What Newt Gingrich doesn’t understand about the GOP

A battle is taking place in an upstate New York U.S. House race that pits Party Platform-supporting Republicans against RINOs (Republican in Name Only) and the politically confused.

Here is how the Wall Street Journal recently summed it up:

“Establishment Republicans have largely lined up behind Republican Dede Scozzafava, despite a voting record in the state legislature that puts her to the left of half of the Democrats in that body. [Sarah] Palin, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson, and Rep. Michelle Bachman of Minnesota are all backing Conservative Doug Hoffman, who narrowly failed to beat Ms. Scozzafava for the support of the ten GOP county chairmen who selected the Republican nominee.”

The fact that ten GOP county chairmen supported the wrong candidate surprises no one in Illinois familiar with the widespread confusion about the purpose of the party. Many people still seem to think the Republican Party is a vehicle for furthering the selfish ambition of individual candidates. It’s not, and never has been.

The GOP exists to advance a policy agenda based on a set of principles that are outlined nicely in the Party’s National Platform. What’s the point of a GOP that pursues Democratic Party ideals? Some people never ask or answer that very basic question.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is also supporting the wrong candidate in that New York race. The confusion of the NRCC surprises no one who has paid attention to that failed organization. The NRCC couldn’t maintain a majority because they showed no sign that they understood the purpose of holding a majority. Speaker Dennis Hastert’s tenure was so bad the American public elevated Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership.

The “thinkers” at the NRCC see the entire world through one window – that of campaign politics. They don’t seem to grasp the simple notion that politics isn’t supposed to be about fooling people into supporting your candidate on election day. It is supposed to be about moving public opinion all year long through all available means. When the public supports your policy reforms, successful governing follows, and campaigns become much easier to win.

The public rewards success and punishes failure. The reason Republicans lost power is because they didn’t have enough to show for all their years in the majority.

Big names like Newt Gingrich are also backing the liberal Dede Scozzafava. Readers of this column know I’m a big fan of Newt’s – you can type Newt’s name into our search box for many examples of where I quote him. Unfortunately, nobody’s perfect.

Here’s my guess on how Newt’s endorsement came about. Either Newt – or a member of his staff – knows one of those old New York party bosses, or they know someone at the NRCC, and a phone call – or phone calls – were made.

Newt’s short Speakership in the late 1990s could boast of welfare reform and the closest thing we’ve seen to balanced budgets in my adult lifetime.

But Newt, like most old time Republicans, still can’t seem to grasp that the old horse and buggy days are gone – and that for the GOP to succeed, it must step into the modern age of communications and become what it can be at the local level.

The goal isn’t to recreate the Hastert Congressional majority. What good would that do except guarantee failure all over again? We need to elect people who will drive an agenda – and succeed. That will be impossible if your majority consists of too many people pursuing Democratic Party policies.

If you can’t get a Platform-supporting Republican elected in a state or in a district, the solution is not to elect a Democrat in Republican clothing. Here’s the solution – are you ready for it? It’s profound. (I’m kidding, of course. It’s not profound – it’s terribly simple if people would just think a little.)

The solution is to go all out to move public opinion in that district or state so more people will realize what the GOP’s platform contains are the ingredients for economic growth, greater opportunity, and for a government that respects religious liberty and traditional values.

(As a side note, those who still think the values issues are separate from economic issues should visit this page and read the articles under the heading “On the connection between economics and morality.”)

Sarah Palin was quoted here saying:

“Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.”

“Political parties must stand for something.”

Palin was also quoted in that Wall Street Journal article referenced above. Sarah gets it – Newt should give her a call and ask her to explain it to him.

“Best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.”

“Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate that more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party’s ticket.”