Gingrich Responds to Obama's Race Speech

He didn't quite get the headlines and media attention that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., did, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., delivered an address this week called, "Answering the Obama Challenge: What Is the Right Change to Help All Americans Pursue Happiness and Create Prosperity?"Saying that Obama gave the nation an opportunity to "reengage in a dialogue about poverty, race and the future of those Americans who are currently unable to pursue happiness," Gingrich quoted and responded to a number of observations from Obama's speech last week.

"As Sen. Obama notes, 'the legalized discrimination -- where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions or the police force or fire departments -- meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations."

Said Gingrich: "Anyone who thinks that there was not this destructive impact is simply not in touch with the reality of American history for African-Americans. Other groups have reasons for anger. Native Americans have a claim probably at least as great if not greater than African-Americans. Japanese-Americans went through a period of internment in World War II. Jewish Americans have a history which includes the Holocaust but extends back before the Holocaust to pogroms in Russia; anti-Semitism in Poland; expulsion from Spain; and, in the last 50 years, an unrelenting and virtually hysterical effort by their Arab neighbors to exterminate them in a way which no other group has experienced."

After outlining some horrible conditions in this country today, Gingrich then said he would make a case for boldness. "April 26 will be the 25th anniversary of 'A Nation at Risk', a report on education in the United States. Here’s what that report said: 'If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have in effect been committing an act of unthinking unilateral educational disarmament.'  "And I would argue with every conservative: Education in the United States is a national security issue and the secretary of defense should give an education speech every year reminding us that we are not going to be the leading power in the world if we don’t have fundamental, deep rethinking of our education programs. ... The tragic truth is that the current system is not working because of two topics we don’t like to talk about -- bad culture and bad government."

He goes on from there. Read the whole speech HERE.

- jpt

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