House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday blamed permissive and liberal policies for the social conditions in which an Illinois mother and her two children were brutally murdered because another woman wanted her unborn baby.
Speaking to a gathering of Republican governors in New Hampshire, Gingrich read from a morning newspaper story about the murders and removal of the baby from the mother’s womb.
“This is not an isolated incident,” he said. “There’s brutality after brutality - and we shake our head and say, ‘What’s gone wrong?’
“What’s gone wrong is a welfare system which subsidizes people for doing nothing, a criminal system which tolerated drug dealers and an education system which allows kids not to learn and which rewards tenured teachers who can’t teach while destroying poor children who are trapped in a process with no hope,” he continued.
Aided by daytime television talk shows “where people get on and describe the most disgusting behaviors,” Gingrich said, “We end up with the final culmination of a drug addicted underclass with no sense of humanity, no sense of civilization and no sense of rules of life in which human beings respect each other.”
At the White House, deputy press secretary Ginny Terzano said she had no comment on the Georgia Republican’s statements.
Generally, though, she cited Clinton’s efforts for tougher, anti-crime legislation, welfare reform and adequate funding for myriad social programs.
And she noted, “The president has said repeatedly we need to have more honest dialogue and civil conversation with each other.”
Last fall, Gingrich drew fire for suggesting that Susan Smith’s drowning of her two young sons in South Carolina was a symptom of the failure of Democratic social policies.
The incident that drew his attention Tuesday began last Thursday in suburban Chicago. Authorities say Debra Evans was slain in her apartment by attacker who cut open her uterus and stole her unborn, fullterm baby. Also killed were her 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. Her 17-month-old son was left unharmed.
Charged with murder and kidnapping are Jacqueline Williams, 28; Fedell Caffey, 22; and Levern Ward, 24. Police say Williams wanted a child and had been pretending to be pregnant.
The newborn baby boy, named Elijah by relatives as his mother had planned, was released Tuesday from the hospital.
On Tuesday, after reading from the newspaper clipping, Gingrich told the governors: “This happened in America. It happened in America because for two generations we haven’t had the guts to talk about right and wrong. We’ve talk about situation ethics. We’ve talked about victimization. We’ve talked about our needs. We have soap opera-like television shows where people get on and describe the most disgusting behaviors.”
Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman in Gingrich’s Washington office said the speaker stood by his comments.
Paul Hetrick, vice president of the Christian missionary group Focus on the Family, said he wasn’t comfortable in making a direct link between the Illinois murder case and liberal politics.
“But I think liberal policies are to blame for much of what we see wrong in our culture,” he said. “There is no other credible explanation for the kind of desecration and brutality we see manifested.”