"It doesn't matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."
-- Newt Gingrich
What are people really hearing from Newt Gingrich? What I personally hear consistently is Gingrich, in his own distorted and malevolent manner, slandering and attempting to control entire groups of people. Machiavelli could have learned a thing or two from the likes (dislikes) of Newt.
Islamophobia: Interviewed recently on the Jewish cable channel, he referred to Palestinians as an "invented" people. He said that until the early 20th century, "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire... I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons [they] have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it's tragic."
Heterosexism and Sexism: Gingrich refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights activists as "fascists" who oppose "traditional" religion. In reference to California's Proposition 8 limiting marriage to men and women couples, Gingrich asserted on Fox News in November 2008:
I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.
Though his track record of changing wives more often than most people change clothing is now legendary, he has the audacity to oppose same-sex couples' rights while on the campaign circuit in Fort Dodge, Iowa on September 30, 2011:
I believe that marriage is between a man and woman. It has been for all of recorded history, and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it just fundamentally goes against everything we know.
Foreshadowing his political ambitions, after dumping his first wife, he said of her: "She isn't young enough or pretty enough to be the President's wife" (Nigel Hamilton, Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency, p. 338).
Economics for the Upper One Percent: A long-time advocate of so-called "trickle-down" economics, decertification of labor unions, abolition of child labor laws, and promoter of what has come to called "deficit theory," which blames poor people for causing their own economic shortcomings, Gingrich set forth his agenda for ending poverty: "It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid... These schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school" by cleaning the bathrooms (CBS News, Dec. 1, 2011). Also, asked what should be done about homelessness following a police shooting of a homeless man near the White House, Gingrich argued: "Give the park police more ammo."
Arguing for further infusion of money into the pockets of politicians,' as he well knows with the enormous sums he accumulated from mortgage giant Fannie Mae, he asserted: "The idea that a Congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument" (Mother Jones, 1989).
Ethnocentrism: His demonization of immigrants to our nation and attempts to kill bilingual education has reached historic proportions. In a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women, April 1, 2007, he said:
We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.
Gingrich's outrageously offensive quotes absolutely do not end here and, unfortunately, I could continue enumerating them ad infinitum. While I respect some politicians and pundits who hold contradictory views from my own, Newt Gingrich stands high on the list of those I cannot respect because of his unapologetic words and deeds, even though he sports an impressive résumé.
Gingrich's lead in most national polls speaks less about his presidential leadership qualifications than it does about the shallowness of the remainder of the Republican field. Newt (Newton) Gingrich, I believe, will soon encounter the impact of gravity in bringing down a body from its lofty trajectory because that other Newton has proven, what goes up must certainly come down.
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