Thursday, July 19, 2012

Newt Gingrich's To Save America 1

I started Newt Gingrich's To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine.

So why am I reading this book, when I've already read and blogged through four other books by Newt?  First, the other books by Newt that I read were dated before Barack Obama became President, and so I'm curious about Newt's specific criticisms of President Obama's policies.  Second, I wonder how (in Newt's eyes) Obama is secular (or perhaps "secularist" would be a better word) and a socialist.  Third, Newt has a chapter on how big business is an ally of big government, and I'd like to learn more about that.

There may be a lot of overlap between what Newt says in this book and what he says in his other books that I have read.  Consequently, I'll simply highlight things in my reading that stood out to me, without necessarily seeking to capture the essence in my posts of Newt's overall arguments.

There were two things that stood out to me in my latest reading:

1.  On page 9, Newt refers to rooms in New York City schools where incompetent teachers sit around and do nothing.  Newt says that "because of their union contract, it takes up to seven years to fire them".  This costs taxpayers about $65 million annually.  Newt cites this article.  I should also note this article, which is about Mayor Bloomberg's response to this situation.  Essentially, the teachers are awaiting disciplinary hearings.  Some of them are accused of serious wrongdoing.  Others, according to the latter article, got in trouble with their boss because they "ran afoul of a principal or they blew the whistle on someone who was fudging test scores."

2.  On page 19, Newt says: "...there is the corruption of the secular-socialist machine, which knows if it competed fairly in the political system it would be crushed by the vast majority of Americans who oppose its values.  Thus, out of necessity, left-wing politicians routinely encourage vote theft, lie about their policies, and defame their opponents."

This criticism may have some legitimacy to it, but it's a one-sided cheap shot, especially considering the electoral shenanigans that some Republicans have been accused of doing: Diebold, partisan Secretary of States, gerrymandering, etc.  See here.

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