I'm thrilled that Newt Gingrich is getting some of the negative attention that he has deserved for decades. He has enjoyed a Pat Buchanan like existence -- uttering troglodytic slogans, spitting poison, retreating to a cavern of stink, and always, always, always getting paid. Finally, though, his millionaires have met up with Romnoid's millionaires, and Newt's getting Newtered.
That said, he hasn't changed. There are three stages of a newt's life cycle. There is the newt in repose, when it gathers resentment and money, the newt campaigning, when it empties its bladder of all the stored resentment, and the newt sunning itself on the rock while in office, which is the time it picks on flies and claims to be defeating dragons.
However, Newt Gingrich, from Pennsylvania, found a niche in a defense contractor dominated area of Atlanta, and he migrated into that area and expanded to fill it completely. When he lost his position in Congress, he played dead, perhaps, but he is an old pro at playing possum. Once he was no longer Speaker of the House or minority or majority whip, what was the harm in putting him on Meet the Press FIFTY-THREE TIMES? After all, as an unelected, non-policy person, who could be more germane for a Sunday show?
I know that Mitt Romney is supposed to be the "perfectly lubricated weather vane," but Newt is self-lubricated. As for where he points, it is not where the voters push, but where they pull. Himself, he goes here and there, spinning as ego and carnal bliss may lead, but as a campaigner? He has one trick.
It seems tone deaf, if not suicidal, for Newt to go for the racial folderol, doesn't it? Even an audience that booed Jesus Christ applauded (lightly) when Juan Williams pointed out to Gingrich that his garbage about "Food Stamps" seemed racist. In 2008, the United States elected its first African American president, and it did so with a huge popular vote margin. Racism, qua racism, doesn't really win.
It's just that Newt is a salamander of habit.
We got our first taste of "strapping bucks" buying T-bone steaks with food stamps in 1980 from Ronald Reagan. It is possible that, in this age of more-lunatic-than-Reagan economic politics from the Republican Party, we have forgotten what Reagan Republicans looked like. It was Reagan who gave us "Welfare queen" and the "young buck" in 1976, and he kept the language going in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Newt liked. Newt learned.
Reagan Republicanism is misdirection at its most basic. Gingrich is caught. He has lost his ability to appear financially right wing, thanks to the bane of the far right wing corporate attack ads aimed at him. He has lost the ability to be the moral majoritarian, thanks to all the stained bedsheets being waved about. These are his winning issues! He has lost his stance as the smart guy by being exposed as silly, stupid, wrong, and extremely arrogant.
He has nothing, so he goes to the one thing that always works: the flashpot distraction of "lazy Black people are taking your money." It has always saved him in the past, and it's working for him now.
You see, the diversion is working for him, among primary voters who boo Jesus Christ. This group wanted to be convinced only that there was a reason not to succumb to the inevitable Mittens. He has been able to interrupt everyone else by saying, "Don't you hate Welfare queens and gang bangers getting rich in their lazy 'hoods off of your money? Have you noticed that the President is a . . . guy who helps those people do that?" They were saying, "Gingrich has no economic plans as radical as ours, has no social policies as vicious as ours, and he has been free with his penis, unlike us," since the burden to pass for primary voters appears to be radicalism. He has succeeded only by saying, "Maybe, but I'm willing to say racist things in thinly disguised code without apologizing."
The most essential problem with Newt's turn is that it's a repeat. I don't mean by that, by the way, that racists have learned anything.
Have you noticed that Newt never campaigns on his Congressional accomplishments? Wouldn't you expect the legislative leader of the Republican Party in opposition to a Democratic president to campaign on successful legislation? Wouldn't you expect him to boast of his Contract On America? In 1994, Newt announced a takeover. He had a vision. He and his party were going to flat out dictate legislation.
You see, they succeeded. That's the thing. Newt should be campaigning on all he accomplished, because he got his way!
He SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT to prove that "government isn't the solution to the problem. Government is the problem." The nation did not agree. You see, the truth, which is that the government is made up of the people, that our government is us, was made quite clear. Furthermore, he CLEARED THE WAY for corporate contributions to campaigns. He set in motion the destruction of Glass-Stegal that led to the banking collapse. He enabled the merger-mania that made Mitt Romney millions. He cut the capital gains tax so that Mitt Romney could draw ten million dollars a year and pay 15% in income taxes.
Why isn't Newt bragging about all that? Don't Republican voters like what they want?
More particularly, though, Newt's signal success was making good on his promise to get rid of all those lazy Welfare queens. The Welfare Reform Act of 1995 is Newtie's. (I vowed not to vote for Clinton's second term when he signed it.) You see, Newt Gingrich killed Welfare. It doesn't exist anymore.
Under the new thing, no one may receive aid for more than three years without being disabled. Therefore, it's three years and then starvation, so no "ten kids in a Cadillac." Foodstamps also ended. Both are now state programs. This has allowed vicious states to be vicious to the poor and humane states to be less vicious, but no one is being kind, or even reasonable.
In other words, Newt has to claim to have had no successes in order to campaign on lazy people on Welfare. He would rather present himself as a failure to repeat his 1980's campaigns than give up the dodge of racism. The campaign racism of the 1980's was bull to begin with, of course, because, when Welfare did exist, it went to Caucasians at a rate greater than demographic percentages would indicate, and Food Stamps are primarily to benefit dependent children. No one is a "buck" with a T-bone, but no one ever had been.
Never mind that, though: reality is not what Newt wants. It's not what he can afford.
This is very funny and very well done, and don't even bother trying to tell me that it isn't, because there is "well constructed wit," and that's different from "I was in the mood to laugh."