I noted a few days ago that Newt Gingrich actually put out an ad attacking Mitt Romney because he — gasp! — speaks French. Now Evangeline Morphos writes at Politico that Gingrich himself either speaks French or his PhD dissertation was little more than academic fraud.
Gingrich should know this. He spent several years in New Orleans getting his Ph.D. in history (we are constantly reminded) from Tulane University in 1971. The university’s requirements for this include at least one, often two, foreign languages. So we know that Gingrich is at least “bi” — if not trilingual.
My father was a French literature professor at Tulane and had been chairman of the Romance Languages Department. I can assure you this department would not have certified Gingrich unless he could actually speak French.
Gingrich’s dissertation surely demanded knowledge of French. His topic was “Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960.” Like any graduate student, he must have immersed himself in his subject — a French-speaking country. He cites more than 100 French-language sources in footnotes.
Is he hiding his own Francophone secret? Or did he play fast and loose with his research — citing sources he could not possibly have read with comprehension?
Morphos suggests the obvious question: Do you now or have you ever conjugated a French verb? And do you eat french fries or freedom fries? A bunch of slack-jawed morons with the right to vote want to know.