Newt Gingrich has ideas. He’s an “idea man,” or so the Washington inner core keeps telling us. And of course, no one believes in the brilliance of Newt Gingrich more than Newt himself. Watch and learn, as he opines on the moral failings of “poor kids,” whom Gingrich knows a lot about, based on his studies of the urchins in their native lands during his travels as House speaker.
Back then, Newt and whichever mistress he was cheating on his wife with at the time would travel on daring excursions into the wilds of D.C., observing the poor kids from behind nothing more than a mere pane of tinted window glass as his limo sped through the untamed parts of the District on their way to Tiffany’s. And what did Gingrich learn during his anthropological roamings? Lots! Like: poor kids are lazy. So we should make them mop the floor.
Now in case you missed that, let’s review:
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker said at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”
Yeah. Because those darned poor kids spend so much time selling illegal drugs and running chop shops and such, they never make time to do productive things, like clean up after their schoolmates (or serve as tiny butlers to a certain former House speaker, perhaps…?) A bit more:
Gingrich lately has been unspooling an urban policy, beginning with his comments at Harvard University last month when he discussed child labor laws. “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods,” Gingrich said then, “entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.”
Children in poor neighborhoods, he said, should be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools to earn money and develop a connection to the school.
Child labor laws were adopted in the early part of the 20th century in response to widespread abuses in factories, where children were forced to work long hours for cheap wages. Groups like the National Child Labor Committee sprang up, and their efforts eventually culminated in adoption of free public education for all children and passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor.
Gingrich suggested that present laws are too rigid. “You have a very poor neighborhood. You have kids who are required under law to go to school,” he said. “They have no money. They have no habit of work. What if you paid them part-time in the afternoon to sit at the clerical office and greet people when they came in? What if you paid them to work as the assistant librarian? And I’d pay them as early as is reasonable and practical,” he said.
“I am prepared to find something that works, that breaks us out of the cycles we’re involved in right now, and finding a way for poor children to learn how to work and learning how to have money that they’ve earned honestly is an integral part of that,” Gingrich told about 400 people, mostly employees, in the Nationwide cafeteria.
Of course, CBS conveniently left out the best quote of all:
“What if they became assistant janitors and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom?”
What if, indeed.
For his next act, Gingrich brought out the laughs in the Nationwide crowd, telling the saucy insurance village that tracking illegal immigrants should be no more difficult than barcoding a package and shipping it from Fairfax, Virginia to the Gingrich couples compound rental in Ibiza. Or something…
Newt has declared flatly that he WILL BE THE NOMINEE. So get ready for a full year of brilliant oratory, illuminating historical updates (were you aware that Newt won the Cold War? Take that, Ronald Reagan!) … and arrogance and Dickensian flights of intellectual fancy unlike anything the world has ever seen.
Joshua Green: your witness:
…his late emergence as the “true conservative” poised to challenge Mitt Romney is rich, and its broader significance underappreciated. For two years, the driving force in national politics has been the Tea Party, whose founding myth was that ordinary citizens were rising up in defiant resistance to the hidebound, self-dealing ways of Washington. Greedy politicians had bloated the government and lined their own pockets at taxpayers’ expense, while letting the country go to rot. Prime examples were held to be the expansion of government health care and federal support for the housing market, especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that many conservatives blame for the financial crisis. The mere fact of being a veteran Washington legislator cost respected conservatives like Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah their jobs. Should all that anger, energy and contempt for Washington end up concentrating itself in the person of Newt Gingrich, then the movement will have failed when the stakes were highest.
Temperamentally, Gingrich is a good fit. Both his zestful attacks on the media and unbridled self-regard both reflect Tea Party tendencies. But since being deposed as House Speaker in 1999, he has earned millions of dollars by conducting himself in almost point-by-point opposition to what the Tea Party claims to stand for. In fact, he’s a superb exemplification of the way Washington really works. …
And the big finish:
…Odd as it seems, a Republican primary that began as a contest to accommodate these activists — bending mainstream figures like Tim Pawlenty into painful contortions — now seems likely to end as a desperate bid to find someone — anyone! — who isn’t Romney. If the search ends with Gingrich, it will be a measure of just how much the Tea Party has deceived itself.