If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Newt Gingrich’s latest negative ad against Mitt Romney, click here: The French Connection.
But before you watch it, let me forewarn you that the most negative thing about this ad is its stupidity, as in:
“…Massachusetts moderate: Mitt Romney. He’ll say anything to win, anything; and just like John Kerry, he speaks French too. But he’s still a Massachusetts moderate, and a Massachusetts moderate cannot beat Barack Obama.”
The first question I’d like to ask is: What do Republicans have against the French language? I can understand (although I don’t share) their rejection of Spanish since: it’s the native language of the fastest-growing minority in the U.S., which usually votes for Democrats; it’s the language spoken by 80% of the illegal immigrants in the U.S., and we know how Republicans feel about them; and, according to some paranoid Republicans, it threatens to displace English as our country’s official language. On this last point, Newt Gingrich himself put it all very clearly back in in 2007 when he stated:
“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. . . . We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.”
But, French? What’s up with that? Believe me, the French are not interested in coming to our shores. Besides having great bread, wine, and cheese, they have a pretty good health care system and want nothing to do with a country whose hospitals, they believe, reject sick people without insurance even in emergency cases.
But getting back to The French Connection ad: when did education become a 4-letter word? Why is it bad that Mitt Romney speaks French? I was under the impression that the ability to speak a second language is normally a good thing—like on college entrance applications, for example. Beyond that, what is wrong with having a leader with an excellent education? Personally, I prefer that the leader of my country be more intelligent, more educated and more experienced than the average Joe (as long as he’s also good-hearted and not a Dick Cheney type). If he also happens to speak a second language, I would think that, at the very least, this could only help in the foreign policy arena.
But of course we all know what Gingrich is trying to do. He’s trying to brand Romney as an elitist, divorced from the plight of everyday Americans. This is from a member of a party that couldn’t care less about everyday Americans. You know the one, the party that fights tooth and nail to maintain unfair tax breaks for the very rich at the expense of the middle class.
But, perhaps the most blatantly stupid angle of this ad, beyond the Romney comparison to Kerry and their French-speaking abilities is the message that, in order to beat Barack Obama, the Republican nominee cannot be a moderate. No, why use moderation when you can have crazy? This ad is nothing but a call to Tea Party right-wing extremism. And to this I must say: TERRIBLE, which happens not only to be spelled the same way but also to mean the same thing in English, Spanish, and French.