The most classist comment of 2011

Last January Classism Exposed asked for your votes on which was the most classist comment by a public figure in 2010, offering eight options. Readers weighed in and added their own grisly candidates. But this year, there’s no point in running a poll, since we already know who’s going to win (drumroll, please): Newt Gingrich, for calling child labor laws “truly stupid” and advocating firing union school janitors and replacing them with poor students.

A runner-up was a statement by Gingrich so packed with racist stereotypes and misinformation about the economy that it’s hard to know where to start: the Newtster also said he plans to “go to the NAACP convention and tell the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps. He called Obama the “best food stamp president in history.”

Even for Gingrich, renowned for blurting out controversial and wacky-far-right opinions, these were doozies.

The scariest part of this story is that Gingrich briefly became the front-running Republican candidate in early December, with 33% of Republicans polled saying he was their first choice.  Could it be that substantial numbers of Americans agree with his extreme views on unions, African Americans and poverty?

Another scary part of the story: apparently, when he proposed replacing janitors with poor children, the crowd at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government applauded.

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