Newt Gingrich: Tea Party and NAACP Should Cohost Town Hall Meetings

Both sides are missing the boat in what could otherwise be a teachable moment.

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The public argument over the NAACP’s condemnation of the Tea Party movement has the rhetoric flying fast and furious on both sides as each fight to establish that they hold the moral high ground.

The language of the resolution urging Tea Partyers to condemn the so-called racist elements within their ranks, which passed overwhelmingly at the NAACP’s national meeting in Kansas City, Mo., will remain secret until it is approved by the organization’s national board later this year.

[Poll: Is the Tea Party racist?]

Nevertheless, the sentiment, which has been widely advertised and promoted by NAACP spokesmen, is being repudiated by leaders from across the Tea Party movement who are accusing the NAACP of ignoring racial issues within its own ranks.

Actually, both sides are missing the boat in what could otherwise be a teachable moment that, as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says, could draw both organizations toward a focus on finding solutions to America’s most pressing problems.

The leaders of the Tea Party movement at the local level, Gingrich suggested to me Thursday, should approach the local chapters of the NAACP with an open invitation to cohost town hall meetings on the subject of America’s future.

It’s an idea more in line with conciliation than with the confrontational style for which Gingrich is perhaps better known. It is a powerful one, seizing upon a moment very much in the spotlight in a creative way to the betterment of all concerned.

It also bridges nicely the anger that now exists at the leadership level of both organizations by appeal to their membership--and in a way that activists at the grassroots level could embrace. If successful, even on the small scale, it could be the beginning of a real and meaningful dialogue on taxes, job creation, education and other issues that are important in the real life space that both communities occupy and, frankly, is long overdue.

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