Gingrich: 2012 Biggest Election Since 1860

Newt Gingrich says the coming presidential election will be the most important since the Civil War.

Newt Gingrich says the coming presidential election will be the most important since the Civil War.

AP (“Gingrich: 2012 election biggest since Lincoln in 1860“):

Republican Newt Gingrich told a Georgia audience on Friday evening that the 2012 presidential election is the most consequential since the 1860 race that elected Abraham Lincoln to the White House and was soon followed by the Civil War.

Addressing the Georgia Republican Party’s convention, Gingrich said the nation is at a crossroads and that the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama would lead to four more years of “radical left-wing values” that would drive the nation to ruin.

Gingrich also blasted Obama as “the most successful food stamp president in modern American history.”

For a history PhD, Gingrich has as odd weighing of events. Granting that every election is hyped as the most important in recent times, it’s simply nonsensical to argue that the stakes are higher now than they were during the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, or Vietnam. Hell, 2008 was more important, as we were at the early stage of the economic meltdown and there were real policy choices to be made. (That said, I think a President McCain would have done something similar in regards the massive bailouts.)

Depending on the Republican nominee, the choice could conceivably be as stark as any since 1988. Since then, every election has given us a choice between relative moderates because the Democrats moved sharply to the center in 1992. It’s conceivable that the Republicans will misread the 2010 results and veer harder right. Then again, it’s hardly inconceivable that we’ll see Obama vs. Romney, which will be a contest of personalities more than policies.

Regardless, any Republican with a chance to unseat Obama is unlikely to be able to overturn Obamacare or otherwise go far in reversing the “radical left-wing” policies enacted during Obama’s first two years. We’re simply not going to have 60 Tea Party members in the Senate.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Southern Hoosier says:

    Sounds a little melodramatic. I don’t believe the red states will secede if Comrade President gets reelected.

  2. Tano says:

    I think he meant that its the biggest election ever, actually, because he is in it.

  3. Southern Hoosier says:

    ….the Democrats moved sharply to the center in 1992.

    Democrats always move to the center to get elected, then govern from the left.

    Regardless, any Republican with a chance to unseat Obama is unlikely to be able to overturn Obamacare or otherwise go far in reversing the “radical left-wing” policies enacted during Obama’s first two years

    It is more a question of if they want to overturn. Candidates rail against things that they embrace once elected.

  4. john personna says:

    This guy needs a blood test for hyperbole levels. I think he’s reaching critical, end-stage, poisoning.

  5. Mr. Prosser says:

    The whole speech was one long blast on a dog whistle.

  6. Just 'nuthuh ig'rant cracker says:

    Excuse me…Obama is governing from the left? I realize that in the postmodern world, perception is everything, but come on now…the left? Does he even know where “the left” is?

  7. Rock says:

    Candidates rail against things that they embrace once elected.

    That’s the oldest trick in the playbook. Politicians create a crisis then campaign for or against it.

    Why let a good crisis go to waste?

  8. TG Chicago says:

    @Southern Hoosier

    Democrats always move to the center to get elected, then govern from the left.

    When it comes to “War on Terror” issues, Obama campaigned as a liberal, but has governed largely as a Bush clone.

    What’s an actual example of Obama or Clinton doing something as president that was farther to the left than what they campaigned on?

  9. Hey Norm says:

    Hey hoser….I mean Hoosier….
    How is passing a republican health care reform governing from the left?
    Buy a dog, name it Clue, then you will have one.

  10. reid says:

    It’s too bad d-bags like Gingrich feel the need to chum the waters with idiocy like this.

  11. Hey Norm says:

    This is just another case of Newt being racist with a safe amount of plausible deniability. Getting rid of what Newt himself labeled the Mau Mau influenced President is somehow on par with a war over slavery. He is a sad representative of a once important, rapidly becoming irrelevant, polical party

  12. John Peabody says:

    No. No, it’s not.

  13. superdestroyer says:

    The 2012 election will be the least relevant since Dole lost to Clinton to a rout in 1996.

    The idea that any Republican is going to challenge President Obama is laughable. The Republicans would be better off just nominating the candidate that is best on television and working hard to retain as many seats in the House and Senate as they can.

    What the Republicans really need to work on is identifying and promoting talented people who can succeed in the long term instead of jumping from faddish candidate to another. The Republicans should write off 2012 and concentrate on the long term for once.

  14. […] a guy with a PhD in History, 2012 Republican nominee Newt Gingrich is pretty good at hyperbole (and overblown fear-mongering): Republican Newt Gingrich told a Georgia […]

  15. lunaticllama says:

    The differences between Obama and Romney could not be starker. Romney will immediately cut taxes for the rich, thus increasing our deficit drastically. He then will try to slash the social safety net. None of this should be surprising. It’s what every Republican will do. I mean, the first thing Republicans do in office is cut taxes for the rich regardless of the circumstances. Obama will not do either of those things. So no, it will not be clash of personalities, unless you sip the tea party kool aid and are riding high on that whole trip. Then again, at that point, reality really doesn’t matter.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    This whole Left/Right dichotomy is increasingly absurd. Which right? Which left?

    An Obama/Romney contest will be between two technocrats. But it won’t be presented that way. No, in order to pander to fringe lunatics it will be armageddon. So we’ll be deprived of an intelligent debate on just how best to solve problems. And we’ll get teh stoopid. Newt shows the way.

    Would someone please explain to me how anyone ever thought this guy was smart, let alone “Brilliant?”

  17. ponce says:

    If we’re measuring by weight, I’d say Gingrich has a point.

    What happened to Huckabee’s diet?

  18. steve says:

    It is the biggest because Newt wants to be in it. Classic narcissist reasoning.

    Steve

  19. I have been voting in Presidential Elections since 1988 (voted for Ron Paul, by the way) and there’s always someone who says that “this is the most important election ever…..” or words to that effect. Now that we’ve got the always-on world of cable, talk radio, and the internet creating divisions where they don’t really exist, it is even easier to make that statement.

    That doesn’t make it any more true, though.

  20. Dodd says:

    I’m genuinely beginning to wonder if Newt’s ‘campaign’ isn’t just some sort of performance art piece.

  21. ponce says:

    if Newt’s ‘campaign’ isn’t just some sort of performance art piece.

    Yep, and its title is “The Decline and Fall of the Republican Party.”

  22. george says:

    This whole Left/Right dichotomy is increasingly absurd. Which right? Which left?

    Surely you’re not suggesting a one dimensional linear scale isn’t up to the task of accurately mapping the whole of human political and economic thought?

  23. Dodd says:

    Yep, and its title is “The Decline and Fall of the Republican Party.”

    Keep telling yourself that right up to the point where he drops out with only a few more delegates than Ron Paul.

  24. I am only 26, but if I go through an election in my life that isn’t hyped as the most important election of our lifetime I will be shocked.

  25. Todd Pollard says:

    The white people in America have been pushed so far that I am glad someone like Newt realized that America is on the brink of a civil war caused by Obama, the most divisive and rascist president in our history

  26. An Interested Party says:

    The white people in America have been pushed so far that I am glad someone like Newt realized that America is on the brink of a civil war caused by Obama, the most divisive and rascist president in our history

    I wonder who else around here agrees with this…

  27. Barry says:

    george says:

    “Surely you’re not suggesting a one dimensional linear scale isn’t up to the task of accurately mapping the whole of human political and economic thought?”

    IIRC, there’s been some political science research which showed that such a scale predicted votes in the House quite well.