After Glenn, Pat, and Stu handicapped the 32 candidates put forth the Republican National Committee in its 2016 straw poll yesterday, David Barton joined the radio program this morning to offer his take. While David’s list primarily lines up with Glenn’s, there were a few discrepancies that were a cause for conversation.
To begin, Glenn asked David to assess the “health” of the GOP. Furthermore, if the Republican Party is in fact fractured like many people believe it to be, will it be the establishment or the conservatives that emerge as the real leaders of the party?
“I think you've got several levels. I think the ‘leadership’ health is not strong. I think the ‘base’ health is fairly strong. I do like what I'm seeing in the pushing back in a number of state parties in a much more conservative direction. So I think you've got two GOPs now,” David said. “I think the people eventually win. What I'm seeing now of the people is different from what I've seen in my lifetime. And they are starting to get in the process. They are starting to teach themselves and learn. They are starting to get deeper than just the headlines.”
The conversation then switched gears to the 2016 election. Glenn, Pat, and Stu whittled the field down to about 12 candidates using the logic that if they didn’t know enough about someone, they would leave them on the list. David handicapped the list using a similar set of guidelines:
While Glenn was quick to eliminate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from contention, David was more open-minded.
“See, on the standard of pragmatism, I don't go forward,” David said of Christie. “On the standard of ‘voice to be heard,’ I do. His bluntness and his in-your-face with the media is refreshing. I would send him forward on that basis. But politically, I wouldn't send him forward.”
Another shocker was David’s decision to send former Speaker of the House Net Gingrich through to the next round. Glenn staunchly believes Gingrich is a dangerous progressive voice, but David believes he is actually good on many issues.
“Newt I would do because the debate he raises over judges. For example, abolishing the Ninth Circuit. He knows bureaucracy better than anybody else and knows judges better,” David explained. “But see, he also brings a debate element that's really fun to talk about. He brings issues up that nobody else will bring up and that's where I would send Newt – just to have the debate and just to get the debate going.”
David also defended Senator Marco Rubio. Pat, on the other hand, said Sen. Rubio is dead to him.
“Marco Rubio is going to bring good perspective. I'd listen to Marco,” David said. “See, there are issues like [immigration], and there are other issues he's really good on… But he's got himself branded now and tarnished with that. If you take that issue out of the debates, he would add a lot more in other areas. But the problem is, can you get past that issue?”
Finally, one of the biggest areas of disagreement surrounded former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. While David is a fan and friend of Huckabee, Glenn is definitely not a supporter.
“You want him on the list,” Glenn asked in relation to Huckabee. “He is a giant progressive!”
“I think he's going to be heard. He's already in the poll, and he's a frontrunner. In South Carolina, all the early primary states, he is ahead of everybody,” David said. “I know Mike too well. I know how he's portrayed, and I know Club For Growth doesn't like him. But I just have known Mike too long.”