Southern Candidates

Newton Gingrich opined to the Associated Press, “There are the things you want to say and what you need to say,” presumably about himself, but I hate it when pols disavow their connection to their own words by retreating into the second person. So, let me take him literally and point out that I “need” to reject his designation of Barack Obama as a “food stamp president.”

Who knows what that even means? Presidents don’t print, fund or distribute chits that can only be used to purchase food which, if it’s not consumed by humans, will be thrown away to sustain an army of vermin. Indeed, food stamp recipients, the parents of children and juveniles, such as Newton’s adoptive kin, also never see a penny of the congressional subsidy to the processed food-stuffs industry. Even the small change poor people used to be able to accumulate for more needful things is now precluded by the arrival of plastic debit cards. Under the new dispensation, the indigent get processed food stuffs or nothing at all.

Since, like Barack Obama’s father, Newton has a history as an irresponsible parent, perhaps he intended the “food stamp President” designation as a slur on the single mother, who managed to scrounge both an education for herself and sustenance for her son by counting on food stamps for support. But, that would be mean-spirited, wouldn’t it?

The number of Georgia households receiving food stamps rose from 581,709 in 2009 to 716,749 in 2010.

Since Newton was speaking to Georgia Republicans about his own presidential aspirations, it’s just possible that those hundreds of thousands of food stamp recipient and potential Obama voters weigh heavy in calculating his own ability to win them over with his “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” agenda.

Never mind that starving people don’t have enough energy to work and starving children can’t think. Conservative politicians are almost uniformly incapable of keeping what’s on first and what comes second straight. Which, in Newton’s case, may well account for why he keeps applying for jobs (Congressman, Speaker, President) he’s not yet prepared to carry out. In the olden days, that used to be called “putting the horse before the cart.” In applying for President, it ought to mean, at a minimum, “keeping one’s own affairs in good order,” not “changing wives whenever they wear out.”

Which is why Priscilla Mullins’ advice to John Alden is still good. “Speak for yourself, John.” Or, mind your own business, Newt, and don’t presume to tell Americans what to do. As to his claim

“I know what the word sucker meant. How stupid do you think we are?”

coming from someone who’s been suckled by the public teat for most of his adult life, that doesn’t ring true.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."