The Root: Newt Gingrich Adds To Right-Wing Rumors

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Newt Gingrich

hide caption Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Republican National Committee's State Chairman's meeting in Maryland. Gingrich said in a recent interview that President Obama's worldview is "Kenyan" and "anti-colonial."

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Jack White is a regular contributor to The Root.

The latest salvo from the extreme right now proposes that Obama has embraced the political views of the late father he barely knew.

Just when you thought the false propaganda against Barack Obama couldn't get any deeper, along comes Newt Gingrich with another trainload of lies. Setting a shameful new standard for cynical manipulation of the paranoid fears of the Tea Party and  so-called Birthers, the Republican former speaker of the House now claims that Obama suffers from "a Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview" that makes him unfit to be president.

"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asked in an interview with the National Review Online, Web site of the prominent conservative magazine. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."

"This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president," added Gingrich, who is considering running for president in 2012. "I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true," Gingrich continues. "In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve. ... He was authentically dishonest."

Gingrich's charges are too absurd to deserve a detailed point-by-point rebuttal. Suffice it to say that Obama was born in Hawaii to a white mother and a father from Kenya, whom he barely knew, that he was mainly reared by his white grandparents, and that his political ideas and conduct in office are squarely within the American liberal mainstream. He is neither a Muslim, nor a non-citizen, nor a secret agent pursuing an anti-American agenda, as his delusional detractors claim.

But instead of relying on these self-evident truths, Gingrich chooses to repeat the absurdities contained in a ludicrous Forbes magazine article by well-known right-wing crank Dinesh D'Souza, who over the years has produced some of the creepiest, blatantly racist nonsense to find its way into a book.

In 1995, for example, D'Souza came out with a tome entitled The End of Racism, in which he contended that segregation was merely a well-meaning attempt by paternalistic whites to help blacks "perform to the capacity of their arrested development." Foreshadowing crackpot ideas recently championed by Rand Paul, the libertarian Senate candidate in Kentucky, he urged the repeal of every major civil rights law in the land, including those that allow blacks to sit at lunch counters and use the same water fountains as everyone else. You get the picture.

Gingrich, who has a Ph.D. in history and who used to revere Robert F. Kennedy before he decided to reinvent himself as an ultraconservative Republican, knows this is all hogwash. But in his case, political expediency trumps regard for the truth. He thinks that by spreading this swill, he can get some traction for his presidential pipe dream with the lunatic anti-Obama fringe.

Gingrich's preposterous claims were appropriately condemned on Monday by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on ABC's Good Morning America. According to Gibbs, Gingrich "knows that he's trying to appeal to the fringe of people that don't believe the president was born in this country. ... You would normally expect better from somebody who held the position of speaker of the House."

But Gibbs was wrong in one important detail. The sad truth is that if the former speaker of the House in question is Newt Gingrich, the completely unscrupulous spreading of lies for political gain is exactly what you should expect.

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