Never mind Newt Gingrich's multiple marital infidelities which he inappositely excuses as a manifestation of his patriotism and working too hard for the country he loves. Never mind Gingrich's willingness to cut his conscience (to borrow from Lillian Hellman) to whatever conservative manifesto is au courant, such as abandoning his onetime support for an individual health mandate now that it's tinged with liberal radioactivity. Gingrich has abdicated any claim to be president for the whole of the American people because he is openly contemptuous of their economic struggles.
Gingrich's statement on the Occupy movement, offered with self-satisfied gusto during the "Thanksgiving Family Forum" Republican presidential candidate debate in Des Moines, Iowa, says all you need to know about the man who wants the reins of the economy. Gingrich's prescription for reversing the nation's record-breaking long-term joblessness and the shrinking of the middle class is a little shoe-leather and deodorant soap.
"All of the Occupy movements start with the premise that we all owe them everything," Gingrich said. "They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue for which we owe everything.
"Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them: 'Go get a job right after you take a bath.' "
This is Gingrich's takeaway from the frustrations expressed by protesters across the country who feel like this country has succumbed to the corporate-sponsored smashing of the American Dream. They are nothing more than a group of entitled, overweening, unhygienic malingerers, who would rather exploit the beneficence of park owners and Starbucks than work for a living, like good people like him.
You almost have to admire the audacity. Just Gingrich's judging of the left's "moral system" (which he conveniently mangles) is pretty funny considering the fluidity of his own. But Gingrich's denunciation of the "99 percent" movement as just a group of takers is the dissembling you'd expect from a man who maintained a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany. Gingrich is verbally manning the ramparts for his wealthy benefactors and overseers who have put him comfortably into the top 1 percent along with themselves.
The Occupy movement wants decent jobs, the return of social mobility and a political system that serves everyone, not just those wealthy enough to purchase the (Not Lobbying!) services of, say, a former speaker of the House. It chose to occupy parks and other public spaces to be seen. For people who can't tap their friends at Freddie Mac for another cool million or two for a big national ad buy, this is a way to build awareness of widely held and profoundly valid economic grievances.
But to Gingrich, spending day after day hoisting signs that plead for living-wage jobs that provide health care and sick pay, and sleeping in public to drive the point home, is a confiscatory taking by the riffraff, a squatting by the lazy and indicative of liberal loafing. This vaguely Red-baiting sneer is Gingrich taking up the gauntlet for the top 1 percent or in the Republican vernacular, the nation's "job creators," who sit on their trillion dollars in corporate profits rather than give an American a job, who move factories overseas to find the cheapest workers and who hustle into bankruptcy court for a quickie reorganization when a generous labor agreement can't be quashed any other way.
This is the Republican presidential hopeful who is rising in the polls. A man whose bloated ego is only matched by his antipathy for the plight of others. Every Republican who is unemployed, underemployed or knows and respects someone who is, should commit the phrase "Go get a job right after you take a bath" to memory. Then vote.