Newt Gingrich was a conservative rock star of sorts in the early to mid 90′s. The “Contract with America” was a flash of political brilliance, and with it Gingrich led the Republican Revolution in 1994.

Heading into 2010, a similar resurrection is brewing, but this time Gingrich wants no part of it, and he hasn’t for some time. As a matter of fact, he’s still perplexed at why conservatives didn’t back Dede Scozzafava, the liberal “Republican” who has since dropped out of the race.

Gingrich thinks it’s a mistake, but he’s mistaken:

“This makes life more complicated from the standpoint of this: If we get into a cycle where every time one side loses, they run a third-party candidate, we’ll make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obama’s re-election,” said Mr. Gingrich, who had endorsed Ms. Scozzafava but on Saturday urged voters to support Mr. Hoffman.

I’ll reverse the equation by saying that if the GOP gets into a cycle of trotting out liberals called Republicans and expecting me to vote for them based on a superficial party label, we still end up with liberals running the government. I’d rather be ruled by Pelosi and Obama than by people who call themselves Republicans to get elected but push the exact same shams, Newt. I prefer the genuine item to a cheap, misleading knock-off, even in politics.

Another mistake that Gingrich might be making is that the GOP as it exists has been in a death-spiral for some time. In “saving” the Republican party by not voting for third-party conservative candidates, what are we saving? The increasingly “moderate” party Gingrich is peddling — the same one that believes that insane government takeovers can be stopped by coming up with legislation that’s only half as stupid and sells out the future 10% slower? The party with former leaders who now sit down with Nancy Pelosi to drink global warming Kool Aid and give the nation away based on junk science, greed and lust for power (not necessarily in that order)?

Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava — which in and of itself I could let slide as a non-shocker given Newt’s move to the middle over the past few years — but after Scozzafava dropped out, having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in Republican donations with her, she endorsed the Democrat. And Gingrich is still defending her, saying conservatives are making a mistake for voting third party and probably winning the election? This sounds more like sour grapes than strategic planning.

If the gods are smiling in the coming months and years, maybe Newt Gingrich will realize that the Republican Party is the one in danger of becoming the “third party” if they don’t wake up.

Newt Gingrich has gone from a dynamic politician bent on saving the country, to a moderate strategist trying to figure out how to save a political party. Sarah Palin didn’t endorse Doug Hoffman to help the Conservative Party or harm the Republican Party — but because she thinks it’s best for America — and I don’t think that’s a “mistake” whatsoever.

If the Republicans can get back to thinking that way, they might be able to save the country and their party, but if they’re only concerned with the latter, both will continue to go down the drain.

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