Politics

Gingrich hits back at critics of his ‘anti-colonial’ comments

Jonathan Strong Contributor
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Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is hitting back at critics, including the Obama White House, over his statements expressing interest in a recent article by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza.

“It seemed to touch some kind of irrational nerve on the left,” Gingrich said of the reaction to his comments in an interview with The Daily Caller.

But Gingrich said his remarks, originally made to National Review Online, have been misconstrued. “Read what I said and then read what my left wing critics are saying and you decide which is the more absurd,” he said.

D’Souza’s article argues that President Obama’s political philosophy can be traced to Obama’s father’s anticolonialist views. “Anticolonialism is the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America,” D’Souza wrote in Forbes magazine.

Gingrich told the National Review Online that D’Souza’s argument was the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

Critics, mostly on the left but some of whom were on the right, blasted Gingrich’s comments even more than they slammed D’Souza’s article.

Gingrich is “trying to appeal to the fringe,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “This fear-mongering is ugly,” Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times.

In particular, criticism has focused on Gingrich’s statement that, “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?”

D’Souza’s article attempts to trace the philosophy of Obama’s father, who was a Kenyan anticolonialist. In that sense, Gingrich’s remarks about “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior” would appear to apply to Obama’s father, not Obama.

Gingrich’s critics point to well known conspiracy theories claiming Obama was born in Kenya to suggest Gingrich was intentionally alluding to such theories in his comments.

“D’Souza and Gingrich employ the tactics the Bush administration used to get us into Iraq — cherry-picking, insinuation, half-truths and dishonest reasoning,” Dowd wrote.

Gingrich blasted back at his critics in his interview with TheDC. Asked what he thought about the criticisms, Gingrich said, “I’m amazed. I cited an article by Dinesh D’Souza, who is a responsible, serious intellectual.”

“If we’re not allowed to try to inquire about what motivates the President of the United States and what his background is, then what’s the purpose of talking about free speech?” Gingrich asked.

“I have really been surprised at the vitriol and the viciousness and the negativity from people – most of whom I’ll bet haven’t read the article … and don’t know exactly what I said which is: it’s interesting. It’s a useful way to think about it.”

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