrorists. Paul was against the border fence and I don't believe that he supports troops on the border(85% of Americans want national guard troops on Mexican border in Rasmussen Reports poll).America is not Canada. The people don't want the terrorists coddled. They are also turning against big government spending. The answer isn't libertarianism. The answer is a new Reagan or Thatcher coalition of social conservaties, anti-terrorist hawks, and small government economists. This is the model that works in the U.S.

Posted by: Paul | 2009-04-04 3:49:48 PM

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