Monday, December 12, 2011

Dickensian (dih-ken-zee-uhn)

Lakewood Center for the Arts 2009 production of Oliver!
(Shea Mackinnon as Oliver and Jay Horenstein as Fagin)

One of the themes of the Democratic Party is that Republicans are harming our children. Newt Gingrich recently brought new energy to this theme. Speaking in Iowa on December 1, Mr. Gingrich said:

Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and nobody around them who works. 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.

Cue the outrage!

Joan Jacobson expressed her feelings in The Denver Post on 12/10/2011:

One benefit of Newt Gingrich’s proposal to pay poor kids to clean their schools is that it would give the rich kids in those schools valuable experience in how to treat “the help.” These kids are too young to have acquired noblesse oblige, so it’s inevitable that they will say stuff like, “Hey, Janitor Boy, mop up my mess!” in the lavatories and, “Maid Girl, take my plate away!” in the cafeterias. But we can pay for expensive counselors to teach sensitivity training to the rich kids. Or, we could just put up with bullying by the rich of the poor on the basis that this is how the real world works and so it is good training for kids on both ends of the economic spectrum.

Ed Quillen followed up on 12/11/2011:

I never encountered any stories suitable for the children of America's right-thinkers. A story where, say, most of the kids get together to beat the tar out of the new kid who's "different." Or the one with everyone cheering at the death of a character who didn't have health insurance. Or shooting the brown-eyed kid who tried to get into their gated community. Or maybe a story where the cool kids had fun mocking the kid who couldn't afford the newest styles and Newt Gingrich could lead them in chanting, "Get a haircut."

Once again, Republicans are off their meds. They enjoy mocking, bullying and killing. Our culture reminds us that Republicans are really bad people.

Or maybe that’s just The Denver Post. Keith Koffler, writing at Politico, sees it as a new political strategy employed by the Democratic Party. In an effort to get president Obama re-elected, the Democratic Party is crafting a new reality:

Obama’s is a Dickensian world in which greedy rich people and unscrupulous bankers receive special favor and the rest of us are ground under their avarice into penury.

Whether we are seeing a new reality or just a rehash of Democratic Party themes, it does appear that we are going to get a strong dose of Dickensian medicine over the next 11 months.

Let’s watch and see whether it cures America’s ills.

UPDATE 1/17/2012:
Newt Gingrich gets a standing ovation while defending his remarks at a debate held in Myrtle Beach, SC on 1/16/2012.

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