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A Third Party is Not the Goal, Repopulating the GOP Is

This morning, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe appeared on CSPAN to discuss the latest budget battle, as well as the perceived fracturing inside of the GOP.  Kibbe was asked several questions about tactics, and about alternatives to ObamaCare, (which can be found here) but much of the interview was focused on the power struggle happening now inside the Republican party. 


It's an eight minute interview, which I encourage you to watch in its entirety. But for the purpose of this post, I want to focus on a narrative that is quickly making its way around the internet. Actually, let me correct myself: the false narrative that is quickly making its way around the internet.

During the interview, Kibbe was asked a question, directly quoting the lines below from this piece from the Washington Times 

A surprisingly number of prominent Republicans are saying that if the GOP loses the 2016 presidential elections, the party will go the way of the Whigs — or formally split into a moderate party and a conservative party.

Kibbe's response has been fodder for some who wish to see the GOP disintegrate, mainly bloggers and activists on the left.  Let's look at what he actually said first.

I think that's a real possibility because you're seeing this, this clash between the new generation.  And to me, it's not, it's not just the old wing of the Republican party versus the new wing, you're really seeing a disintermediation in politics. It's already happened with the Democratic party, it's happening with the Republican party now.  And grassroots activists have an ability to self organize, to fund candidates that they're more interested in, going right around the Republican National Committee and the Senatorial Committee, that's, that's the new reality, more democratized, and Republicans should come to terms with that. They still want to control things from the top down, and if they do that, there will absolutely be a split.  But my prediction would be that, that we take over the Republican party, and they go the way of the Whigs.

Read the last sentence there again.  Kibbe is not advocating for a third party or a split, as some would like you to believe.  He's continuing to talk about what we as a movement began talking about as early as 2008 - repopulating the Republican party.

When asked, "we being?", Kibbe further clarified:

We being activists that believe in freedom. You know, I don't call it the Tea Party anymore. I think it's broader than that. It's constitutional conservatives, it's libertarians, it's Tea Partiers, it's a lot of independents that had rationally opted out of politics because they didn't see a choice between the two parties. That's the future.  And I think that's what happened in 2010, that a lot of independents showed up because they were worried about the government take over of health care.  They were worried, that, too much Washington DC, too much spending and too much debt was the boot on the throat of the American economy. I think we're going to have that conversation again in 2014. 

There is nothing in Kibbe's statements today that should lead anyone to believe that we want or encourage a third party.  Those saying otherwise are not being honest, and are most likely working to weaken the GOP, or FreedomWorks, for their own gain. He is simply stating a fact that there is a growing dissatisfaction with politics as usual, and the Republican party should take notice. 

We will continue to be a service center to millions of freedom minded Americans, and work together to elect leaders in Congress who will fight these principled battles to restore fiscal sanity and individual liberties. Leaders like Cruz, Paul, and Lee, which if not for groups like FreedomWorks, and our dedicated activists, would not be in Congress today.

We are fighting for the heart and soul of the Republican party. It will not be easy.  We understand that in this two party system we must work within the Republican party to make a lasting impact, and that's exactly what we will do. We know it's an uphill battle, and a long one, but we're in it for the long haul. We are optimistic. Liberty is trending. 

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David Copley

There are pros and cons to any discussion of a third political party. Will it exist coincident with the remnants of the older parties? Will it be able to draw sufficient numbers of citizens from the remnant parties to actually have political clout? What are the basic tenants of this new party?

The argument for a third or new party focuses on the party values; smaller government; fiscal responsibility; true representation of the citizens; personal liberty, responsibility and equality all guided by the constitution and bill of rights. These are also the stated tenants of the Republican party. If that is the case then why replace the Republican party?

The answer is because the RNC and elected representatives are not following these tenants and are not representing the electorate. That focuses the problem not on the party but on the individuals in power in the party.

George Washington as President warned that political parties will shift their focus from doing what is good for the country to that is good for the party. Sadly, he was correct. The old saying "power corrupts..." We saw the same thing happen to Unions. At one point they were necessary and now they are simply power brokers. What we also see with Unions is a marked drop in membership and a shift back to personal responsibility.

We are possibly on the verge of George Washington's ideal of a no party system. In this digital age I can foresee a near future when everyone has direct input into Government decisions. If that happens we won't need any parties to vote for us we will make our own decisions. Congress can become a computer bank collecting and tallying our votes on key issues - shades of science fiction and Terminator.

At this point in history I think Matt Kibbe is correct an internal restructuring of the politicians and political operatives will refocus the Republican party on basic principles.

DonMashak's picture
Don Mashak

I am tired of having the crap beat out of me when I push platform resolution that are common sense to rank and file Americans. Fiscal and Judicial TAR (Transparency, Accountability & Reform). When you lose my resolutions and sabotage me at every turn, I take the hint. I use to give time, money, make phone calls, door knock, parades... THERE ARE NOT 2 MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE USA, THERE IS 1 RULING CLASS PRETENDING TO BE 2 MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES. THEY USE THE ISSUES TO DIVIDE/CONQUER/DISTRACT/CONFUSE WE THE PEOPLE SO WE DONT UNITE AND PUT THE RULING CLASS IN ITS PLACE. HOW CAN THEIR BE SUCH A THING AS PROGRESSIVE REPUBLICANS? WHY ARE THEIR ASSES NOT RUN OUT ON A RAIL? How does the Republican Elite allowing Congressional Insider Trading and $9 Trillion dollars to go missing from a Federal Reserve Bank that cannot audited be considered consistent with the best interests of rank and file Republicans, let alone rank and file Americans. Somebody better puck up and kiss my ass to get me to stop seeing thevvRepublican Establishment as every bit as evil as the Democrat Establishment. The first pucker can be Congressional Insider Trading and the Second Pucker can be auditing the Federal Reserve Bank. If the alleged Republican Establishment actually followed the Republican Platform with sincerity, the alleged Democrats would be hard pressed to get 25% of the vote in any election. But I am just one person, what Republican Elite would even have to fear from what one person can do.

KYlibertarianpatriot's picture
Brian Lauer

The GOP is following in the footsteps of the Whigs. It has had it's time and must move aside. Now is the time for the libertarians to come and restore constitutional government.

Jonathan Gillispie

The new Republican Party will be made of constitutional conservatives and libertarians mainly. The Tea Party is sort of a bungle of both. The old enclave elite will die off or disappear.

Patricia M McBride's picture
Patricia M McBride

Bravo Mr.Kibbe! Point on.

tony graceffo

A third party is desperately needed and is does not need to be made up of republicans conservatives and libertarians only.Independents and moderate dems understand what the prez and congress are doing- bankrupting our future.Now is the time for a third party whose primay goal will be to shrink the federal government get back to the concept of a balanced budget adhere to the principles of the constitution and do these things with a sense of integrity rather than entitlement

Joe Grimes

Yes, what the Republicans need to do is to accept the minority voice and put someone like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin at the top of their ticket for 2016. If the issue was not clear enough with Mitt, his first action if elected was to do away with the Affordable Care Act, perhaps a second airing of this priority and the others, like lower taxes for the wealthiest and corporations, will finally settle the issue. This is our Constitutional way. It should be honored and the Republicans should allow the Backman, Palins, Cruzes, Klaymans and others try to lead.

John Thomas

I agree with Mr. Redding. I finally got tired of being told to shut up and vote or hold my nose and vote for the past 30 plus years starting when the first Bush was President. Repopulating is a nice word but also a fantasy.

John Redding

The established Republican Party which has tried to infiltrate freedom works and has ignored its constituent base is the problem. They have criticized Ted Cruz and others who speak for the people. I for one have no faith that the republicans will ever let conservatives have a true voice since the leaders who hold the money will always go for the moderates like McCain and Romney. If we don't start waking up and stop hoping for change and set the republicans to the path of the wig party by starting a new party based on tea party values we will just get more of what we have had. Disappointment after disappointment will come until we are defeated morally. Haven't we had enough of the rhino republican leadership. When will we wake up people. If the ship is sinking its time to build a new ship.


Video: Ronald Reagan Says No To a Possible Third Party Run and that Republicans should Not Compromise on Their Values. would think Ronald is speaking to us today.

Eric Gurr

A third party is a bad idea. In the early part of the 20th century Roosevelt (T.) was a progressive and pulling the party in that direction. Taft started and then tacked to the conservative side. By the time Coolidge was president the conservatives were firmly in charge, and we got the roaring twenties. We need not lose faith in ourselves. The conservative grassroots movement is the most significant political movement in decades. I fully expect some of the "moderate" republicans in conservative districts to lose and the party will return to the party of Reagan. Then the nation will return to economic prosperity.
The reason we are attacked is because we are winning.

Edwin Loftus

This post is spot on. A split in the Republican Party will come, but only when the Republicans have achieved such control of the federal government that the differences in goals and processes between Constitutional-Conservatives and conservative-whatevers become a compelling issue. While the Democrats are in control and threatening both side's goals, alliance serves our purposes more than not.

Both sides are legitimately descended from the Founders, legitimately American System (as opposed to those who want to fundamentally transform the American System into something it never was before). It will only be at the point when Constitutional-Conservatives can begin restoring the American System of Government that our differences will compel a split. Until then, the alliance is to both side's an advantage (and by the time that day comes I expect most of the conservative-whatevers will have become Constitutional-Conservatives anyway.)

The Euro-style Progressives that lead the Democrats must achieve unchallenged central control to win. If state governments are able to employ alternative fiscally and socially conservative policies those states will demonstrate the inferiority of the Progressive program and gradually erode public belief in their promises. So they must not only control the central government, they must use that government to impose uniformity on the states. Their social management goals are based on maximizing investment in planned progress. But that cannot compete with the free-enterprise system that maximizes the incentives for individuals to find way to create progress.

Progressives focus the nation's resources to employ thousands of smart people to produce hundreds of plans, some of which succeed and some of which fail in one way or another. It works much better than the old Monarchical system that favored stability over progress. They can compete quite well with other, similar systems. But they cannot compete with the free-enterprise system that defocusses the nation's resources enabling the employment of millions of people producing millions of plans motivated by the personal profit they will achieve in becoming a provider of progress. Some succeed and others fail, but the net effect is progress at a greater rate than these management-intensive systems can produce.

This take-over of control across the entire nation is what both sides want to prevent. Though believers in central government power, the conservative-whatevers are not so unaware of reality that they don't know that such control must be limited to allow natural market energies to produce progress. Unfortunately, they are the people that the Leftists fear and campaign against, believing that they will use federal power to impose intolerant views of what is right and best, just as the Left hopes to do as they achieve that power using different value judgments to impose their intolerant views of what is right or best.

Paradoxically the so-called "far right" seeks to eliminate the power of any view to impose its intolerance across the whole nation and though they will fight Leftist views state-by-state, within each state, inherent in the idea of smaller restrained federal power is that some states will probably chose Leftist policies and systems (as Massachusetts did regarding mandatory health insurance). Conservatives seek to eliminate the power to prevent Leftists from having a Leftist system, so long as it is done on a state-by-state basis and maintains the republican forms that allow the people of each state to decide and change their minds.

This difference will eventually compel a split between the Constitutional-Conservatives and the conservative-whatevers (which I refer to as American-style Progressives), but not yet. What we do need to look at is continuing the education and defining processes by which Republicans and others can identify which among us are in which faction. This will reduce the frustrations that stem from unwarranted assumptions that some other Republican says the same things I do and therefore will back me when I think I'm fighting for things we both believe in ... as in - "We both oppose Obamacare and I will do whatever it takes to keep any such system from being established" vs. "We both oppose Obamacare, but if it was something I could call "Christie-care" that would be okay. I'd rather let Obamacare stand but win the power to change it into Christie-care. That would be good and I hate you for standing in the way of doing that."

Konservative Kat's picture
Kathy R. Witherell

Let's redefine the conversation together. Common, ordinary, everyday Americans. #User-Friendly

Val Erie

Pardon, Kathy. My post was meant to be a separate post, not a response to yours.

Val Erie

No. The GOP does not *want* to learn. Wee need a new Tea/Constitution/Freedom Party NOW! The GOP is an arm of the Democrat Party. GOP : 1854 - October 16, 2013.