The Washington Post

Reaction to Newt Gingrich’s ‘really poor’ attitude

Newt Gingrich’s caustic remark about the habits (or lack there of) of “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods” really hit a nerve. And not just mine. Over the last week, whenever I’ve mentioned Gingrich or his ugly remark on my Facebook page, folks gave as good as they feel they got from the smarter-than-thou former Speaker of the House. It happened again today when I used the remark as the closing snark for today’s p-Op quiz. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, many hurled expletives that shall not be repeated. But there were others who used Gingrich’s callousness to exhale a bit and demand their due respect by sharing a bit of their personal history.

“I was poor and a single mom,” wrote Cathy Brown. “As soon as he was old enough, my son got a job--he showed up every day, worked hard, got paid just like a ‘non-poor’ person. He has an MBA now. Newt is nuts!!!”

“Poor single mom here,” wrote Amanda Meek. “My kids watched me work hard every day. One grew up to be an Airman, the other grew up to be a Marine.”

But it was the comments of Heather Jones that grabbed me most.

Poor single mom here. My kids have seen me work, go to school, get fired for talking back to one of the richies henchmen, have no insurance and a couple of heart attacks just for a poor attempt at a vacation I guess. My daughter graduates with honors this year, one son is a master controller for a cable company on his way to supervisor, one is going to college to teach in CANADA because he is sick and tired of the rethuglican bs.They have always done the dishes, cleaned, cooked, kept the pets and had to nurse me through those heart attacks. They keep me sane while looking for work with a big hug. Both have actively been looking for employ and where we live...nonexistent. Bite me Newt, such a lizard that one.

Jones, Meek and Brown are just three of the voices rising up against Gingrich’s gross generalization. Surely, the red-meat crowd in the GOP loved it. But right-thinking Americans take a dim view of this insensitive view of millions of Americans making do with what they have while providing a moral foundation for their families. For someone so smart, Gingrich is capable of stunning stupidity.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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