The escalating bigotry of Newt Gingrich


by Jai
27th September, 2010 at 11:45 am    

Tea Party icons Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck have recently been going into overdrive in terms of the scale of their extremism. During the past few weeks, there has been considerable controversy over Fox News contributor, senior Republican politician, and potential candidate for the 2012 presidential election Newt Gingrich in particular due to the following remarks he made about US President Barack Obama:

Via Media Matters for America:

Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D’Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

D’Souza’s remarks: “Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost”.

The incredible irrationality (or open bigotry – take your pick) of levelling such accusations against an individual who was not only born in the US but has actually spent very little time indeed in Kenya is obviously self-evident, most of all because Barack Obama met his father only once and was just 10 years old at the time.

Furthermore, using the term “anti-colonial” as an intended “insult” is particularly bizarre, considering the original ideological basis for the creation of the United States of America via the War of Independence and the fact that America’s own Founding Fathers were forcefully opposed to colonialism. Gingrich has subsequently refused to retract his remarks, and has repeated the ‘defence’ that “His [Obama’s] father was from Kenya”. To add insult to injury, he also made references to “Third World mentality” – again, remember that in the case of Barack Obama himself, this is someone who is not actually from the ‘Third World’ at all.

The usage of the term “tribesman” in relation to Obama’s father also panders to negative stereotypes about Africans, bearing in mind that Obama Sr actually received his postgraduate education at Harvard and eventually worked as an economist for the Kenyan Ministry of Finance. Furthermore, it would be unwise for both Newt Gingrich and Dinesh D’Souza to use such an “armchair psychology” approach, considering the possible conclusions that could be reached if the tables were turned and their own behaviour & ancestral backgrounds were similarly “analysed”. Incidentally, the Indian-born D’Souza, whose ancestral roots lie in the former Portuguese colony of Goa, is a convert from Roman Catholicism to Evangelical Christianity whose previous romantic relationships included the right-wing American demagogues Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham.

Gingrich’s description of President Obama as “authentically dishonest” is similarly a poor choice of words, considering that Gingrich was the first Speaker of the House to ever be disciplined for unethical conduct by the House of Representatives. And he has even admitted to cheating on his own wife while he was simultaneously leading the Republican attacks against President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair.

A selection of examples of Newt Gingrich’s previous remarks

· Newt Gingrich has an extensive history of bigoted and racially-inflammatory rhetoric.

· Gingrich claims that the Tea Party is “likely to end up as the militant wing” of the Republican Party.

· Gingrich has appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show and claimed that the Obama Administration is trying to “end….America as it has been for the last 400 years”.

· Gingrich claims that Obama and his administration are threatening America as much as Nazi Germany did; he also compared the “secular, socialist machine” to Nazi Germany. The latter analogy in particular has been publicly condemned by the American Jewish Committee as “diminishing the horror of the Holocaust”

· Gingrich claims that the greatest battle for America “since the Civil War” is underway. Coincidentally, former US president Jimmy Carter recently said on Larry King Live on CNN that Obama is currently having to deal with the most hostile environment of any president in American history, and that even Abraham Lincoln didn’t face this scale of hostility in the run-up to the American Civil War.

· Gingrich has formed a group called “Renewing American Leadership [ReAL]”, which has ties with the “Black Robe Regiment”, a conservative political-religious group recently promoted by Glenn Beck. ReAL was created to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage” and involve Evangelical Christians in America’s political process. Readers should note that, in reality, not only does the US Constitution explicitly emphasise the separation of Church and State, but Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli – signed directly by the Founding Father & 2nd US president John Adams in 1797, and unanimously approved by Congress – explicitly states that “as the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…..it has in itself no character of enmity towards the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen [ie. Muslims]”.

· Gingrich has compared the Cordoba Initiative’s Park 51 to “Nazis….putting up a sign next to the Holocaust museum”. This is a disgusting example of ascribing collective guilt, not least because the American Sufis involved in the Corboda Initiative have explicitly stated that they are enemies of Al-Qaeda (and in the case of key figures like Imam Rauf, they’ve actually been involved in assisting both the Bush Administration and the current Obama Administration in anti-Islamist-extremism efforts). Furthermore, such public statements sabotage the American government and military’s ongoing efforts to “win hearts and minds” in the Muslim world; for example, it becomes difficult to convince the latter that America is not hostile towards Muslims if a very senior Republican politician is openly claiming that Muslims by default are effectively like Nazis. I doubt that America’s own Muslim citizens are particularly happy to find themselves described in such terms either. It also reinforces Al-Qaeda’s distorted propaganda that America is an enemy of Islam and that Muslims en masse are a persecuted group worldwide.

· Gingrich also claims that there should be no mosques near Ground Zero until there are “churches in Saudi Arabia”, thereby effectively stating that the US should duplicate Wahhabi Saudi Arabian attitudes towards minority places of worship and, to make matters even worse, penalise American citizens for – and hold them hostage to – the actions of foreign governments & foreign terrorists purely because they’re affiliated with superficially the same religion (even if they’re from very different “denominations”).

· Gingrich has made a bizarre threat that American judges who “use Sharia to interpret the Constitution will not remain in office”……even though there is no history of any American judge ever having done this.

An associated article focusing on Glenn Beck will be published tomorrow.


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Filed in: Media,Muslim,Party politics,Religion,United States






22 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : The escalating bigotry of Newt Gingrich http://bit.ly/9HjqLi


  2. David Skelton

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The escalating bigotry of Newt Gingrich http://bit.ly/9HjqLi


  3. Claire Butler

    RT @sunny_hundal Blogged: : The escalating bigotry of Newt Gingrich http://bit.ly/9HjqLi


  4. Lauren G

    N. Gingrich on Obama's 'Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior'. http://is.gd/fvqk1 Er. What does Newt celebrate on the 4th of July?


  5. michael montgomery

    RT @geeoharee: N. Gingrich on Obama's 'Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior'. http://is.gd/fvqk1 Er. What does Newt celebrate on the 4th of July?


  6. catherine buca

    “@sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The escalating bigotry of Newt Gingrich http://bit.ly/9HjqLi” << Jesus swept.


  7. Sim-O

    Fucking hell. are these guys *really* for real? http://is.gd/fvw9e




  1. douglas clark — on 27th September, 2010 at 12:32 pm  

    Well said. The man is a tit.

  2. BenSix — on 27th September, 2010 at 1:16 pm  

    “…most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama…”

    Be fair – he’s only just learnt to read.

  3. saeed — on 27th September, 2010 at 1:36 pm  

    I wonder what nick cohen, norm geras and the rest of the decentists make of the drift of wide sections of US conservative opinion into racism and obscurantism……

  4. Claire — on 27th September, 2010 at 1:42 pm  

    Not sure how seriously I should take someone with such a ridiculous moniker. Is it his real name?
    Newt’s a bit of a silly name too.

  5. KB Player — on 27th September, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

    I wonder what nick cohen, norm geras and the rest of the decentists make of the drift of wide sections of US conservative opinion into racism and obscurantism……

    I would guess that they would call this crazed paranoia of a particularly scary kind. In fact, HP has written quite a lot against that kind of barmy Obama bashing.

    It’s amazing stuff – Obama gets chastised for being a cool, self-possessed guy, with the arrogant hauteur of the ruling political class. But this is a cunning cover for his real self, which has a bone through his nose and is jumping up and down waving a spear. These people are quite mad.

  6. Shamit — on 27th September, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

    Newt is not even a good politician. His only claim to fame in politics was 1994 and contract with America and the budget shutdown. He thought he was going to bring Clinton down – well Clinton got re-elected and left office with over 60% approval rating.

    And now he is trying it on Obama. No wonder mainstream republicans such as Karl Rove are sick and tired of this tea party and their stupidity. This is going to backfire on them massively.

    Interestingly for the first time in a long time, in the mid terms more than 100 seats in the US Congress are at play. However, wherever tea party candidates have won, they have a problem with independent voters.

    If this carries on Obama just might find that the mid terms are not as bad as he thinks. And, Republicans should also worry about the 30 gubernatorial races that are going on right now – Governors need independent voters to win. And no wonder no gubernatorial candidates are calling on Newt to come and campaign for them.

  7. Ravi Naik — on 27th September, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

    Newt Gingrich is *not* a Tea Party icon. He is loathed by the Tea Party because he is seen as too moderate, as he dared to work with some key Democrats in the past, and has endorsed moderate Republicans when he felt the Tea Party was not worth pandering.

    Well that was a few months ago. Now Newt Gingrich is doing the same as McCain which is to channel the Tea Party wackos. I agree with Shamit, this is a case of sheer stupidity. It didn’t work in 2008 when nobody knew Obama, what makes him think it will work now?

    But the most absurd part – is to critize Obama for having an anti-colonial worldview, in particular about England. Is Gingrich prepared to say the same about George Washington?

  8. zak — on 27th September, 2010 at 9:30 pm  

    what an odd path newts taken? From being the architect of modern neo cons conservative policy to now playing the rebel..is he planning on making a bid for thr presidency?

  9. soru — on 27th September, 2010 at 11:33 pm  

    the original ideological basis for the creation of the United States of America via the War of Independence and the fact that America’s own Founding Fathers were forcefully opposed to colonialism

    While Newt is in general an idiot, that particular point is dead wrong. Colonialism and imperialism are different things (owning land versus ruling), and they frequently came into conflict. Both the Boer War and the US war of Independence were at root conflicts between the two models.

    For example:
    http://www.americanrevolution.org/ind1.html
    By the Proclamation of 1763, the lands beyond the Appalachian mountain chain were declared off limits to colonial governments, the lands being “reserved” to the Indians under the cognizance of the British Crown which reasserted its sovereignty and control over the area. Although the anger of the colonies was tempered by the knowledge that the freeze was a temporary measure and not necessarily permanent, it marked another example of the tightening noose placed by the home government over colonial freedom of action.

    Semantics aside, pretty sure all of the founding fathers would have happily owned up to being colonials or colonists. All spoke English, and they made only the most token of efforts to integrate into or symbolically adopt the ways of the locals.

  10. John — on 28th September, 2010 at 6:56 am  

    Gingrich also claims that there should be no mosques near Ground Zero until there are “churches in Saudi Arabia”, thereby effectively stating that the US should duplicate Wahhabi Saudi Arabian attitudes towards minority places of worship

    One way to encourage Saudi Arabia to provide religious freedom. May be crude but what else is there?

  11. douglas clark — on 28th September, 2010 at 8:38 am  

    soru @ 9,

    What an interesting comment!

  12. organic cheeseboard — on 28th September, 2010 at 9:56 am  

    I would guess that they would call this crazed paranoia of a particularly scary kind.

    I’m sure a lot of Decents would.

    But i’m not sure about Cohen, who seemed to embrace McCain and Palin more and more, the weirder and nuttier they got…

  13. Jai — on 28th September, 2010 at 10:00 am  

    that particular point is dead wrong.

    I’m afraid not, Soru. Apart from the fact that “colonialism” and “colonisation” don’t necessarily mean the same thing (and neither do “colonial” and “colonist”), in this particular context Gingrich and D’Souza are using the term “colonial” specifically in relation to historical British imperialism.

    My remarks about the Founding Fathers’ views are therefore accurate. This is not mere speculation on my part; if you want to read a meticulously-researched account of the subject, especially the opinions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, I recommend America: Empire of Liberty by David Reynolds, specifically pp.56-100. Reynolds himself has previously taught at Harvard and is currently Professor of International History at Cambridge University.

    And no, the Founding Fathers did not refer to (or regard) themselves as “colonials” after the War of Independence; this is a matter of heavily documented historical record and, like my earlier comments about the Founding Fathers’ attitudes, it is discussed in extensive detail in Professor Reynolds’ book.

  14. Phil Hunt — on 28th September, 2010 at 8:34 pm  

    It seems that, once again, Gingrich will stop at nothing to create his agenda even thicker and further than what even the harshest critics would every dream of. It really is very scary to think that he could potentially run as the Presidential candidate soon.

  15. Jai (Update) — on 29th September, 2010 at 10:25 am  

    Update: PP’s editorial team has slightly trimmed the article above for reasons of length, but here is the original extract of Gingrich’s openly bigoted remarks in full, via Media Matters. (Hopefully it will also clarify my condemnation of Gingrich hypocritically calling Obama “authentically dishonest”). It reflects even worse on Gingrich when you read what he actually said:

    “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

    “This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” Gingrich tells us.

    “I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true,” Gingrich continues. “In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.”

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