Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Gingrich Advocated Brokered Convention in 2008 GOP Presidential Race

Bookmark and Share

The former House Speaker's dream of an open convention for his party has been lingering for years

newtgingrich11.jpgAlthough he is taking significant heat in some quarters by remaining in the Republican presidential race with just two victories under his belt out of 31 contests, Newt Gingrich's appetite for making the Republican Party's presidential nomination contest a marathon that turns into a brokered convention has grown from seeds planted years ago.

In 2008, the Republican primary season began - as it did in 2012 - with three different candidates winning the first three contests.

Mike Huckabee won in Iowa, Mitt Romney was victorious in Wyoming, and John McCain was the winner in New Hampshire.

This refueled what turns out to have been an extremely premature discussion that the GOP was perhaps headed for a brokered convention.

In fact, Tony Blankley of the Washington Times had penned a column "None of the above; Republicans heading toward a brokered convention" (December 19, 2007) in which he bemoaned the lack of quality candidates in the field and wrote, "I fear our intra-party fury will destroy all leaders and send us off to a brokered convention - and from thence probably to defeat."

Less than a month later, on January 13, 2008, and five days after the New Hampshire primary, Gingrich appeared in a Sunday morning interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News.

During the interview, the subject of a long, drawn out Republican primary and a brokered convention took center stage:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The website Daily Kos which supports Democrats is actually urging Democrats to cross over and vote in the Republican primary, vote for Mitt Romney so that the Republican race is wide open and it takes them forever to come up with a nominee.

NEWT GINGRICH: But this may be a big mistake. For this reason, nothing is more killing in politics than boredom. This country - and I said - you remember I was on this show last year saying this. This country began deciding Iowa about four days out. This country apparently began deciding New Hampshire about a day out because apparently 20-some percent of the Democrats decided the last day. The idea that the Republicans have to be organized before Labor Day or they will be out of the race I think is a fundamental misunderstanding of television, the internet, you know YouTube, all the things we now communicate with. A very exciting Republican Party that actually talked about ideas and actually had a fight over the platform based on real ideas, I think might be a more interesting party than one which nominates somebody who's boring for five months.

In the interview, Stephanopouos also floated the idea of Gingrich himself emerging at such a convention and walking away with the nomination.

The former House Speaker came far short of giving a hard 'no.'

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They suggest a brokered convention might turn to you. Are you open to that?

NEWT GINGRICH: I do not think - I think a brokered convention would pick one of the people who had filed for president. But I think the process - after all, it was - you know Abraham Lincoln was running third and won the convention. He didn't come in first on the first ballot. And so I just think there's nothing unhealthy about the Republican Party having a serious discussion. We are at the end of the George W. Bush era. We are at the end of the Reagan era. We're at a point in time where we're about to start redefining - as a number of people have started talking about that we're starting to redefine the nature of the Republican Party in response to what the country needs.

The argument that Gingrich's advocacy for an open convention in 2012 is simply political expediency resulting from his struggling campaign does not seem quite as convincing when viewed in this context.

In fact, it seems a return to the brokered convention is actually one of the "big ideas" that may have been long held by the country's most famous living historian-politician.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Mississippi to Hold Its First Ever Competitive GOP Presidential Primary
Next post: Brokered Convention Media Chatter More Than Doubles from 2008

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting