Newt Gingrich is an existentially ugly person.
He betrays his dying wife and beds a mistress before the former is cold in the ground (extra points, apparently Gingrich was quite generous with his attention towards his wife while she was dying). He is a hypocrite of the first order who condemns President Clinton for his adultry while he himself indulges the same sweet, forbidden, and naughty ambrosia. Most important for my purposes, Newt is also race baiter--a clumsy one at that--of the first order who has earned a silver star with oak leaf cluster for semi-closeted white racism above and beyond the call of duty. It would seem that he wears his racist rank insignia with great pride. Gingrich has no amount of shame. Nor does he offer an apology for his behavior.
We know that Newt, like many Republicans, wallows in the stink filled, fetid sewer water of white racial resentment. We can accept this fact for it is the Tea Party GOP's Raison d'etre.
In response to this reality I would suggest a counter-intuitive move: To condemn Gingrich for calling Barack Obama a "food stamp President" is both an easy target and low-hanging fruit. As Joan Walsh and others have expertly dissected, Gingrich is back to old form as he went beyond mere dog whistle politics this past weekend. There he linked the President (and the Democrats) to anti-poverty programs, the deindustrialized "chocolate city" of Detroit, and signaled to a Southern audience that the 2012 election is the most important since the great usurper Lincoln won election.
Ultimately, Gingrich is the great White Hope for the Tea Party GOP who is shilling that he, and he alone, is able to restore a herrenvolk, low tax, States' Rights utopia and defeat President Obama in 2012.
As the Sith Lord Darth Vader said to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, to expose Gingrich's racism is all too easy. The more productive task is to challenge ourselves to understand the logic of the Conservative, "colorblind" racial frame. It would be easy to ether Gingrich for his obviously racist comments--comments which are part of a long tradition of Right-wing race baiting that predates both Reagan's "welfare queen" and "black bucks buying T-bone steaks on welfare" memes.
I think it would be more fun to rehab Gingrich's logic. Thus, amputating it like a priapic penis engorged with dead blood, rotten with gangrene, and where the owner of that rotten organ will be left with no source of satisfaction save for mustache riding and an eager tongue that stinks of garlic and old Big Macs.
[Sorry, I just saw the great TV show Strange Sex and am in a quite dark mood.]
As a journeyman who enjoys reading texts on war fighting, military strategy, and combat leadership, Gingrich's honest moment returned me to the great book One Bullet Away: The Making of Marine Officer. In said text, Nathaniel Fick, a young officer in training talked about one of the exercises he was blessed to experience in Officer Candidacy School. There, his trainers told him to "turn the map upside down" prior to any attack. In short, one should endeavor to understand the battlefield from your enemy's point of view in order to most efficiently destroy them. This is great life advice. It is also great wisdom for understanding political gamesmanship.
Thus, let us play a game. If you were a Tea Party GOP strategist advising Newt Gingrich in the aftermath of his racist comments about President Obama what would you tell him to do?
Specifically, how would you deflect and spin any criticism of said comments for the mainstream press and Independent voters?
Some initial suggestions (some serious, some farcical).
1. America is suffering high rates of unemployment. Given the rates of poverty under Obama's watch, of course he is the food stamp President.
2. Obama grew up on food stamps. By the President's own admission, he is profoundly influenced by his formative years. Obama's father, a Kenyan anti-colonialist Mau Mau who controls him from beyond the grave, skipped town and left the President's mother alone to raise the country's first black President. Obama can't help but channel a set of life experiences in which he was a beneficiary of government largess.
3. This is all so much racism chasing and reverse racism histrionics! More white people are on food stamps than any other group! This happened during Obama's watch. How can he not be the food stamp President?
4. Democrats and liberals see racism everywhere. Gingrich's observation is simply a principled critique of Obama's policies.
5. Barack Obama's policies made unemployment worse and created a dependent class that cannot exist without government aid. Once more, he is the food stamp President.
6. The best test of principled Republican and conservative policy positions is how quickly the liberals call it racist. Gingrich told an uncomfortable truth. All the Left has are cries of "racism." Typical!
How would you add to this list? And what do these deflections tell us about the Tea Party GOP and its approach to Obama in the 2012 election?