Live-blogging Iowa caucus day–Gingrich on incentive

Live-blogging the Iowa caucus coverage–

Time in a bottle

12:51 They presented Newt Gingrich just now, speaking on the stump in Burlington IA, mainly railing against negative ads. How many of you here are fed up with all the negative advertising? he asked his audience, getting some hands raised up. –So go out and vote for me, and you will be casting a vote against negative ads, a vote that could change political campaigns in this country.

Noble sentiments. They come oddly from a guy who started the day and seized CBS’ attention, this morning, by repeatedly calling Romney a liar. To be precise, it was not Gingrich who used the word liar. He just (repeatedly) answered yes, when Norah O’Donnell asked him whether that was what he was calling Romney. Schieffer helped Gingrich dig the hole deeper, following up with that old eleventh-commandment question as to whether he would support Romney as the nominee. Gingrich said yes, leading to softball Qs as to whether he would really support a “bald-faced liar” as Schieffer put it. Still yes. Gave Gingrich another chance to say something disrespectful about Obama. These people are tiresome.

Back to Gingrich’s Burlington appearance–

Having stated his opposition to negative campaign ads and to donations in the millions from Romney’s millionaire friends, again, Gingrich segued to criticism of federal judges. They’re too strong, he said.

Again, he might be right in some sense. Federal judges can get away with a lot, including selective punishment and caving in to political pressure. (Something the right wing is none too shy to apply; ditto federal lobbyists.) Gingrich comes across as something of a macht haben recht type himself, though. Hard to see him as the right messenger.

Side note: It’s funny how few of these sanctimonious Christian-right-cultivating political candidates cite the Sermon on the Mount. Reminds me of Tim Tebow. A quick physical sign of his religion may have First Amendment protection. But there is nothing particularly devout about it. As all Southern Baptists were taught, following the Sermon on the Mount, it is best to pray in the privacy of your own closet.

The hypocrites, as the Speaker of the Sermon on the Mount pointed out gently and with mild urbanity, have their own reward. You–the genuinely devout–are seeking yours elsewhere.

Speaking of pieties, Gingrich also proclaimed today that he wants to “incentivize the work ethic.” He wants to incentivize invention, to incentivize innovation.

This is the kind of statement you get from a major party that seizes every opportunity to oppose

  • a living wage
  • raising the minimum wage
  • health benefits on the job
  • retirement benefits from working
  • prosecution for fraudulent managers
  • prosecution for endangering workers’ lives
  • prosecution for Wall Street executives
  • limiting bonuses for malperforming executives
  • education in music and mathematics
  • support for the arts and letters at every level
  • physical education and healthful exercise
  • Et cetera

Gingrich, of course, puts it differently. In his spin, the other party–the Democrats– “want to take money from everybody who’s successful to give to everybody who’s failed.” Possibly his term ‘failed’ refers to everyone who has been foreclosed on after unemployment, and in turn everyone who has become unemployed as a result of the worsening economy.

It is beyond incredible that our publishing industry rewards this kind of Orwellian claptrap with mega-bucks book contracts, and that our infotainment industry rewards it with mega-bucks speaking engagements.

In Gingrich’s particular case, the buzzwords innovation etc probably his ongoing willingness to accept money from Big Pharma, which has a vested interest in preventing prescription medications from (ever) becoming generic and thus affordable.

Gingrich and Bachmann in particular seem to share Gov. Branstad’s penchant for using stump appearances and interviews as communiques for potential donors.

Not illegal, just unsavory.

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