Newt Gingrich wants to be president, and from all accounts, it seems like there are enough American voters who want him as commander-in-chief to keep him in the news on a daily basis regardless of if he will become his party’s nominee and face off with President Obama.
That Gingrich is so dominant a force in the media today should be a concern for parents with young children. While Gingrich is a very intelligent, articulate leader, his rise to such a high profile in the public eye has more to do with his mastery of public speech and the fact that he is nothing more than a schoolyard bully.
Under normal circumstances, it would be logical to think that Gingrich is a good role model because of his accomplishments. He is highly educated — he earned a Ph.D. from Tulane University in modern European history. He’s been elected to the United States House of Representatives 10 times and became the first Republican speaker to that legislative body in four decades. He is a prolific author, having written several books (most about himself).
But Gingrich is not a good role model, at least for my children. He’s obnoxious, pompous, a cheater and an adulterer, a racist, he’s mean and he uses bully tactics to take power from influential people and do power trips on the poor and powerless.
A tiny sampling of Gingrich’s mean and out-of-touch comments he’s made during this campaign season include:
• About his first wife: “She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the president’s wife” (and note that he’s talking about the mother of his children);
• About President Obama, calling him the “food stamp” president;
• About his own political party, that the Republican Party doesn’t encourage you to be nasty, and instead “loyal to all those Boy Scout words”;
• About poor children, that they have no work habits because they have no role models in their communities, they don’t know anyone who works hard; that they should work as janitors in schools so they would have cash and pride in their schools; and that they have no understanding that if they work they get cash unless the work is illegal.
These taunting, offensive remarks are examples of the type of bully tactics Gingrich uses on a regular basis. I am alarmed that someone who makes a living making celebrity appearances and giving speeches about powerless people can be taken seriously as a candidate for president. I am even more alarmed that people pay Gingrich $60,000 per speech to beat his chest, spew insults at the president and use rhetoric keep poor people down.
On the night he lost the Florida primary, Gingrich had the audacity to say to a crowd of his supporters and the national press corps, “I promise you, if I become president, I pledge my life, my fortune and my sacred honor.”
He has already demonstrated he has no honor — he did not honor his vows to his first or second wives yet had the hypocrisy to loudly criticize President Clinton for his infidelities while he was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, so I wonder how he can expect the American people to believe that he would honor any vows to protect and uphold the Constitution or honor us.
Newt Gingrich is a bad role model for my children. He’s a cheater, a racist, a bully and a conceited arrogant blowhard. He is the worst example of a role model to run for president in my lifetime and I hope no child anywhere is idolizing him.
Trisha Murakawa is a strategic communications and public affairs consultant based in Redondo Beach. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.