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A demagogue, Merriam-Webster says, makes use of popular prejudices in his pursuit of power.
My fears were unwarranted. The five remaining candidates have too much character to pander, no matter how much they crave the Republican nomination.
But they won't shy away from their duty to disclose a few nightmarish truths about President Obama. And, as usual, Newt Gingrich bravely led the way.
"It tells you everything you need to know about the difference between Barack Obama and the five of us, that we actually think work is good," Newt Gingrich said, to loud applause in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. "And we think unconditional efforts by the best food stamp president in American history to maximize dependency is terrible for the future of this country." More hearty applause.
It's important to know, as we choose a president this year, that the current one disapproves of work.
"Food stamp president" must be polling well for the former speaker, as he's been using it increasingly lately. Not that polls matter to Gingrich, who has made it clear he's not one of those political types.
The industrious Gingrich got much of his wealth the old-fashioned way: he consulted for it. After he left Congress he soon began consulting for Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage corporation. Consulting in Washington is a real grind for former congressmen, as it requires them to allow the entity they're consulting for to throw their name around. Gingrich has said that he actually worked about an hour a month for Freddie Mac, for which his consulting firm was paid $25,000 to $30,000, monthly, for years. Nice work if you can get it—some of those bums being coddled by the food stamp president might be willing to part with their stamps for that.
Gingrich sparred briefly last night with one of the debate panelists, Juan Williams—Fox News's leading black political analyst—on the "food stamp president" line. The crowd booed Williams and loudly supported Gingrich. Today, the lead feature on Gingrich's campaign website is "Video: Newt Gingrich Schools Juan Williams: Americans Want Paychecks, Not Food Stamps".
South Carolina has a large proportion of military families—and Texas governor Rick Perry revealed to them Obama's disloyalty to the military. "What bothers me more than anything...is this administration's disdain all too often for our men and women in uniform," Perry told the crowd. His evidence? Obama's defense secretary, Leon Panetta, had called the urinating of four Marines on the corpses of Taliban fighters "despicable," which Perry considered far too harsh. "These young men made a mistake," he said.
The front-runner in the race, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, reminded the audience that he's always opposed gay marriage, and that he also opposes violent felons ever being able to vote, even after they've done their time. He warned that Obama "is drawing us into becoming more like a European social welfare state. I think he wants us to become an entitlement society." Romney said he was running "to make sure that we don't transform America into something we don't recognize."
Like the kind of nation Dr. King dreamed of?