Newt Gingrich has always been seen as a visionary when it comes to politics, whether from those on the right who love him and his critics on the left who loathe him.
The former speaker of the House of Representatives and the chief architect of the Contract with America — a document that helped usher a Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 — is a war buff always making battle plans.
Like any good general, he studies his opposition and looks for weaknesses, so he can declare victory and the opposition can be toppled. But Gingrich’s latest salvo in crafting a plan to attack Democrats is so shameless and pathetic that he should be embarrassed for even suggesting it.
In a 673-word open letter to Republican candidates, Gingrich implored GOP candidates to develop a closing message that is solely built around the economy. In it, he wrote the following: “It is an unassailable fact that in June, more food stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history. (It turns out that Barack Obama’s idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around.)”
He later added, “You can use this vivid contrast between the record of the Pelosi-Reid Democratic Congress and the last time the Republican Party took control of Congress to powerfully illustrate the difference for every American between the Democratic Party of food stamps and the Republican Party of paychecks.”
What is so amazing is that Gingrich offers an analysis between the state of the country when Republicans were in control of Congress in 1994 and the current condition when Democrats are running the show. Anyone with half a brain should be laughing at how Gingrich managed to skip over a budget surplus left by President Bill Clinton in 2000, which later became a deficit under President George W. Bush; outrageous spending by Republicans who ran Congress under Bush; the massive financial deregulation that was pushed by Democrats and Republicans alike; and the terrible state of the economy that precipitated bank bailouts under Bush and continued stimulus under Obama.
For guys like Gingrich, those are measly details that need not be mentioned. But we all know that you can’t discuss today’s economy with asking the most important question, “How in the hell did we get here?”
It is always in the interest of politicians to paint a wonderful picture of themselves while ignoring all of the devilish and horrible things they or their parties did, but this notion of painting Democrats as the party of food stamps is atrocious and flat-out wrong.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is right when she assails Gingrich as wanting to exploit class warfare in this country.
But the Democratic House leader shouldn’t be the only one who is speaking out against Gingrich. Republicans with many constituents in their districts who have had to ask for food stamps should also be saying, “Hey man, you’re talking about my people!”
I don’t know of anyone who really wants and desires to have to apply for food stamps. Liberals, conservatives, independents, Democrats and Republicans all want jobs. Wanting a paycheck isn’t a conservative value, nor is it the sole province of liberals. Everyone one of us would like to be paid for our services, and it cheapens the political dialogue to see a so-called smart man deploy such a childish game plan.
Maybe part of the problem is that while Gingrich complains about hard-working Americans having to apply for government food stamps, he spent 20 years at the federal government trough picking up his welfare — also known as a government check for his work — as a member of Congress. So while he assails those who have been forced to ask for food stamps, he happily collected his six-figure government check, which has paved the way for him to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in book deals, speeches and consulting gigs.
See, that’s how it’s done. A former government worker telling wannabe government workers what they need to do to begin picking up their own version of food stamps.
If this is the kind of vision Gingrich has for America, none of us should desire to see him on anyone’s ballot. He has the nerve to question President Obama’s values? Newt, anyone who is so crass to want to capitalize on the misfortune of Americans — in one of the most difficult economic times we’ve seen in generations — doesn’t deserve to represent those same individuals now or in the future.
Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and the author of the book, “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at www.RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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