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Newt the Compassionate (He's not as mean as some people think he is)
National Review ^ | 12/07/2011 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 12/07/2011 7:05:11 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Newt Gingrich wants to pay poor kids to clean toilets. And all of the right people are horrified. The Nation says Gingrich is running on “a platform that seems to have been written by the unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge.” The editors of the Newark Star-Ledger proclaim Gingrich wants to “bring back the days of Oliver Twist.” The host of “Meet the Press,” David Gregory, suggests Gingrich’s take on the inner-city poor is a “grotesque distortion.”

This controversy started last month at Harvard, when Gingrich suggested in a speech that perhaps the best way to break the cycle of poverty in inner cities is to break the culture of poverty that sustains it by, among other things, paying kids to do janitorial work.

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” Gingrich explained recently in Iowa when asked to clarify his position. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

It’s a classically Gingrichian spectacle, illuminating a lot about the presidential candidate, but also about his critics and his swarming ranks of fans.

Gingrich is a rhetorical yoga swami. As my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson says, he can shove his foot in his mouth while putting his finger on the issue. Gingrich is right about the culture of poverty, but he opens himself to easy rebuttal by speaking so sweepingly and categorically. And did he really have to pick toilet-scrubbing as his preferred workfare?

Still, what his critics don’t — or refuse to — understand is that he’s not driven by a lack of compassion, but a surplus of it. The liberal bureaucratic mindset seems to define compassion simply as spending more money on systems and policies that have made problems worse and keep the usual special interests happy.

Gingrich thinks compassion should be measured not by inputs but outputs. Spending trillions on poverty is beyond simply uncompassionate if you waste the money and make things worse. It’s evil.

Anyone who wants to understand Gingrich’s views on poverty should read his March 2008 speech at the American Enterprise Institute (where I’m a visiting fellow). Gingrich rejected then-candidate Obama’s suggestion that the legacy of racism combined with a failure to fund education to liberals’ satisfaction “helps explain the pervasive achievement gap” in poor inner-city schools.

“That is simply factually false,” Gingrich declared. “The Detroit schools are the third or fourth most expensive schools in America. They’re a disaster.” Washington, D.C., schools — perhaps the most expensive in the country — don’t languish because of racism, Gingrich explained. They’re bad because D.C. “has an incompetent bureaucracy, a failed model of education, a unionized tenured system. It is utterly resistant to improvement. That has nothing to do with racism.”

He noted that when Newsweek asked Oprah Winfrey why she went to South Africa — and not south Chicago — to open a girl’s school, she responded: “I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys, they ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”

Gingrich probably agrees with the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than any other leading conservative. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan observed. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” Yet, a constant theme of Gingrich’s career is a desire to use government to fix the culture. Indeed, there’s no Republican in the field with a more robust faith in the power of government.

That’s the irony of the Gingrich surge. All of these GOP voters and Tea Party activists who once supported Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain and are now flocking to Gingrich seem not to have noticed Gingrich’s progressive bent.

The primary season began with a race to see how much of the government we could send back to the states. We’re now in the phase where the GOP front-runner is proposing janitorial reform in the schools.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: compassion; compassionate; gingrich; newt

1 posted on 12/07/2011 7:05:22 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
That’s the irony of the Gingrich surge. All of these GOP voters and Tea Party activists who once supported Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain and are now flocking to Gingrich seem not to have noticed Gingrich’s progressive bent.

Not quite, Jonah. The GOP voters have noticed that Newt is taking the fight to Obama instead of the other GOP candidates.

Jonah's just all pissy that the surge hasn't gone to his dream candidate Mitt.

2 posted on 12/07/2011 7:08:31 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: SeekAndFind
Newt: "America is Magic...You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"
(mentions Reagan being in the Cavalry)
3 posted on 12/07/2011 7:08:57 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper (1/3/2012-Iowa 1/10-Newt Hampshire 1/21-South Carolina 1/31-Florida)
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To: SeekAndFind

Newtie is a Grinch when it comes to delivering on smaller, less intrusive government.


4 posted on 12/07/2011 7:10:20 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: SeekAndFind
Not me jonah... and newt the compassionate will give all of your crap... and all my crap... to someone else.

LLS

5 posted on 12/07/2011 7:12:16 AM PST by LibLieSlayer ("Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness." Ronaldo Magnus)
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To: SeekAndFind
“That is simply factually false,” Gingrich declared. “The Detroit schools are the third or fourth most expensive schools in America. They’re a disaster.” Washington, D.C., schools — perhaps the most expensive in the country — don’t languish because of racism, Gingrich explained. They’re bad because D.C. “has an incompetent bureaucracy, a failed model of education, a unionized tenured system. It is utterly resistant to improvement. That has nothing to do with racism.”

He noted that when Newsweek asked Oprah Winfrey why she went to South Africa — and not south Chicago — to open a girl’s school, she responded: “I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys, they ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”

Wow. He does get it. Well, I think a lot of pols get it but few will say it. Even Newt is being nuanced, but he's saying it here...the schools are bad for 2 reasons, one that a lot of conservatives will say publicly, and one that they won't:

1. Unions and bureaucracy (most will admit this)

2. The kids themselves have no willingness to learn. (Newt hasn't said it quite this bluntly but has alluded to it)

6 posted on 12/07/2011 7:13:32 AM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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To: SeekAndFind
He, (Newt) “noted that when Newsweek asked Oprah Winfrey why she went to South Africa — and not south Chicago — to open a girl’s school, she responded: “I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys, they ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”

SEE, SEE, Newt's a liberal SOB that loves Oprah! He's sitting on a couch with Oprah, He's a racist, he wants Black kids to clean TOILETS, can you say racist sterotype?

Do I have to say “sarc”?

7 posted on 12/07/2011 7:13:32 AM PST by faucetman
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To: SeekAndFind
David Gregory, suggests Gingrich’s take on the inner-city poor is a “grotesque distortion.”

What Newt said wasn't politically correct, but it was true. For the most part, the extremely poor are that way because they won't work. And they are teaching their kids that same "lifestyle".

I see nothing wrong with allowing poor kids to get paid for cleaning toilets (or whatever needs cleaned) at their school. They'd earn money and perhaps, just perhaps, start learning respect for property.

8 posted on 12/07/2011 7:14:06 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: faucetman

stereotype


9 posted on 12/07/2011 7:15:22 AM PST by faucetman
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m fine with what Newt said.


10 posted on 12/07/2011 7:16:00 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: SeekAndFind
All of these GOP voters and Tea Party activists who once supported Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain and are now flocking to Gingrich seem not to have noticed Gingrich’s progressive bent.

No, we've just noticed that the campaign is coming down to Newt and Mitt, and Mitt is worse. Also when the fight by Obama gets dirty, Mitt will just say "Thank you, sir. May I have another."

Now to edit Newt's quote to make it even more pithy...

Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods Congressmen in Washington have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” Gingrich explained recently in Iowa when asked to clarify his position. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

11 posted on 12/07/2011 7:16:59 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Herman Cain: possibly the escapee most dangerous to the Democrats since Frederick Douglass.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Gingrich probably agrees with the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than any other leading conservative. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan observed. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” Yet, a constant theme of Gingrich’s career is a desire to use government to fix the culture. Indeed, there’s no Republican in the field with a more robust faith in the power of government.

Hmm. Well, what Moynihan said was correct, actually. As far as Newt, yeah, he's a tinkerer and seems to usually prefer "cheaper government that does things" to "smaller government that doesn't do so much", but I would call it a stretch to think Newt feels he can "fix" culture...

12 posted on 12/07/2011 7:17:44 AM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Jonah shows many half truths in this article. He believes that Gingrich is proposing that WE as the Federal Government pay for the kids to clean the school.

He proposes that the local Government FIRE the cleaning staff and supervise the children who are paid significantly less than janitors and custodians that are union minions.

In The Cleveland Public Schools, for example, the custodians make more money than the teachers. They average over Eighty Thousand Dollars a year. They also are required to mop the cafeteria floors no more than once a week weather it needs it or not.

Gingrich also proposes that Social Security is made into a system that allows workers to put their portion of the FICA tax into a private account. He proposes to pay for it by closing the 180 poverty programs at the Federal Level and laying off the hundreds of thousands of Government workers working in these bureaucrats.

He would then Block Grant the money to the states for them to use as they see fit. This gives MORE Liberty and LESS Federal Government encrochment on our lives. Not more.

13 posted on 12/07/2011 7:18:04 AM PST by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: RockinRight; trisham

So, considering the demographics that now compose this nation of 18 year old and up voters, this is going to get Gingrich elected how?


14 posted on 12/07/2011 7:21:22 AM PST by ngat
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To: SeekAndFind
Gingrich is a rhetorical yoga swami. As my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson says, he can shove his foot in his mouth while putting his finger on the issue. Gingrich is right about the culture of poverty, but he opens himself to easy rebuttal by speaking so sweepingly and categorically.

So Newt speaks the cold, hard truth, and the fags from both the left and the almost left {our heroes from FOX, National Review etal} pee in their collective depends.

Newt says what we know to be true, and it offends the welfare queens, and the demonRAT and media bastards that promote them.

There was an Amish woman with 15 bastard kids on TV from Florida, within the past week, and her message was that "someone needs to be held accountable and pay for her kids".

Do you think that any of those kids has a clue about the work ethic?

God help us.


15 posted on 12/07/2011 7:22:05 AM PST by USS Alaska (Nuke The Terrorist Savages)
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To: SeekAndFind
The real problem is, the young princes and princesses of the urban jungle will not only get their iPod or some sneakers but they will find ballots inside the gift cards. Signed by their local Democrat official(s)
16 posted on 12/07/2011 7:22:52 AM PST by Tupelo ( 2012 TEA PARTYER but no longer a Republican)
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t think conservatives are confused at all about what Gingrich is. He’s basically an intellectual version of GWB. Empathy will drag him to places our pocket books can’t afford to go. But I’d rather fight with a foolish friend, than rely on a fake one.


17 posted on 12/07/2011 7:28:02 AM PST by Blackyce (President Jacques Chirac: "As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."y)
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To: SeekAndFind
We’re now in the phase where the GOP front-runner is proposing janitorial reform in the schools.

This phrase is utter nonsense, the sort I wouldn't expect from Jonah Goldberg.

Gingrich proposed no new government program, no money spent, no new intrusive beaurecracy.

He proposed a repeal of federal government rules that overreach and make the poverty issue worse. On this issue, at least, his ideas were entirely consistent with smaller-government, conservative principles.

18 posted on 12/07/2011 7:29:30 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: USS Alaska

Poor kids.


19 posted on 12/07/2011 7:29:36 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Enough of “compassion”. That is the door to communism.

That being said, there is a truth to the linkage between the poor and crime. Poor people, more so than rich people, are breeding ground for criminal activity because of class envy, jealousy, and general desperation.


20 posted on 12/07/2011 7:30:15 AM PST by sagar
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To: SeekAndFind

Read his books. Forget about what his lefty and RINO critics say about him. Listen to his speeches, study his accomplishments and MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND!


21 posted on 12/07/2011 7:31:34 AM PST by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: SeekAndFind

NOOT isn’t as conservative as many think he is, nor is he nearly as intelligent as he thinks he is.


22 posted on 12/07/2011 7:49:07 AM PST by noprogs (Borders, Language, Culture....all should be preserved)
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To: dead

When your enemies have to misrepresent what you say in order to make a point, you know you have a winning theme.

I would love to see Jonah have a debate with Newt. We would all be able to see very clearly who the real conservative is.


23 posted on 12/07/2011 7:59:43 AM PST by BigBobber
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Communism is Magic too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJHZ4E9tRHM

24 posted on 12/07/2011 8:05:15 AM PST by GraceG
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To: USS Alaska
[ There was an Amish woman with 15 bastard kids on TV from Florida, within the past week, and her message was that "someone needs to be held accountable and pay for her kids". ]

Oh it is always somepony else's problem....


25 posted on 12/07/2011 8:12:05 AM PST by GraceG
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To: dead

[ We’re now in the phase where the GOP front-runner is proposing janitorial reform in the schools.

This phrase is utter nonsense, the sort I wouldn’t expect from Jonah Goldberg.

Gingrich proposed no new government program, no money spent, no new intrusive beaurecracy.

He proposed a repeal of federal government rules that overreach and make the poverty issue worse. On this issue, at least, his ideas were entirely consistent with smaller-government, conservative principles. ]

Newt is an idiot because he should have sold “Children Doing Janitorial” Work differently.

He should have said: “Children are expected to clean the classrooms in Japan”.

When dealing with a policy issue like and explaining to liberals you ALWAYS cite an “Enlightened Progressive” European or Asian country that already does it, this nullifies ANY liberal argument against it because Liberals always view those counties as being “better” than the USA.


26 posted on 12/07/2011 8:15:42 AM PST by GraceG
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To: GraceG

Either double the meds or cut them in half.


27 posted on 12/07/2011 9:07:00 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper (1/3/2012-Iowa 1/10-Newt Hampshire 1/21-South Carolina 1/31-Florida)
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To: ngat

FWIW Newt has strong support among younger voters.


28 posted on 12/07/2011 9:36:37 AM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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To: RockinRight

“Newt has strong support among younger voters.”

Until he started insulting them.


29 posted on 12/07/2011 11:22:47 AM PST by ngat
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To: ngat

Insulting who?

Those who would be inclined to vote for Newt know that he’s right.


30 posted on 12/07/2011 12:06:16 PM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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