There was Michele Bachmann and her "baby girls are being poisoned and made retarded by big-government torture medicine"; there was Rick Perry doing anything; there was Herman Cain being accused of sexual harassment and trying to remember having opinions about Libya; there was Mitt Romney being ignored in favour of people who believed in government poisoning and forgetting Libya.
Now, once again, there is Newt Gingrich, who is being re-appreciated by Republicans because he has continued to not be Mormon. He has, of course, cheated on three wives, one of whom had cancer, but Democrats do that too, sometimes, so it doesn't work against him like being Mormon would. Recently, Newt indicated that if Newt gets his way, America's workforce would be changed significantly, in that it would be de-unionized and made up, at least in part, of children.
While speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Gingrich courted the lazy-child-hating vote by saying that the "core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization" were "crippling" children, in that they make it possible for grown-ups to have unionized jobs and for children to focus on school instead of working to make money to support their parents who no longer have unionized jobs.
"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighbourhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, in child laws, which are truly stupid," he said. "Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they'd have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising."
Newt is right: the real tragedy of America's poorest neighbourhoods is that poor young people are not allowed to work for minimum wage cleaning their underfunded schools. His plan, however, might result in one small (child-sized!) negative consequence: children introduced to the rewards of honest work might turn resentful when they grow up and find the grown-up jobs they've been "rising" up to have been snatched away and offered to a new, fresh-faced crop of precocious fourteen-year-olds. Fourteen-year-olds, after all, can be paid less, have less need of the health insurance they won't be offered, and they're just the right size for chimneys.