Of course I know the answer; it is clear on the face of it. Newt Gingrich, the disgraced former Speaker of the House, will say just about anything that would serve to enure to his benefit. He has decided to seek the 2012 Republican nomination for the Presidency armed not with solutions to some of the ills facing our nation, but with the cheap and insidious ploy to draw attention to what he evidentially believes to be his Democratic opponent’s main detriment, the issue of race.
A few weeks ago, television host Tavis Smiley had this to say on MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell concerning the racial politics of Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump:
Smiley: I said over a year ago that this was going to be, this presidential race, Lawrence, was going to be the ugliest, the nastiest, the most divisive, and the most racist, in the history of this republic. I did not know that that race to the bottom would begin so quickly….
Smiley primarily spoke of Trump and the Tea Party, but this statement could have been applied to a number of possible Republican candidates, including Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, men who have frequently alluded to the President’s “mindset” based on his Kenyan heritage. At least their fellow Conservative George Will had the decency to cry foul on this behavior in a recent article in which he quoted Gingrich who speculated on the President’s Kenyan roots as:
…the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.
Interestingly, despite the Republicans’ portrait of Barack Obama as the worst President in history, the eagerness of some, like Gingrich, to wade into the sludgy swamp of racial politics betrays a desperate fear of not being able to defeat him on the merits. A day before officially announcing his bid for the Presidency, Gingrich appeared on Fox News and offered such a dog whistle that dogs throughout the nation immediately winced at the sound of it:
I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas…President Obama knows how to get the whole country to resemble Detroit.
What an unbelievable utterance. Incredibly, political commentator Howard Fineman once described Gingrich as a “statesman”; yes, this individual who is utterly lacking in integrity, a statesman. There was nothing statesmanlike in that racially provocative remark; still, those who dabble in the art of racial politics frequently expose themselves as thoroughly lacking in integrity.
Like Donald Trump, Mr. Gingrich has far too much to gain by attempting to marginalize the President through racial politics to ever be concerned by the immorality of his tactics. Speaking to an audience in Georgia, on Friday, he described President Obama as:
…the most successful Food Stamp president in modern American history.
It has been quite some time since a nationally recognized politician employed the racist tactic of alluding to Food Stamps when referring to African Americans or African American politicians. Still, Gingrich is here to show that he is arrogant enough to make that racially charged association.
He is arrogant enough for he believes the media will give him a pass in the interest of good press. Similar to Donald Trump he believes that the level of his personal attacks against the President will make him more attractive to Tea Party and other voters who consider it a virtue for their political leaders to be able to “get in the face” of Barack Obama.
This is no statesman. Gingrich is opportunistic, he is divisive, and, yes, he has no shame. It is important to also add that barring the media calling him out on his brand of destructive politics, as some had done to Donald Trump, Smiley’s prediction will come true: This will be the most divisive and the most racist campaign in history.