Newt Gingrich’s Ideal Citizens: Rich Opportunists

Newt Gingrich thinks poor people are lazy criminals.

Newt Gingrich's Ideal Citizens: Rich Opportunists

Elected officials are often referred to as public servants. It’s an ironic moniker, since revolving door politics guarantee bipartisan moneymaking, either through speeches, book sales and lobbying. Of all the politicians who use their connections to make bank, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may be the most adroit.

Gingrich’s campaign was rocked last month by news that he made $1.6 million speaking — not technically lobbying, though very close — on behalf of mortgage group Freddie Mac, and that his think tank collected about $37 million from health care companies that supported President Obama’s individual mandate.

To voters conservative and liberal alike, Gingrich’s politicized cash flow reveals a lack of integrity and surplus of self-interest, but Gingrich says otherwise. He wasn’t lobbying; he was being a good citizen.

“They want to say isn’t that lobbying? No it’s called being a citizen. As a citizen, I’m allowed to have an opinion,” Gingrich said about his work pulling strings for political and corporate interests. “If Newt Gingrich believes that, happens to also be working with companies that care about that, and I go walk in to see friends of mine to talk about the issue, they’re responding to what Newt Gingrich believes.”

Being a good citizen goes beyond flag-waving patriotism. The best citizens, in Gingrich’s view, use lucrative connections to make as much money as possible. Since they have no connections, nor money, poor people miss the mark.

Of course Gingrich would never say such a thing — poor people are bad citizens — but his recent remarks about lower-income Americans and their work ethic suggest that’s precisely what he believes:

Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. 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.

Gingrich’s comments come a month after the White House hopeful blasted “stupid” child labor laws and suggested schools scrap janitorial unions and replace them with kids.

“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid,” he said. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

Taken together — Gingrich’s assertion that raking in millions is good citizenry and that poor people only generate dough by breaking the law — gives us a clear picture of how the former House Speaker sees the world, and the nation.

America is not the land of opportunity for Gingrich. It’s the land where the well-connected, well-heeled haves reside at the top, while the unworthy have-nots slave away at the bottom, where they deserve to stay, employed in low-level jobs Gingrich and his ilk would never deign to undertake.

It’s a wonder Gingrich claims the 99% doesn’t exist, because here he is talking about them, tacitly advocating a class structure that keep so many of them down.

Perhaps in addition to being a living, breathing mascot for Gordon Gekko’s famous motto — “greed is good” — Newt Gingrich also lives by Lucille Bluth’s creed, “Never look at the help.” He know he needs them, but they’re not worth his precious, pricey time, and never will be.