Newt Gingrich for President… of Crazytown

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Newt Gingrich for President… of Crazytown

That’s right, you heard me correctly. Newt Gingrich is running for President… of Crazytown. That is the only explanation I could come up with for his campaign so far. His campaign is only slightly more than a week old, but is already so insane that he immediately has my attention–unlike most of the rest of the GOP 2012 field.  

If you had any questions about the kind of campaign that Newt will run, the past week is illustrative–heavy doses of dog whistle old-school race tinged rhetoric mixed with head-spinning flip-flops and lots and lots of crazy. Newt Gingrich, in fact, is like a crazy machine. He spits out insane statements much faster than this Liberal political junkie can process them. It is almost literally inexplicable, but I’m going to do you the favor (you’re welcome!) of capturing and summarizing his campaign to-date.

Here is a Top 5 countdown of the craziest things he has said and done... in the past week!

  1. Can you hear the dog whistle?

Out of the gate, only days after launching his campaign, he made clear just what kind of campaign he’d be running. Last week, while speaking to a group of Georgia Republicans at their annual convention, Gingrich referred to President Obama as "the most successful food stamp president in modern American history."

Even David Gregory, who rarely challenges anyone on anything, seemed galled by his comments. Of course Newt pretended to be unaware of the implications of his statements in the speech. He immediately claimed victimhood to “political correctness”:

MR. 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.

REP. GINGRICH: Oh, come on, David.

MR. 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.

  1. He wants the U.S. to bring back a “voting standard”.

Again, while speaking to the same group of Georgia Republicans, he got on a roll and stayed on it with the dog whistle racism. In the speech, he suggested that we bring back a “voting standard” that will require voters to prove they know American History before they are allowed to vote.

This is as repugnant a statement as I’ve ever heard in politics. Gingrich may as well have come out and said that it would be a great idea to revive Jim Crow.

After the passage of the 15th Amendment, in the Southern states in the U.S., it was routine for Black people to be subjected to extreme violence and intimidation to prevent them from voting. And even as recently as the 1960s during Jim Crow, one of the primary tactics that was used to prevent Black people from voting was the “poll test”, which required Blacks to demonstrate specific standards of literacy before they were allowed to vote. Thankfully, this widespread practice was made illegal with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. It is difficult to describe how saddened and enraged I am that he drudged up this painful part of history to score political points. He has been unspeakably petty, irresponsible and vicious over the years, but this is a new low even for him.

Ironically, though, what Gingrich fails to realize is that his party’s 30 year war on education has been startlingly effective; especially in his own party. There is a proud legion of outspoken anti-intellectuals in the Republican Party and his proposal will inadvertently disenfranchise the entire right wing of America. Case in point, just look at Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., MN) confidently display her amazing ignorance of history here and here. Remarkable stuff! She is an elected official, so you can imagine how the teabaggers will fare with a poll test.

  1. He is flip-flopping again…

Pundit Gingrich is making a lot of trouble for candidate Gingrich. As a pundit, he strongly rejected a plan for Medicare privatization proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). When asked about the plan, which was proposed during the recent budget battle, Gingrich said that he was against "radical change" on the right and the left. He declared: