Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is now dangling the idea that if the Republican Party doesn’t do things the way she wants to, she could entertain the idea of bolting the party for a new party called the “Freedom Party.” The catalyst was a Tweet to Palin read to her on Fox News asking whether “you & [Joe Scarborough loathing conservative talk show host] Mark Levin be willing to build a “Freedom Party” if GOP continues to ignore conservatives?”
And here’s her answer:
“I love the name of that party — the ‘Freedom Party,’” Palin said. “And if the GOP continues to back away from the planks in our platform, from the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan, then yeah, more and more of us are going to start saying, ‘You know, what’s wrong with being independent,’ kind of with that libertarian streak that much of us have. In other words, we want government to back off and not infringe upon our rights. I think there will be a lot of us who start saying ‘GOP, if you abandon us, we have nowhere else to go except to become more independent and not enlisted in a one or the other private majority parties that rule in our nation, either a Democrat or a Republican.’ Remember these are private parties, and you know, no one forces us to be enlisted in either party.”
A few thoughts on this:
1)Starting a SUCCESSFUL third party is very difficult. Probably the last person who had a real shot at it was Texas billionaire Ross Perot when he ran against George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992 — and squandered his chance when he initially dropped out, complaining that Republicans were planning to disrupt is daughter’s wedding. More often than not, third parties in America provide a valuable mechanism for those who don’t want to choose between “the lesser of two evils” that help one or the other major parties by depriving a major party of a vote. This is the reality — so far. The American political system is
stacked rigged against third party success.
2) This underscores again Palin’s supreme weakness if she was presented as a serious candidate for the Presidency. There is no concern on her part about expanding the GOP’s constituency. She only wants to make sure that the party includes or follows the wishes of PART of the Republican party, and she wants those in the party who don’t follow its wishes to be marginalized.
3) It again confirms how fortunate America has been that Palin was never in line to become President as Vice President. Or, rather, if confirms that belief to Democrats, non-conservative independents, moderates and many Republicans who’ve been drummed out of the GOP because they are “RINOS” (moderates) or traditional conservatives who Palin and those who believe as she does feel must be punished for not following their agenda or for daring to show political treason (working at all with Democrats as Republicans have done in more years of America’s history than they have not).
4) It shows why Republican rebranding is now all but virtually dead and how difficult any attempts to change the current conservative political entertainment media complex/Tea Party brand will be. If the immigration bill is killed by the Republican House or watered down so it is repudiated by Latino groups, Democrats and Senate Republicans who included the path to citizenship, it will be dead.
It isn’t dead yet.
But I think I hear the start of something that sounds like a death rattle…
FOOTNOTE: Professor Bainbridge notes that the “Freedom Party” is the name Jake Featherston used for the name of his fascist, racist party that was fairly popular in the confederate states. “ Stephen Bainbridge writes:
I’m sure Palin/Mark Levin’s Freedom Party will be very different. Right?
Now we are witness to Republicans like Marco Rubio, who claimed to be a conservative, and the other back stabbing Republicans who voted for the Senate bill on immigration where they thumbed their nose at the rule of law and created an amnesty bill. It is not Obama or Democrats that have ruined the GOP, it is the establishment republicans who have done so, putting your personal power ahead of country and principles.
Enough is enough Republican Party, you are about to go the way of the Whigs if you keep it up. More and more I actually think that a third party is the way to go because the establishment Republicans are really no different than Democrats. Big government progressives are progressives no matter what party affiliation they belong to.
The funny thing is that I hear a more coherent version of this from liberals fairly frequently lately. And one might think that means we could possibly find some common ground with these folks for a third party.
Unfortunately, while we could possibly work on a few discrete issues, I guarantee you that Sarah Palin’s definition of freedom and rights and my definition of freedom and rights are very different, starting with whether or not I own my own body.
I do have to wonder how old Roger Ailes feels about that. Who knows, maybe he’s for it. After all, as long as the Palin wing controls the GOP, a lot of normal people are going to recoil from being part of it. They won’t join the “freedom party” though. They’ll just sign on with the Democrats. Hell, maybe Ailes will join up too eventually. The way its going, he’ll feel right at home.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.