When Republican presidential front-runner (???!!&%#??) Newt Gingrich recently came up with the loopy idea of firing public school janitors and replacing them with hard-working (and, most importantly, non-unionized) child student workers, the only thing surprising was that anyone was surprised such a crazy idea could come from Mr. Gingrich. Because anyone who has followed Gingrich’s career for any length of time knows that his approach to generating fresh new conservative ideas is to simply spew forth whatever brain droppings happen to be rattling around inside his overheated little cranium at any given time, then stand back and behold whatever sticks to the wall.
Voila. It is done.
And yet, in Gingrich’s defense, not all his ideas are bad ones. No one has ever accused the man of being stupid, just more like a smart bomb with a dismantled directional signal. Sometimes he hits the target, sometimes… not so much. In cooperation with Professional Famous Rich Person Donald Trump, Gingrich has since announced his intention to produce a sort of special edition of Trump’s reality show The Apprentice, which would seek to identify 10 ‘deserving’ poor kids from New York and then put them to work. The desired result of this magnanimous gesture, of course, will be that the poor lost child souls will swiftly become more like the rich white guys who put them on display while also proving that child labor laws are indeed stupid (says Newt) and are standing in the way of giving poor kids a chance to work their way upward from the gutters that spawned them to Trump Tower respectability.
Before pursuing this Gingrich thought thread any further, just remember what Gingrich said in November when he gave a speech at Harvard, because this is what kicked the whole thing off. From The Christian Science Monitor:
After the Harvard appearance Nov. 18 in which he criticized child labor laws, Gingrich later tried to elaborate, telling an Iowa audience that poor children have “no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” and aren’t used to getting paid “unless it’s illegal.”
This is also the man who said that liberals are working to “turn the whole country into Detroit,” meaning “we will all be uneducated, we will all be poor, and we will all live in dangerous places.” This is the man who referred to the nation’s first African American President Barack Obama as the “food stamp president.” And this is the man to whom poor children should flock to seek guidance? A man who so openly despises them, who believes that their only chance to become worthwhile Americans is to become more like him and Donald Trump? Sure, Gingrich is obviously pandering to the racist, class-based fears running rampant in certain corners of his party, and it’s working. Nearly all polls show him to now be the leading Republican presidential candidate by fairly large margins. More importantly, polls show him to be ahead in Iowa.
But is this really the best the Republican Party has to offer America? Is this the best Newt Gingrich has to offer?