It feels like the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination changes more than I change my socks. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain have all seen their campaign through the driver’s seat. But with the Cain Train derailing over the past couple of weeks, polls show yet another leader of the pack who slowly came from the back of the bunch; Newt Gingrich.
The Grinch (pronounced Ging-rich) has a load of experience to bring to Washington. He was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999 and Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 (second in the United States presidential line of succession). Unfortunately what Newt has in experience he lacks in character and ethics, a fact not yet realized by the republican voting public.
If the Herman Cain train ran off the rails because of allegations of harassment and infidelity, then what are voters going to think of Gingrich’s past? He has been married three times. During his first marriage he had an affair with Marianne Ginther and supposedly asked his first wife for a divorce while she was recuperating from cancer surgery. Soon after, Gingrich married Ginther only to cheat on her as well. While Gingrich was Speaker of the House and trying to impeach then President Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Gingrich himself was cheating on his second wife with Callista Bisek. Bisek is now wife number three.
During his time as Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich was a lightning rod for controversy. In his four year term, Eighty-four ethics charges were filed against him including violating federal tax laws and providing false information. He is also largely responsible for the longest government shut-down in U.S. history. Clinton’s emphasis on Medicare, education and the environment spawned the Gingrich led Republicans to amend the budget bill that would have limited appeals by death-row inmates, made it more difficult to issue health, safety and environmental regulations, and would have committed the president to a balanced budget for the remainder of his term (sound familiar?).
Clinton later balanced the budget anyway. As it turns out, Gingrich felt shunned by Clinton for not discussing the budget on a transnational flight and said that was the reason they offered Clinton something he couldn’t work with.
As far as Gingrich’s policies are concerned, I didn’t call him the Grinch for nothing. Despite his other poor decisions as Speaker of the House, Newt is best known for being the man who brought Welfare Reform to the U.S. in the mid-nineties, at a time when the economy was booming.
While reducing the federal government’s responsibilities, the new law placed time limits on welfare assistance and replaced the “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” program. It also included stricter conditions for receiving food stamps, reductions in immigrant welfare assistance, and recipient work requirements. All these new restrictions are wreaking havoc in today’s sluggish economy. People who had little now have next to nothing.
Gingrich’s policies don’t differ all that much from the other conservatives in the presidential field, but aside from Bachmann no one has shown more disdain for the county’s poor than Newt Gingrich. He has said in the past that child labor laws were “stupid” and suggested the other day that schools should fire their janitors and replace them with poor kids that attend the school. Going into more detail he said “What if they became assistant janitors and their jobs were to mop the floor and clean the bathroom?” Last time I checked, reading books was slightly more important to a child than bringing home the bacon.
Obviously, by all accounts Gingrich’s time at the top should be as long as the ones that preceded himâ€¦ and once again I’ll have someone new to dissect and pick on.
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