17 January 2012

Newt Gingrich's pursuit of happiness for kids

Maybe now Republicans will stop trying to label Gingrich a leftist. Fox News is claiming that the former Speaker won last night's South Carolina debate -- I suppose that as a media entity they have a stake in keeping the race going as long as possible -- and this report cites numerous pearls of Gingrich wisdom as proof of his success. I like best his invocation of the principles of the Declaration of Independence as justification for his advocacy of child labor.

He also won strong support from the audience when he was asked whether it was belittling to minorities to suggest that poor children work as janitors to build a work ethic.
Gingrich replied, "No, I don't see that." He said dozens of people have reached out to him recalling jobs they got when they were "11, 12, 13 years of age," and defended the idea of paying kids to work in school. 
"They'd be getting money, which is a good thing if you're poor. Only the elites despise earning money," he said, later adding: "I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness. And if that makes liberals unhappy, I'm going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn some day to own the job." 

Admittedly, children probably did work in many cases in Jefferson's time, but I still don't think that's what he had in mind when writing of unalienable rights, and it's definitely not what most people see as an 11-year old's pursuit of happiness. But maybe they think differently in South Carolina, where lines like those above reportedly earned Gingrich thunderous ovations. Of course, South Carolina also started the Civil War, so standards clearly differ there, and maybe Gingrich has a chance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon this version of conservatism will have alienated so many potential allies, that they will be as easy to ignore as the Occupy Albany people now are.