Newt Gingrich: Obama Has Unfair Advantages
Only in America could a guy like Barack Obama ascend to the White House only to have a guy like Newt Gingrich say that he had unfair advantages.
Overcoming adversity to become a political star is a well-worn narrative in American life. From Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama, the presidency has often embodied the rags-to-riches ambition. This is perhaps our most defining trait.
Which makes Newt Gingrich‘s assertion on Fox News last night that Barack Obama has an unfair advantage in the 2012 election downright stupefying. Sure, Obama enjoys immense popularity, especially now, after assassinating America’s number one enemy in a daring move that eluded President Bush. But does being popular necessarily mean your popularity is unfair? Having to overcome literally centuries of racial prejudice that blockaded the presidency from non-whites, growing up as a half-black child with a single white mother in the farthest reaches of the country, I think it’s pretty safe to say Obama has earned his advantages.
To be fair, Gingrich was talking specifically about Obama’s fundraising advantage. But unfortunately, he’s wrong there, too. Gingrich told Fox’s Sean Hannity last night:
He’s going to have all the advantages of the mainstream media. He’s going to have all the advantages of left-wing billionaires like George Soros. He’s going to have all the advantages of the Hollywood crowd, and they are going to go out—and all the advantages of the unions. So they are going to try to raise a billion dollars for a very practical reason: He can’t afford to run a fair election. If he was on an equal playing field, he’d lose.
First of all, Obama’s formidable fundraising talents, like the rest of his career, stem from meritocracy: He smartly used the internet to turn the massive youth vote he electrified in 2008 into a fundraising machine. Voters funded his campaign, not just corporations. That’s eminently fair. Second, the right has just as many billionaire donors as the left, if not more. For every George Soros there’s a Koch Brothers. In the recent midterm election conservative corporate donors trounced their liberal counterparts. Third, Obama himself opposed the Citizens United Act of 2010, which essentially lifted all limits on corporate political donations—a bill Republicans pushed for.
We’ve all seen John Boehner cry on multiple occasions over his humble beginnings pushing a broom or taking out the garbage or whatever it was. But as Louis CK once so eloquently put it: “If you’re white and you don’t admit that it’s great you’re an asshole. Here’s how great it is being white—I could get in a time machine and go to any time, and it would be fuckin’ awesome when I get there!”
Newt Gingrich may hem and haw about Barack Obama’s unfair advantages and how Obama unfairly stole the phrase “Winning the Future” from him. But that, too, is just brilliant strategy. All’s fair in love, war, and politics. And if Gingrich has any sense, he’ll stop whining and accept that every time you find yourself losing, it doesn’t necessarily mean the other guy is playing unfair. Sometimes he’s just playing better.