THE STUMP DECEMBER 6, 2011
I'm a little surprised that this nice get by the Concord Monitor has not been getting more attention today. Reporter Molly A.K. Connors interviewed Gingrich about one of his pet issues: neuroscience research. Gingrich has for years made an exception in his shrink-the-government philosophy for increasing federal research spending on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, among others, but in the interview, he seemed to go out of his way to thumb his nose at those who would argue against federal spending on medical research in the name of small government dogma:
"The people who get on their computer to access the internet to send a note to their friends about the dangers of big government are using a device developed by the U.S. government - a computer, with an interface developed by U.S. government grants, what we then called the (Defense Department's) Advanced Research Projects Agency, in order to access a worldwide system (also) developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency," Gingrich said.
Those "people" warning about the "dangers of big government" are of course the ones who are helping drive Gingrich to the top of the polls nationally and in Iowa and South Carolina. A new Gallup poll finds that 68 percent of Tea Party or conservative voters nationally find Gingrich "acceptable," compared with 55 percent for Mitt Romney and less than 50 percent for the rest of the Republican field -- a striking finding for Gingrich, given his $1.6 million take from Freddie Mac and evidence of all sorts of other lucrative inside-Washington dealing that is supposed to be anathema to the Tea Party. Maybe Gingrich realizes that he's got special immunity to say things like the above without hurting his standing with the Tea Party, or maybe he just gets a kick out of living dangerously, as he did when he made his recent remarks in favor of letting some illegal immigrants stay in the country.
The Monitor's story closed with a quote I found even more striking than the one about the need for federal research spending. It's obviously relevant to my previous post about Newt's wildly shifting stance on end of life care and quite remarkable in light of his dire 2009 warnings about Obamacare leading to "euthanasia." From the Monitor:
"Imagine a world without Alzheimer's," Gingrich said. "People will live longer, with dignity, live independently and actually die fairly inexpensively."
Die fairly inexpensively?? Not even the dread care-rationer Don Berwick in his most unguarded moment would say such a thing. Sarah Palin, are you listening?