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Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich's mouth is bigger than his brain; that may get him into trouble someday. (Daron Dean/Reuters)
The question before us today is whether or not GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich is engaged in creepy, race-baiting (or just plain racist) politics. He is indignant at the thought, which is really the only emotion I have ever seen Newt Gingrich have during his entire political career, so he's gotten pretty good at it.

Via Politico, here's the statement that has gotten him in some trouble:

The fact is if I become your nominee we will make the key test very simple — food stamps versus paychecks. Obama is the best food stamp president in American history.  More people are on food stamps today because of Obama's policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history.

Now there's no neighborhood I know of in America where if you went around and asked people, would you rather your children had food stamps or paychecks, you wouldn't end up with a majority saying they'd rather have a paycheck.

And so I'm prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps. And I'll go to them and explain a brand new social security opportunity for young people, which would be particularly good for African American males because they are the group that gets the smallest return on social security because they have the shortest life span.

Three cheers for the bold notion that people ought to be able to get paychecks, even though Newt thinks government has no bloody business helping those people to get some, which renders the entire rest of his statement into nonsense. There's the Obama-as-food-stamp-president line, which Newt has been called out for before, since it manages to quite spectacularly ignore the whole business of America being sunk into a deep recession by the end of Bush's term (but cut Newt some slack, he tends to be terrible at history).

Going from there to the desire to go to the NAACP and tell them they "should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps"? That's odd at best.

Note also there at the end, where Newt opines that since African American males don't live as long as other Americans maybe he'll adjust Social Security to reflect that. I think perhaps a better approach would be to fix the causes for one group of Americans having a shorter lifespan than others, but that is probably too social-engineeringish for Newt, or maybe it's just a path to communism—I have no damn idea, at this point, because I find Newt incoherent even when he's at his supposed best.

So was this a racist dog-whistle on Newt's part, or is he right in his assessment that the scary liberals and their media friends are out to get him? I'll give Newt some credit here, I don't think he meant to dog-whistle about anything. I think he just honestly thinks this way.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 12:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Kos Georgia, and Barriers and Bridges.

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