Saturday, December 05, 2009

Newt at Millsaps

My undergraduate alma mater is a Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college in Jackson MS, Millsaps College, which is a great liberal arts college. But when I saw that they posted this on their Facebook page, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Speaks at Millsaps College Millsaps College Website 12/04/09, I couldn't help but poke a little fun at them in the comments there. Millsaps has a reputation in Misissisippi as being a particularly liberal place, for reasons that are not immediately apparent. A lot of the following is from my comments that I left there.

This is kind of sad. Surely Millsaps can get more distinguished speakers than a has-been politician who hasn't held any political office of responsibility in over 10 years and whose ideas seem to largely consist of the magic mantra of deregulate, cut taxes and make wars.

The speech itself was pretty thin. He tells a long, dumb story about people who don't know how to grow corn. And about how 2+2=4. He blames the 2007 housing crash was due to a "cultural crisis" because too many dang poor people wanted to buy a house. No word from Newt on the massive fraud committed by lenders, the recklessness of investment bankers creating high-risk derviatives based on subprime mortgages, and the irresponsibility of the Federal Reserve and other federal regulators that led major financial institutions getting way outsides the bounds of responsible lending and investment practices. But he does gripe about administration "czars", whose jobs he says are un-Constitutional. And he recommends Communist China as country we should imitate on promoting investment. Go figure.

And what's with the photo? Everyone there but Newt seems to be in a white robe! And when I watch the video, there is a whole phalanx of people (students?) behind the speaker in "Millsaps" shirts, the ones that look like the white robes in the photo. What's up with that? Are you hoping for donations from Newt Gingrich fans? Anything is possible, I guess.

What's next? Inviting Glenn Beck to enlighten Millsaps students on theology? Rush Limbaugh to instruct them on journalistic ethics?

You know, it's sweet and all that State Auditor Pickering opened with the Pledge of Allegiance - a not particularly spirited version, I notice - and a prayer. A very *Christian* prayer, at that, "in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit forever". I guess Pickering figured that there probably wasn't none of them thar Jews showin' up to hear ole Newt. (You do still admit Jews to Millsaps, don't you?) But I guess it makes sense. Newt impressed everyone with his Christian witness in 1996 when he recommended that his Republican colleagues attack their Democratic opponents with words like "anti-flag", "anti-family", "anti-child", "bizarre", "decay", "radical", "sick", "traitors". Yeah, that Newt, he's a class act.

Gingrich's puerile speech seemed to be aimed to a group of high-school admirers of Ayn Rand. It's pretty darn boring but the video is there so you can watch it if you feel like punishing yourself.

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