Elderly bombthrower Newt Gingrich, our generation's less talented Richard Nixon, has only been an official presidential candidate for less than a week, but he's already going out of his way to annoy and confuse everyone all the time.
We're now able to verify, after one of his very first campaign stops, that Gingrich will indeed run a campaign of classic racial dog-whistles. In Georgia late last week, he referred to Barack Obama as our country's great "food stamp president" and recommended bringing back some form of poll tests. He made these comments just in time for David Gregory to include them in his notes for yesterday's Meet the Press, where Gingrich was the keynote guest. This allowed Gingrich to portray himself as the victim of elitist liberal political correctness:
MR. GREGORY: First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the president, the first black president, a food stamp president.
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, come on, David.
MR. GREGORY: What did you mean? What was the point?
REP. GINGRICH: That's, that's bizarre. That - this kind of automatic reference to racism, this is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that - and what I said is factually true. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism? I have - I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.
And if you have any doubt that the target of this aggressive, early blitz is white seniors, he also strongly rejected Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare privatization, becoming the first notable candidate to do so:
"I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," he said when asked about a Medicare plan championed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) as an element of the party's 2012 budget proposal. He said he was against "radical change" on the right and the left.
So what we have here is a more experienced version of Donald Trump's fake candidacy.
Anything else? Well, he also told David Gregory in pretty clear terms that he supports health cares mandates, and then he made a video from some sidewalk this morning rejecting mandates.
The mindfucks will keep coming at this furious a pace for another few months, if he digs up enough loose change to keep this thing running through the summer.
[Image via AP]