The Progressive Liberal ‘Tea Party’ Candidate Newt Gingrich

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Earlier today, on Twitter, I challenged tea party supporters to explain how, as indicated by recent polls, they could support the man I described as a “liberal”—Newt Gingrich. I never imagined that proof of my allegation would surface before midnight. Lew just posted Newt’s interview with Beck wherein Newt describes himself as a “Theodore Roosevelt Republican.” OK, let’s go straight to the legend himself, TR:

“[I]n the days of Abraham Lincoln [the Republican party] was founded as the radical progressive party of the Nation. * * * It remained the Nationalist as against the particularist or State rights party, and in so far it remained absolutely sound; for little permanent good can be done by any party which worships the State’s rights fetish or which fails to regard the State, like the county or the municipality as merely a convenient unit for local self-government, while in all National matters, of importance to the whole people, the Nation is to be supreme over State, county, and town alike.

“As to all action of this kind there have long been two schools of political thought, upheld with equal sincerity. . . The course I followed, of regarding the executive as subject only to the people, and, under the Constitution, bound to serve the people affirmatively in cases where the Constitution does not explicitly forbid him to render service, was substantially the course followed by both Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.

“When I was inaugurated on March 4, 1905, I wore a ring . . . containing the hair of Abraham Lincoln.. . . I often thereafter told John Hay that when I wore such a ring on such an occasion I bound myself more than ever to treat the Constitution, after the manner of Abraham Lincoln, as a document which put human rights above property rights when the two conflicted.. . . . I believed in invoking the National power with absolute freedom for every National need. . . ” [Theodore Roosevelt: an Autobiography (New York: Macmillan Company, 1913) pp. 381–382, 394–395, 420 (emphasis added)].

Yeah, I’d say TR fan Gingrich is a progressive liberal.

10:17 pm on December 6, 2011