Joe Klein likes Newt?

Not enough to support him in an election against President Obama, or any other Democrat, for the matter. Still, it’s interesting to read that the TIME scribe has nice things to say about the former U.S. House speaker.

He is one Republican who is legitimately interested in improving the lives of the poor–although his ideas, which almost always involve market incentives, are quite different from the suffocating paternalism that many Democrats favored until Clinton came along. As early as 1990, Gingrich was paying poor children in Atlanta $2 for every book they read. He also proposed paying foreign-language-speaking students to tutor their English-speaking classmates in their native languages. He also proposed giving every literate child in the poorest neighborhoods a laptop. His recent idea of paying poor kids to help clean their schools–which has been the subject of a shrill, silly gust of liberal ire–is more of the same. It’s a good idea, which would be much better if it were expanded to all public middle and high schools, with the work seen as an unpaid form of public service, a way to build community spirit and teach civic responsibility.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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