Newt and the Kid Janitors, Part II

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 1 2011 2:40 PM

Newt and the Kid Janitors, Part II

Newt Gingrich's riff on the idea of students working as custodians had no visible impact on his Republican support. Funny how that works: The Daily Show audience is outraged by things that don't outrage the GOP electorate.

So Gingrich is still talking about it. ThinkProgress clips his latest flight of character-building fantasy.

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The mystery isn't why he keeps on saying this. The mystery is why or when this will get on Tea Partiers' nerves. They are madly in love with Gingrich, but at the same time, they don't know why we have a Department of Education in the first place. Rick Perry wants to abolish it, when he can remember that he feels that way. Ron Paul wants to abolish it. Lots of Tea Party candidates want to abolish it. And yet Gingrich is talking, in a presidential campaign, about an extremely local issue. The assumption hanging over it is that President Gingrich thinks about ways that government-run schools could instill more discipline. Odd that this isn't irritating the Tea Party.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.