Not only Newt Gingrich's opponents in the presidential campaign, but also commentators in the mainstream media who ought to know better, have jumped all over him for advocating "humane" treatment for (some) "illegal immigrants" (a phrase which should always be used with quotation marks, not because it is wrong in the technical legal sense, which it is not, but because its normal meaning includes any foreign born person who has a brown skin or speaks Spanish).
As soon as Gingrich uttered the words "humane" and "immigrants" in the same sentence, this was treated a a huge gaffe, on the order of Perry's memory lapse about which federal agency he would like to abolish, or Cain's equivocations about sexual harrassment accusations (now mostly forgotten by the media - after all, degrading behavior toward women is unforgivable, but suggesting that even one "illegal" should be allowed to remain with his or her family in the US instead of being electrocuted is even worse).
Therefore, it may say something important that Gingrich, who is coming over as the least bigoted toward Latino immigrants among the Republican candidates, has suddenly jumped to the top of the polls. Is it possible that Republican voters are actually less full of hate towards Latinos than the Fox News propagandists and the mainstream media pundits think?
Or might Republican voters, just as their Democratic and independent counterparts are doing, actually care more about how they can find jobs, pay their mortgages and put food on the table for their families than about how many Spanish-speaking families our politicians want to break up? Is Newt on to something? Are voters in both parties actually more interested in dealing with our economic problems than in promoting anti-immigrant hate? And if this is the case, is there not a lesson in this somewhere for Barack Obama and his fellow deportomaniacs in the White House?
Of course, this is not to say that Gingrich is yet ready to burn the bridges of bigotry behind him completely. Few, if any, public figures in America have been more vocal and consistent advocates of hatred against Muslims. Therefore, voters who cannot stomach the idea of having a president in the White House who really believes in diversity and tolerance will still have a lot to like about Newt Gingrich.