A Scurrilous Race-Baiting Attack on Newt Gingrich

It’s silly season, I know. But that doesn’t mean we need to tolerate left-wing nonsense thrown at our candidates.
If you’re familiar with his stump speech, Newt Gingrich routinely argues that Obama is a food stamp president and he’d be a paychecks president – that his economic plan would get more people to work so they wouldn’t be stuck relying on government aid. It’s one of his favorite one-liners about how Obama’s economic policies have failed. This is not an attack on food stamp recipients, especially since one of Newt’s core messages is to tout how he drove welfare reforms in the 1990s that provided more incentives to get work. Newt generally makes the point without referring to the race of the people getting food stamps – indeed, he called it “bizarre” when David Gregory last year argued that it was racist to mention food stamps:

GREGORY: First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the president, the first black president, a food stamp president.
GINGRICH: Oh, come on, David.
GREGORY: What did you mean? What was the point?
REP. GINGRICH: That’s, that’s bizarre. That – this kind of automatic reference to racism, this is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that – and what I said is factually true. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism? I have – I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.

Another of Newt’s favorite themes is that he’ll go anywhere and talk to any audience – which of course he will, because talking is what Newt does best.
But when Newt combines these two points and says that he’ll take that jobs message to the NAACP if they’ll have him and try to convince black voters that they ought to expect more from Obama – paychecks, not food stamps – he gets branded as racist. The charge is utterly scurrilous and made in bad faith. It’s a textbook example of fraudulent use of the race card.
Here’s how the AP report opens:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday he is willing to go before the NAACP and urge blacks to demand paychecks, not food stamps.
Gingrich told a town hall meeting at a senior center in Plymouth, N.H., that if the NAACP invites him to its annual convention this year, he’d go there and talk about “why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”
He also said he’d pitch a new Social Security program aimed at helping young people, particularly African-American males, who he said get the smallest return on Social Security.

To the AP’s credit, it notes the fact that these are both standard, separate themes of Newt’s. Yet we get people like Martin Bashir on MSNBC blaming the totally unrelated murder of a teenager on Newt: “Let’s cut out the food stamps rhetoric right now before things get any worse.” TPM, which is driving this appalling story, got comment from the NAACP, which predictably groused that “It is a shame that the former Speaker feels that these types of inaccurate, divisive statements are in any way helpful to our country.”
What’s next – making it racist to discuss unemployment at all?

15 thoughts on “A Scurrilous Race-Baiting Attack on Newt Gingrich”

  1. “What’s next – making it racist to discuss unemployment at all?”
    You mean they haven’t already? I have a sad feeling that a whole lot of stuff will be determined to be racist over the next 11 months.

  2. Defending Newt on this is another reason you have gone from competent to a total fraud on politics. Why would Newt combine those two points except to appeal to a certain element in our country? Defending race baiting either makes you a racist, race baiter, or a person lacking common reasoning skills. Rational people can discuss any issue. But, when you combine certain issues to play upon stereotypes and unfounded fears what exactly are you dealing in? Sometimes it is best to call a spade a spade or if you lack the courage to do that keep silent. Defending things that can’t be defended casts a very negative light upon you.

  3. The problem here is when Newt decides to “urge blacks to demand paychecks, not food stamps.” It is one thing to hold the president to task on the issue of job creation, but quite another to go address a group of people and tell them they should be asking for jobs rather than food stamps. It makes it sound like, if not for Newt, food stamp recipients would either not know or not care to demand jobs. The racism charge comes from the inference that blacks are happy to just sit back and accept food stamps instead of working and that Newt Gingrich has to “urge” them to ask for work.

  4. everything you posted was nullified with your last sentence. “What’s next – making it racist to discuss unemployment at all?” As a Lawyer you are trained in the art of making and argument with subtlety. It is obvious Newt was playing to a certain segment of our society no need to parse his statements call them for what they are pandering to to stoke racial stereotypes. Just as you last sentence is designed to down play race baiting. Anyone can make plenty of points on unemployment but combining other factors to play upon fears and stereotypes is what it is race baiting. You proudly stand behind your legal training but all to often you turn that off to defend the indefensible.

  5. Chin Music – His point (again, this should be obvious if you’re paying any attention) is that voters, including black voters, shouldn’t just settle for what they’re getting from Obama. They should demand a better president.

  6. I understand his point. It is clear. But, what opens him up to racism criticism is that he is telling black voters what they shouldn’t settle for and what they should demand, as though they couldn’t come up with this on their own. When someone points a finger at food stamp recipients and says “Hey, you, don’t just accept those food stamps, tell the president you want jobs,” it feels like there is an implication about the recipient, not just the president. Again, it is one thing to attack the president’s record on jobs and welfare and to draw contrasts with one’s own positions. It is another thing to go tell other people what they should want from their president. Maybe this is a completely proper role for a candidate, but when the one doing the telling is Newt Gingrich and the ones being told are black voters, people are going to shout racism.

  7. Why did he link Food stamps, blacks , and Food stamps together? When you combine those three things to make a point you’re engaging in race baiting. Combining those three things to make a point was not taken out of context or a misunderstanding it was designed to appeal to a certain segment and hoping other would blindly defended it (Crank).

  8. This is where the criticism goes too far. He didn’t really link food stamps and blacks. He stated his intent to take his existing message about food stamps and work to the black community. There is nothing racist about that. The real problem is the message itself, which implies that food stamp recipients are “satisfied with food stamps” and can’t or won’t demand work instead unless or until Newt Gingrich comes and urges them to do so. It is a bad message to any audience, but it opens the messenger up to charges of racism when a wealthy white politician conveys it to a black audience.

  9. Why take that message to the black community? Perpetuating a negative stereotype to gain an advantage is??? That is the rub he combined three hot button issues to make a point of pandering or race baiting. He also performed that feat in front of an audience that has no dog in that fight. That play by Newt Political fear mongering 101

  10. javaman, you dont understand.
    Poor, wittle conservatives like Crank engage only in the highest minded criticisms, never sttoping to personal attacks.
    It’s those big bad liberals who are whooly responsible for any and all lack of civility in our political culture.

  11. “Why take that message to the black community?”
    Because the overwhelming majority of the black community voted for Obama in ’08. The Republicans want to erode this base of support, so Gingrich wants to convince them to expect more from their president. I don’t see this as racist for this and for the reasons Crank stated.

  12. It is race bating because he made the pitch to an audience that was not black preying upon negative stereotypes. Not race baiting if you believe what he said is what the NAACP and black folks (Monolithic group) wants. HANDOUTS.

  13. “His point (again, this should be obvious if you’re paying any attention) is that voters, including black voters, shouldn’t just settle for what they’re getting from Obama. They should demand a better president.”

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