The ad is betting that Republicans are longing to see Gingrich lecture the first black president on how there's nothing racist about suggesting black people would rather be on public assistance than work for a living. It indulges two longstanding Republican fantasies: That Obama is an intellectual lightweight dependent on his teleprompter who would be easily dispatched by a knowledgeable conservative opponent, and that racism on the right is entirely an invention of liberals, who are the real racists.
Fallows, meanwhile, is debating with readers about how to interpret Gingrich's goals. Jim's view:
Newt Gingrich knows exactly what he is doing when he calls Obama the "food stamp" president, just as Ronald Reagan knew exactly what he was doing when talking about "welfare Cadillacs."
There are lots of other ways to make the point about economic hard times — entirely apart from which person and which policies are to blame for today's mammoth joblessness, and apart from the fact that Congress sets food stamp policies. You could call him the "pink slip president," the "foreclosure president," the "Walmart president," the "Wall Street president," the "Citibank president," the "bailout president," or any of a dozen other images that convey distress. You decide to go with "the food stamp president," and you're doing it on purpose.