Monday, May 17, 2010

Newt Gingrich -- still crazy after all these years.

He is one of the best practitioners of the kind of fear-mongering scare tactics the Republican Party "Haves" use to hoodwink their base of "Have Nots" into supporting (especially economic) policies that go against their own best interests.

Allow me to explain.

I found the following this morning via Daily Kos.  Newt had the following exchange with Chris Wallace over at Fox News Sunday:
   WALLACE: You say President Obama and the Democrats are trying to impose a s secular socialist machine on this country. ... You also write this, and let’s put it up on the screen. "The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." Mr. Speaker, respectfully, isn’t that wildly over the top?
   GINGRICH: No, not if by America you mean the historic contract we’ve had which says your rights come from your creator, they’re unalienable, you’re allowed to pursue happiness. I mean, just listen to President Obama’s language. He gets to decide who earns how much. ... He has said publicly, generically, "You know, some Americans earn too much," so he’s now going to decide that? ... So you want a politician to become the arbiter of your dreams. A politician gets to say, "We’re going to raise — we’re going to — we’re going to have a tax —" and they proposed this at one point — "We’re going to have a punitive tax on those we don’t like. We’re going to decide that you have too much money so we’re going to take it from you." ... As a threat to our way of life, the degree to which the secular- socialist left represents a fundamental replacement of America, a very different world view, a very different outcome, I think is a very serious threat to our way of life.

You know you're kind of "out there" when Fox News is questioning whether your views are "wildly over the top".

Setting aside the strategic semantics (Newt knows fully well that Obama is neither a secularist nor a socialist, but why pass up a perfectly good chance to sling some slurs), his main argument is that Obama is coming after your money [/guns/God/etc.]  Considering we have the lowest tax burden since the Truman Administration, I suppose any increase in taxes would cause some concern; but also considering that any new taxes would be aimed at the wealthiest Americans (especially those wealthy enough to pay a great deal of money to be advised how best to circumvent the taxes they're supposed to be paying in the first place), I fail to see how this affects your average Mr. & Mrs. America.

But Newt very much wants them to think it does.  Or that it could, one day, when they win the lottery and suddenly become fabulously wealthy.  The chances are slim-to-none, but it could happen.  And, of course, the "pursuit of happiness" for people like Newt is the "pursuit of wealth"...and who would want the government to take away their Happiness!?  The only problem with this is that no one can have wealth/happiness in a vacuum.  It takes a village, in other words...and a village needs roads, and bridges, hospitals and fire stations, a police force, a way to care for those residents who would also like to pursue some happiness -- or at the very least some peace of mind -- but have the bad taste not to be wealthy.

Does Newt not notice -- or simply not care -- that accusing Obama of secularism while simultaneously wanting to stiff the poor and society by paying as little as possible into the general pot for the common good (while never seeing an aircraft carrier they didn't like) is incredibly hypocritical, even immoral?  Religion is supposed to teach us to take care of our community, especially those less fortunate.  Newt would rather do this through charity, but charity pretty much guarantees favoritism.  Charity is great, but someone or something has to be out there making sure everybody is taken care of.

If Newt really wants taxes to stay at or near the lowest levels since World War II for the majority of working families in this country, he should be applauding Obama's proposal to call upon the wealthiest citizens to pay more of their fair share.  Or he should be honest about why he doesn't applaud (i.e., it's his own tax bill he's worried about).  What he should not be doing is comparing him to Hitler and Stalin; it's not only ridiculously inaccurate, it's craven and offensive.  As a self-styled historian, he should know better...and should apologize.