On Morning Joe today, the guests during the first segment were Harold Ford, Mark Halperin, Al Sharpton, Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw, and the main topic was, of course, Newt Gingrich. Scarborough continues to say his negative opinions of Gingrich are not personal, and Scarborough says he doesn't know Gingrich personally, just professionally as a politican. Scarborough then said that he has to give Newt credit for what he accomplished in the mid nineties. Then Scarborough said that Republican voters are choosing Gingrich because they don't him, which implies that Scarborough does know him, I guess. I'm confused.
It seems Scarborough's biggest complaint is how Gingrich demonizes his opponents, so to analyze this problem of demonization, Al Sharpton is chosen to help with the analysis. Yes, I'm confused. Scarborough said at least five times that Gingrich compared Kathleen Sebelius to Stalin. Below is what Gingrich said:
"When Secretary Sebelius said the other day she would punish insurance companies that told the truth about the cost of Obamacare, she was behaving exactly in the spirit of the Soviet tyranny," Gingrich said. "And if she's going to represent left-wing thought police about Obamacare, she should be forced to resign by the new Congress."
Hyperbole used to make a point is a rhetorical tool, and Gingrich didn't make a direct comparison between Sebelius and Stalin -- Gingrich said this type of bullying the private sector in an effort to squash unwanted speech is in the spirit of Soviet tyranny, not literally like Soviet tyranny. Then there was the recent comment by Gingrich regarding kids in poverty who don't gain good work ethics. I'm not sure how this can be controversial -- intellectuals on the Left have made the same points. Sharpton had gone around with Newt awhile back in an effort to highlight innovative educational efforts in poor inner city areas. Scarborough and Sharpton were saying they don't understand how Gingrich could have supported these young kids and their parents, then now say that poor kids don't get guidance from their parents. This is spin at its worst, and both Scarborough and Sharpton know it.
Cherrypicking a few schools which have utilized concerned parents in poor areas who want to help their kids, and then using these efforts as the norm in inner cities, portraying a Tiny Tim version of inner city poverty, is dishonest and harmful. Perhaps Scarborough doesn't know the reality of inner city poverty, but I do and Sharpton does. To be fair to Gingrich, he was correct that a big problem in inner city areas of poverty is that too many kids don't learn good work ethhics. The causes are many and I don't have the space or time to go into them all, but crime and unemployment are rampant in inner city areas of poverty, and kids are deprived of lessons which can help them escape poverty. Innovative ideas to help solve this problem are needed. Painting a Tiny Tim version is not helpful, and excoriating Gingrich for addressing the problem is not helpful, unless your purpose is to destroy a political opponent. But it's not personal.
To be clear, I don't support Gingrich, but I believe if he's the changed man he says he is, he has the ability to articulate a fresh vision of limited government and free market transformation, which is more than I can say for Scarborough, Sharpton and the other Leftists on Morning Joe. I prefer Ron Paul in this position, but Scarborough is spinning the situation with Gingrich, and it's petty.