I know that I should’t waste any more effort thinking about the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, as it’s doubtful that he’ll remain at the front of the Republican pack for much longer, but I found the following footage of Gingrich, appearing on-stage in Iowa, so offensive that I couldn’t just let it go without comment…
And, here, for those of you who can’t bring yourselves to watch the vile Mr. Gignrich say the words himself, is a transcript:
NEWT: The Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park that they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms that they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms, to sustain the park, so that they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything… That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, go get a job, right after you take a bath…
And I know that I’m just playing into Newt’s filthy, swollen hands by posting this. I know that this comment of his was intended to whip up the Republican base, in hopes that terrified white culture-warriors everywhere might start sending him the cash that he needs to mount a serious campaign in Iowa, in the weeks preceding the primary there. I know that he doesn’t stand a chance unless he starts to generate some buzz that translates to donations, but I can’t help myself. I feel compelled to share it, and push it that much farther into the gaping maw of the American electorate. Try as I might, I can’t just ignore this nonsense, secure in the knowledge that, like Bachmann, Perry and Cain before him, he’ll eventually be rotated out of the frontrunner position, as the Republican base moves on to court another candidate that they hope to like better than Romney. (One suspects that they’ll try a fictional character next, having already exhausted the limits of reality.)
But, as much as I know that this is just Newt’s turn in the spotlight, and that his candidacy will surely implode once people are reminded that he’s the same corrupt, draft-dodging, serial-cheater who handed one of his wives divorce papers as she lay in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery, I just can’t leave it alone. Hearing him speak is like downing a whole bottle of ipecac – I have no choice but to respond.
I get that he’s a conman who will say anything for a dollar, and that I shouldn’t let it bother me, but it kills me to know that this is the kind of person that Republicans want for our leader. (According to a new Quinnipiac survey of likely Republican voters, Gingrich leads the field with 26%, compared to Romney’s 22%.) The irony that the Tea Partying base of the Republican party, for all its talk of dislike for Washington insiders, would rally behind this man, who became a millionaire after leaving office by lobbying for the likes of Freddie Mac, is overwhelming. Of course, in his defense, Gingrich now claims that the reviled seller of mortgage-backed securities just paid him $300,000 to share his knowledge as a “historian” of the U.S. housing market. Can you believe that shit? Are Republicans really so stupid as to believe that Gingrich wasn’t lobbying for Freddie Mac? Is it conceivable that there are people in this world who would believe that this man was paid over a quarter of a million dollars to lecture on the history of housing?
Anyway, I wasn’t prepared to write anything more about Gingrich after sharing his quote yesterday about how we needed to relax child labor laws, but then this came up. It would have been one thing if he just underplayed the importance of the Occupy movement, and said that the people protesting in the streets weren’t representative of the American people at large, but he decided to go all the way back to the 60′s for his inspiration. It reminded me of when Ronald Reagan delivered his famous, ‘looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah,‘ line about the hippies. But, maybe that’s what he was going for. Maybe, when he said, “get a job, take a bath,” he did so with the belief that it would carry those in the audience back to a better, simpler time, when you could yell those kinds of things about hippies out your car window, and feel good about yourself. It was certainly less complex back then, and, as we live in a nation of people that detest complexity, it might well be a winning strategy.
There are countless reasons to detest Gingrich and this quote. It’s cold. It’s heartless. It’s cruel. It stings at a number of different levels. Most obviously, it suggests that there are plentiful jobs out there for the taking, and implies that, if someone can’t find gainful employment it probably has to do with personal hygiene. As we all know, though, that’s not the case. The gap between rich and poor in our country is growing wider, and the opportunities for one to “pull himself up by the bootstraps” through hard work and education are dwindling. Social mobility is stagnating, and wealth, and the power that comes along with it, is concentrating in the hands of a precious few. For Gingrich to paint this as the whining of lazy hippies, who just want to eat free food, and live in a park paid for by others, is not only insulting but factually inaccurate. This movement isn’t about hippies. It’s about the 84 year old grandmothers who are being pepper sprayed, and the retired cops being dragged away in handcuffs. It’s about the American people finally standing up and saying that they’ve had enough. And there’s no amount of lies that can cover that up.
And, here, on that note, is a photo unrelated to Gignrich that I’d like to share. I think it speaks to the scope of this movement, and the fact that, try as they might, our politicians are not going to be able to lie or triangulate their way around it.
The note held by Obama says the following.
“Mr. President: Over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested. While banksters continue to destroy the economy with impunity. You must stop the assault on our 1st amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”