You can nowhere see a better example of how far American politics has fallen then in this news story. And who is at the news center of this story that shows a kind of politics that would have been unthinkable years ago due to is blatantly exclusionary nature? Why, of course, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a person who members of both parties often point to as someone who poisoned the atmosphere in Congress with toxic rhetoric and helped create the attitude that other people from another party are enemies rather than advesaries.
And this time Gingrich show he hasn’t run out of political poison to throw into the proverial well: he told a gay Iowan asking him a basic, boilerplate question that most politicians would respond to in policy terms to go vote for Barack Obama.
Newt Gingrich told a gay man and longtime resident of Oskaloosa here today that he should vote for President Obama.
“I asked him if he’s elected, how does he plan to engage gay Americans. How are we to support him? And he told me to support Obama,” said Scott Arnold, an associate professor of writing at William Penn University.”
Arnold, a Democrat, said he came to the event at Smokey Row coffee house with an open mind. But he wanted to ask Gingrich about how he would represent him as president after reading past comments the former U.S. House Speaker as made about gay and lesbians.
“When you ask somebody a question and you expect them to support all Americans and have everyone’s general interest,” Arnold said. “It’s a little bit frustrating and disheartening when you’re told to support the other side. That he doesn’t’ need your support.”
On the other hand, Gingrich is truly an expert on marriage. After all, he’s now on his third wife.
And so there you have it.
You don’t like a question someone asks you and it isn’t part of a group that you are now wooing? Tell them to vote for the other guy.
Giving a respectful answer to a voter (no matter what party he belongs to)? Nah.
Answering the question in policy terms? Nah.
Leaving open the possibility that if you’re elected you’ll take that voter’s concerns into consideration and at least think about it? That is SO mid-twentieth century!
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.