Newton Leroy Gingrich's dog whistley "food stamp president" talk, appealing to the lowest of the low (his kind of crowd, apparently), may not have been the wisest idea, no matter how puffed up all that rabid applause made him feel when he pushed such a despicable, and erroneous, message.
Take 59-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed, mother of grown kids, undecided voter, Floridian Susie, for example. She lost her house, her business and her marriage, and had this to say:
"I am a Republican and a conservative ... and I had to swallow my pride today and come in and apply for benefits for the first time because I'm losing weight," Susie said.
Can you spell B-A-C-K-F-I-R-E? I have a feeling she doesn't appreciate being belittled by Candidate Newton. Just a wild guess.
As for that infamous Gingrich quote about President Obama being "the greatest food stamp president in history," it's time for a reality check:
During George W. Bush's eight-year presidency 14.7 million people went on the food stamp rolls, a half-million more than in Obama's three years, according to factcheck.org, a nonpartisan group.
David Shuster covered this beautifully on last night's Countdown:
Gingrich may want to rethink this strategy, because it looks like it's a riskier one than he may have anticipated, and in a general election in which he needs to have a broader appeal, even more so.
In a nation where millions of families are struggling to get by, most people who depend on food stamps are white, and the vast majority are working or have just lost their jobs, according to government data and program administrators.
One in seven Americans now rely on food stamps, which give low-income people - a family of four with an annual gross income of less than $29,064, for example - help to buy groceries. [...]
Nationally, at least 36 percent of the 46 million people on food stamps are white, 22 percent are black, and 10 percent Hispanic, according to factcheck.org. The race of many participants is unknown.
What he doesn't say is that food stamps evolved from a program created in 1939 and that spending on it normally increases when the economy sputters. Economists say much of the government's welfare spending is countercyclical and helps lift demand in a weak economy.
Oopsie, there, Mr. "Ethics? What Ethics?"
Newt Gingrich is not fit to hold office.
Much more at the link.