There has been an indignant firestorm across the liberal blogosphere about comments that Newt Gingrich made referencing "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps."
Slate's Dave Weigel tweeted a slightly altered version of Gingrich's quote at 9:34 a.m., and Talking Points Memo put it up less than 20 minutes later with the headline, "Newt: African Americans Should Get Off Food Stamps; Demand Paychecks." An hour after that, The Daily Beast ran its story with the headline, "Gingrich to African-Americans: Get Off of Food Stamps." By the end of the day, the AP was comparing the quote to a remark made by Rick Santorum that the president of the National Urban League criticized as pandering to racist elements in the GOP.
A reporter on the trail notes that Gingrich frequently says in his stump speeches that he would urge people to demand paychecks instead of food stamps — a talking point that it is not usually met with great alarm by the media. He also frequently says that he would go to the NAACP convention if it invited him. On Thursday morning, the two points came together when he said he would go to the NAACP convention and explain "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps."
Now, for those unaware, the NAACP stands for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Here is another handy fact: In September of 2011 it was reported that unemployment for African Americans surged to the highest levels in 27 years to 16.7% in August of 2011.
Add in another fact: Since 2009 there has been a 31 percent increase in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) which was known as the Food Stamp Program until 2008.
So, all together, even the left leaning Politico admits that Gingrich's frequent themes are to demand paychecks instead of food stamps which addresses the high unemployment levels, he was speaking of going to the NAACP convention and the NAACP focuses on issues that affect African-Americans and blacks have the highest levels of unemployment in 27 years.
Now back to Gingrich saying "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps."
Makes sense in context. Any candidate that plans to speak in front of NAACP members and did not plan to address African-American issues specifically, would be a moron.
So why is the liberal blogosphere up in arms screaming racism yet again?
Here is why: Blacks have been the Democrats’ most reliable voting bloc for the last 50 years. Obama's approval among blacks peaked at 96 percent in five different weeks in 2009 and by August 0f 2011 his approval among blacks had dropped to 81 percent according to Gallup's demographic breakdowns.
National Review explains:
Both parties know this. If the GOP peeled off just 5 or 10 percent of the black vote, Democrats would be in perpetual electoral jeopardy, and not just at the presidential level.
So the reason liberals are losing their minds over Newt's statement is because they know that if a conservative, any conservative, offers African-American's a viable alternative to Barack Obama's policies which has landed blacks into the highest unemployment rate in decades, then the chances of Obama being reelected in 2012 dives.
In September, Barack Obama himself told the Congressional Black Caucus to "Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying....." (Video here)
Was Obama a racist for saying that?
Might not have been the smartest thing to say, but it wasn't racist.
Neither was what Newt said.
When a Democrat addresses African-Americans and issues facing them, in a liberal's mind it is because they care.
If a conservative addresses African-Americans and issues facing them, in a liberals mind, it is because they are racist.