Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich had a tense head-to-head earlier this week. The two sparred on multiple topics, but the final straw for Beck was apparently when he asked Gingrich to name his favorite president. Gingrich answered Theodore Roosevelt, and as a result, Beck has decreed that Gingrich is a “progressive”.
On these grounds, Beck has declared that Gingrich is the only one of the current crop of Republican hopefuls for whom he could never vote. In an appearance on Fox Business Network’s Freedom Watch with Andrew Napolitano, Judge Napolitano agrees with Beck, calling Teddy Roosevelt “the original Nanny State-r” and echoing Beck’s assessment of Gingrich as a stealth progressive.
Beck goes off on one of his colorful rants, saying, “Newt, I read history. I know exactly who Teddy Roosevelt was. I know he did the FDA, and it’s not just about sausages. He says ‘Well we want to make sure that people falling into sausage factories.’ Yeah, we do need that. It’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous.”
Beck then issues a challenge to tea party Republicans, saying that if Gingrich is a “big-government progressive,” he’s the same as Obama, and the only reason they would support Gingrich over Obama would be “Obama’s race.”
It’s an inflammatory charge to make, especially after all of the time and energy tea party supporters have spent since the group’s inception insisting that their animus toward President Obama has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with taxes and government spending.
Napolitano frets that Gingrich’s “personality and personal background” are so polarizing that they will turn the discussion away from what he calls Obama’s “miserable three years in Washington.”
You can watch this discussion, embedded via Mediaite, below:
[Ed. note: This post has been updated to reflect that Napolitano's show airs on the Fox Business Network.]