Source: Roger Simon / Politico
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” Newt said recently in Iowa. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”
I guess this is another example of his passion. Me, I don’t see it. Both on the stump and in debates, Newt has always seemed to me to be bookish and professorial, dusty and fusty, disdainful and contemptuous.
But, in fairness to his organic powers, I tried to find out where he developed his keen knowledge of how poor people behave. His childhood was spent largely on military bases in America, France and Germany, where he was the adopted son of an Army officer. This was not high living, but it was a far cry from poverty.
In her September 1995 Vanity Fair article, “The Inner Quest of Newt Gingrich,” Gail Sheehy interviewed Newt and seemingly everyone of importance who crossed his path in life. It’s a detailed, dramatic and sometimes lurid piece in which virtually everyone is quoted on the record.
And it reveals where Newt got his attitude toward work. Sheehy writes:
“Newt, who avoided Vietnam with student and marriage deferments, resisted taking a job. During his college years, Newt called up his father and stepmother to ask for financial help. His stepmother, Marcella McPherson, can still hear his exact words: ‘I do not want to go to work. … So I wondered, would you people help me?’’’
His father started sending him monthly checks. This habit of depending on the kindness of others continued. Sheehy writes:
“Dolores Adamson, Gingrich’s district administrator from 1978 to 1983, remembers, ‘Jackie [Jackie Battley, Newt’s high school geometry teacher and first wife] put him all the way through school. All the way through the Ph.D. … He didn’t work.”
So you can see why Newt is now an expert on the “habits of working.”
Early on, Newt found a secret: Get family to pay your way. Then get taxpayers to pay your way, then charge $60,000 a speech, and then get corporations to give you large sums of money. And ultimately, of course, there’s the presidency with its comfortable salary, free housing and that big plane where you can choose any seat you want.
Newtrino, bambino, our fiery jalapeño,
Thrill us. Chill us. Do everything but bill us.
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