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Scratch Another GOP Candidate off the List for 2012

November 2, 2009

Newt Gingrich has often shown himself to be one of the great political and social visionaries of our time. A historian with a PhD and the ability to author a couple of books a year (he's written nineteen so far), the former Speaker of the House was first elected to Congress in 1978, in the middle of the hapless Jimmy Carter administration and from Carter's home state of Georgia. It was an indication of things to come.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Gingrich developed a will and an ability to lead. When Bill and Hillary Clinton tried to destroy health care as we know it in 1993-94, Newt Gingrich saw a once-in-a-century opportunity to realign power at the federal level. He called it the "Contract with America."

Newt's goal was to take Tip O'Neill's old adage that "all politics is local" and turn it on its head by nationalizing a contest for control of the United States House of Representatives. He travelled the country working tirelessly on behalf of GOP candidates. That was how I first met him, when he came to the Midwest to campaign for a young conservative congressional candidate for whom I was working at the time.

In September of 1994, then-House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich summoned to Washington all those grateful candidates, for whom he had worked so hard over the previous months, to sign the Contract with America on the steps of the Capitol. It was an historic moment, and Newt knew it. The result was one of the most stunning shifts in political power in one election in the history of the Republic. Newt became Speaker and shepherded nine out of ten of the Contract's provisions through the House.

I write all this to preface my contention that Newt Gingrich, who should be a contender for president in 2012, has now disqualified himself. The former Speaker might have overcome the baggage of two failed marriages and an intense hatred by most in the mainstream media. Conservatives liked him and are still grateful for what he did for the movement. But Newt has fallen for the biggest lie in politics, and it is this: we must support Republicans simply because they are Republicans.

I refer, of course, to Newt's recent endorsement of New York State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava in the special election in the Empire State's 23rd Congressional District. Officially, Scozzafava is a Republican, although her political philosophy mirrors few of the GOP's platform tenets. She is locked in a three-way race for Congress with the Democrat, attorney Bill Owens, and the only conservative in the race, Doug Hoffman. The three are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican John McHugh, who has been appointed Secretary of the Army.

As columnist Michelle Malkin has pointed out, Scozzafava is "an ACORN-friendly, big labor-backing, tax-and-spend radical in GOP clothing." She favors same-sex marriage, unfettered abortion on demand, and has such an atrocious voting record on taxes in the state legislature that Owens, the Democrat, is attacking her as a "tax raiser!"

Naturally most true conservatives are lining up to support Hoffman, the nominee of New York's Conservative Party. Former Alaska Gov. Sara Palin, arguably our most reliable political compass at the moment, has enthusiastically endorsed him. The Club for Growth has blasted Gingrich for his endorsement of Scozzafava.

This congressional seat has long been held by a Republican, but if conservatives split their votes between Scozzafava and Hoffman, that could change. That is where Gingrich could make a difference if he were to endorse Hoffman. Instead, his endorsement of Scozzafava puts him, politically speaking, in bed with Markos Moulitsas, purveyor of the vile, left-wing blog known as The Daily Kos.

Newt's logic? He says he wants to win a Republican majority again. With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, for what? Has wandering in the political wilderness since the repudiation of the voters after the big-spending, liberal-light actions of the last Republican Congress taught you nothing? With "Republicans" like Dede Scozzafava, who needs Democrats? Obviously not Markos Moulitsas and his crazed Socialist ilk!

Newt Gingrich should not run for president. Even if he were to win, there is no way we could trust him now.

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Copyright ©2009 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.