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New York Daily News


Who Is Gingrich?

January 22, 2012

By Ben Boychuk

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich raised the ire of African-American voters recently when he vowed: “I will go to the NAACP convention, and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps.” Rather than apologize, though, he doubled down at a recent debate, asserting: “I’m going to continue to help poor people learn to get a job, learn to get a better job, and eventually learn to own the job.”

Is Gingrich an advocate for rugged self-reliance? Or is he making racist appeals to South Carolina’s Republican primary voters?

If Gingrich is choosing to be a “race hustler,” he’s playing like an amateur among seasoned professionals.

Jesse Jackson, of course, couldn’t wait to get in front of reporters to denounce what he called Gingrich’s “disdain for the poor.” Yet even Jackson couldn’t quite stay on message. Food stamps, Jackson explained to Politico’s M.J. Lee, “help farmers, they help the grocery industry, and mostly, they help people who are malnourished.”

This is a symptom of the very problem Gingrich is criticizing. Food stamps aren’t supposed to be an endless subsidy for “farmers” and “the grocery industry,” or even a lifelong program for the poor. The idea behind every safety net or anti-poverty program ever devised was to provide temporary assistance, not create self-perpetuating bureaucracies.

Partisans will fall over themselves making excuses -- and assigning blame -- for 45 million Americans receiving food stamps. The question we should be asking, as Gingrich seems to be, isn’t why all those people are on the food dole but how best to move them off of it.

When liberals aren’t reporting the racist “dog whistles” only they can hear, they are sharing their horror at the suggestion that the best thing government can do for people is to leave them alone. President Obama said so himself at a $1 million fundraiser last year, telling donors that if he loses in November, “then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, `you are on your own.”’

If only. Truth is, Republicans are almost as meddlesome as Democrats.

But how little Obama and his supporters seem to think of their fellow Americans. Could we survive a week without a gargantuan welfare state to care for us? No charity or church would open its doors? We would simply descend into a Hobbesian nightmare -- solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short?

Tell me: Who’s supposed to be patronizing whom?

Original Source:



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