It’s funny how life is. I remember less than a year ago, sitting in church on Wednesday nights, debating whether it was disrespectful to read the Wednesday night release of Ann Coulter’s column that would inevitably hit my smartphone just as the worship leaders were warming up. Now when it hits I just repent for wanting to send her soul to hell.
Anyway, the acerbic analyst formerly known as “conservative” made the statement this week of Gingrich that, “you can’t have two affairs and run for President.” Apparently however you can cheat on your conservative values by defending socialized health care and maintain a friends ship with an HBO comedian who continues to use the F* word on other conservative females. We knew those blonde roots would eventually choke out any remaining sense of balanced intellectual thought Coulter might contemplate.
Many Newt fans want to blame these statements on her spinster sycophantism for Mitt Romney, but idiotic or not, it is an issue that is a legitimate POLITICAL issue. I can’t tell you the number of conservative Tweeters – mostly SoCons – who say they simply can’t vote for Newt because of his betrothal betrayals.
There are two ways for the intelligent thinkers to process this. (Don’t worry NUTSS – we’’ll be right back.) First is by comparing the “betrayals” or morality of the candidates. For instance, are the decisions of a candidate that directly lead to the murder of unborn children more or less important than 2 alleged marital transgressions? (You’ll see why I say ALLEGED in a moment.) We know that not only did RomneyCare pay for abortions, he also told the pro-abortion lobbyists he would be their stealth prochoice candidate to “moderate” the GOP. Despite his ingenious self-publicity that has duped not just gullible SoCons but even people like Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh, Santorum’s decisions have directly resulted in abortions in Pennsylvania and the world. (Thank God he didn’t succeed in getting pro-partial birth abortion Christine Todd Whitman elected who he didn’t just endorse – but campaigned for.)
With Santorum out, I won’t elaborate on his aiding the destruction of two other people’s marriage, but I’m trying to find out why it is fine for Rick Santorum to be a prochoice fornicator living out of wedlock with Karen for years, or why there is no outcry from the “moralists” against Mitt Romney trying to force the Boy Scouts private organization to incorporate homosexuality against their virtuous goals outlined for 100 years including a “duty to God.” Romney’s personal use of Executive Orders to force gay marriage on the state and the ensuing lies to falsely blame it on the the Massachusetts Supreme Court was enough for Moral Majority Founder Paul Weyrich to threaten a call for all conservatives to leave the GOP if McCain selected Romney as Vice President.
If social conservatives can overlook Romney’s complete moral destruction of a Christian organization and state, or Santorum’s destruction of someone ELSE’S marriage can we then look at the qualifications to actually perform in the office as President like (apparently) Sarah Palin can?
“What about Obama,” you say? It is true that Obama has a HUGE edge in women over Gingrich. But he also does over Romney. In fact, it’s more of a political party thing with an inbuilt 10% edge to Democrats for women and a 10% edge to Republicans for men.
And even though Gingrich won women in South Carolina, they abandoned him in droves in Florida. IT IS a problem and Gingrich supporters can be naive, or blind to it. Prior to the ABC/Marianne ambush, Gingrich didn’t trail Obama significantly compared to Romney, but did against women by over 18 points. (McCain trailed Obama by 13 points in 2008.) It’s clear that America no longer KNOWS Gingrich except by media generalizations, but then again neither did conservatives who shockingly bought the Romney lies that Gingrich was somehow “anti-Reagan.”
George Bush narrowed the Democrat advantage in women to 3 points against John Kerry, likely in large part by his Head Start and Medicare D support that made him seem more sympathetic to the “family security” image that plays among women. Despite non-stop liberal media messages that Newt was the “Gingrich that stole Christmas” in an era of nearly zero conservative media except Limbaugh, he STILL did quite well among women who agreed with his welfare reform and social security “safety net” campaigns despite what the RINOs want you to believe. At the end of the day, FINANCIAL SECURITY trumps personal distaste just as it did in Bill Clinton’s re-election DESPITE allegations of rape. In an odd way, Santorum likely would have been WORSE among women than Gingrich because of the media’s amplification of his truly strange historical comments.
I’ve never been convinced that social conservatives have themselves understood their underlying motivations against Gingrich since THEY are the ones that are supposed to understand repentance and forgiveness more than any other. I have always suspected it is a localized defense they place upon Gingrich as a surrogate for their own fear of betrayal, being exchanged for a younger wife, or weird control issue. The thought has come up more than once that if they approve of Gingrich as their candidate, aren’t they endorsing his past actions? Isn’t that the whole mantra of the Clinton years?
It is worth peeling back the layers in much more detail to understand if this is warranted in Newt’s case.
The Issue of Repentance
Theologians argue that Peter’s denial of Jesus was perhaps the worst sin possible short of blasphemy. Certainly the murders by Moses and Saul and the murder and adultery by King David in the Bible would not only disqualify them from leading a nation, but be God’s spokesman and leader of His people, right? The only difference between Peter and Judas – or King Saul and King David – was that of TRUE repentance.
While Romney lies about his positions, and Santorum makes fabricated excuses (like the Specter one), Gingrich owns his and publically repents for all to see. Not only have the Gingrich daughters’ exclaimed that their observation of their father over the past two decades proves he is a “changed man,” those who have known him and know those around him acknowledge it also.
…about 2-3 years ago Newt came on Dobson’s Focus on the Family program. James asked him about the affairs. Newt had a moment where instead of being the confident focused man he usually is, his voice became broken and sounded like he was almost on the verge of crying and said something like “There have been times in my life where I had no choice, but to get down on my knees and beg God to forgive the things I’ve done that I have trouble forgiving myself for.” Based on how that went, I find it extremely doubtful that anybody could fake that.
Let me just say it like it is. If you are truly offended by what you THINK happened in the Gingrich marriages, then you have some moral code – or - you are pretending outrage to help your “guy.” If your moral code is the Christian/Hebrew Bible (which includes Mormons), you are a hypocrite on two levels. First, our Most Holy God sadly sees ALL transgression as “missing the mark” (called “sin” for the religious folk.) Being a coward or lacking faith in God ON ANYTHING – is equivalent to murder according to Revelations. Second, if Gingrich has indeed repented, you are currently in “sin” by bringing up something God (and his family) has forgiven him for. If you don’t think God would and could use Newton Leroy Gingrich after repenting, you are the worst case of hypocrite misrepresenting the grace of the Messiah. And, you might as well rip out Leviticus, Exodus, Psalms, Kings and half of the Newt Testament – since they were all written by men who had done far worse than anything Gingrich has.
On this basis alone, Gingrich shows more character for being open about his failings, than both of the other candidates in my opinion. He certainly is more trustworthy with history, but then I guess we should expect that. Perhaps this is why Jerry Falwell, Mat Staver, Don Wildmon, Tim LaHaye and his wife Concerned Women for America Founder, Beverly LaHaye endorsed Gingrich having known him for years. These aren’t just “average” evangelical leaders but what the left would consider “Attila the Hun” types would boycott Mickey Mouse if he wore pink.
I will also note that Virginia Governor, Mitt Romney supporter and Pat Robertson University (Regent) defended Gingrich against attacks regarding marital issues. It fits with the late Moral Majority/Heritage Foundation Paul Weyrich’s view that these issues didn’t disqualify him. It is also significant (to me at least) that the self-appointed defender of his father’s legacy, Michael Reagan, didn’t see this as a disqualification although he had earlier supposed he would not endorse a specific candidate.
I’ve complained about Sarah Palin’s endorsement process with Gingrich (if she had just gone “all in” at South Carolina and campaigned with Gingrich in Florida, Rick would never have gotten off the ground in my opinion), but can you find anyone that social conservatives think is MORE on their wavelength than her? Obviously she didn’t think it was a big enough factor not only to prop him in South Carolina, but to personally vote for him in Alaska.
He has gotten numerous endorsements from women legislators at the state level including Monica Rodriguez, Debra Mayfield, Sharon Cooper, and Iowa Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer to name (truly) just a few.
The First Wife
The old saying that you have no right to judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes has certainly proven true in my life. I remember castigating a man going through a divorce when I was a young Christian, and wished I could find him to apologize after my own.
Gingrich wasn’t raised in a Christian home (or a stable one) and was on the frontlines of the sexual revolution and all the chaos of the ‘60’s. As an army brat, it was hard for him to form any kind of long term relationships. As a sixteen year old he began an affair with his geometry teacher – the first future Mrs. Gingrich. Do you blame a confused teenager going through puberty, or the adult in a position of authority?
Mary Kay Letourneau Gingrich (aka/ “Jackie”) married Gingrich after he left high school and they had two children. It’s noteworthy to me that instead of just “shacking up” (which was the vogue at the time) he actually WANTED to have a family. While he started out as an admittedly liberal Republican, family life and observation changed his views. His professorial days were people that held liberal and “relativistic” views. Despite the biblical proverb you become like the people you surround yourself with, he DID have an 18 year marriage with Jackie.
To hear some tell it, she wasn’t very supportive of his vision or calling.
in the case of his first marriage many of Newt’s relatives, friends, and even parents were rooting for the marriage fail because they really didn’t like her.
I’m quite impressed in going back through articles when the dominant liberal press was out to stop him, Gingrich NEVER would attack his previous wives, or even lobby to correct blatantly false stories including the ridiculous Mother Jones article which Gingrich’s own daughter thoroughly debunked. Jackie had asked for a divorce 2 months prior to minor surgery on a tiny malignancy, and Gingrich and the daughters were only there for moral support to begin with. Is it possible she wanted to continue the marriage and never told Gingrich, but built it up in her mind and later leaked it to the press to hurt him? Naw, we all know spurned women AND MEN in divorce situations always act rational and maturely, right? But it is the testimony of two witnesses against unsourced and unsubstantiated reporting.
I don’t mean to whitewash Gingrich’s past. But not being taught the bible at home, and not being raised in a strong moral family, why are we so shocked he sought companionship of an older woman and had affairs? Isn’t this what society was pushing at the time – sexual liberation? And if he was such a terrible man, how is it that he turned out two God-fearing daughters that love the Lord and STILL are close to their father? The value to me is that Gingrich FINALLY figured out not only how important family is, but God. And in the past decade plus he has risked the label of “hypocrite” by daring to tell others to learn from his mistakes.
I think it is also remarkable that both daughters from this first marriage are not just supportive of their father, they attack any negative image of him being anything other than a great father.
The Gingrich girls talk about home life with Newt during the first marriage:
And then along came Marianne. Who, according to court documents, STARTED the affair. I will say this, I know MANY men who have unsupportive wives who disrespect and subvert their dreams for years, and who suddenly find a female who encourages and tells them they are men, often find it impossible emotionally to resist something they’ve longed for so long. I am NOT condoning it by any means, but it is a far cry from the image of a sexual predator looking for unsuspecting women that was falsely started by the liberal rag, Mother Jones, now discredited.
By all accounts Marianne Gingrich was well connected, slick and certainly had no qualms about breaking up the Gingrich marriage. It also turns out Newt did not get the “greener grass.” Consider:
- Other congressional wives knew her to be “unhinged” and “unstable.”
- Marianne attempted to bring an arms dealer into her husbands office.
- Marianne called Newt on his birthday in 1987 to tell him she HAD LEFT (already).
- Marianne took EVERYTHING out of the house and left Newt with nothing except a guest bed and a TV.
- Marianne was separated for six years, from her husband.
- They reconciled right after Gingrich was to become Speaker.
After observing the class she exhibited in her ABC interview, anyone want to speculate why she waited until AFTER her husband became Speaker to reunite?
Bottom line from “Gopher’s” wife, Catherine Mann-Grandy:
One former associate of Marianne Gingrich, former congressional wife Catherine Mann-Grandy, told Whispers that the speaker's second wife was often rude, loud and unreasonable, and she doubted her story about the open marriage.
Citing a code among congressional wives, Mann-Grandy said, "We pretty much kept our lips closed, but Marianne was emotionally unstable and I particularly felt that she was obstreperous and rude."
She described Gingrich's ex-wife as "outrageous, she is headline grabbing, she has always been that kind of person...we all have character flaws, but at this moment for her to choose this and to say these things about an open marriage, I mean, hello. I mean first of all, she's probably making it all up. It's he said, she said, but he doesn't get to say, just she gets to say."
Mann-Grandy said she hopes Americans dismiss Marianne Gingrich as a loose cannon. "What I'm hoping is that the Americans who watch this, the patriots who watch this, will look at this and say, 'OK, this is a woman who is angry, seems unstable, a little unhinged,' because that was her rep."
So is it ok for a wife to try and sabotage the 3rd most powerful officeholder in America? Is it ok to sabotage his life until he actually gains power, and then try and profit from it and put him (and the country) at risk by associating him with an arms dealer?
Did Gingrich divorce her immediately? NO. Did he refuse to take her back even after (what seems to me to be) an obvious power play to profit from his Speakership that she resisted? NO.
Until you walk a few miles in Leroy’s loaded loafers, I’d think before calling his entire character into question. Look, Santorum couldn’t even stay true to his prolife principles in CAMPAIGNING for (and clapping for) people who believed in partial birth abortion. As much as I love Allen West and Paul Ryan, they couldn’t even stand up to personal pressure and hold the line with Jim DeMint on a BUDGET battle! Why do we think pressures and emotions on the most vulnerable part of our life – our emotions and relationships – are expected to be impervious?
It does seem that he asked Calista to marry him before his previous divorce to Marianne was final. Just as Marianne had seemed to coerce him into doing against Jackie. As you sow, so shall you reap I suppose. Gingrich refused to participate in the discovery process during the divorce but eventually stated that he and Jackie had an understanding. I suspect it was that Jackie could enjoy the privileges of being the Speaker’s wife without the obligation of marriage. At least, that story fits her actions from the six year separation and sudden return at his promotion as Speaker.
In reality, the man suffered betrayal by his own party which he (nearly single handedly) put in power, suffered a terrorizing first marriage, an “unhinged” jezebel gold digger opportunist pushing him into the death of his first marriage and then trying to sabotage his personal life by giving him no stability at home.
Do you realize what this man did for the country and for the conservative movement while he was dealing with this? The more amazing fact is WITH (seemingly) loving, caring and supportive wives, Santorum and Romney couldn’t do more while in power.
Didn’t we just hear Santorum admit his wife told him not to support Specter but he did anyway? Why aren’t we mad he didn’t listen to his wife? Or that his OWN instinct wasn’t sharp enough to know that on his own? Will Karen secretly be holding up major decisions in the White House? Give me a man who can succeed DESPITE a “help meet” who is a saboteur than a man who can’t even succeed with one.
Again, I reiterate what Gingrich did in his affairs was inexcusable. Certainly his public votes, actions and speeches AFFIRMED traditional families as Beverly LaHaye and even Jerry Falwell testified. I will say this:
I would NOT support Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney if I thought he had not truly repented and stabilized his life.
What do we discern from all this? Gingrich has had a very tumultuous personal life with strong evidence it was not even mostly his fault. He didn’t ditch his marriage even after what she did to HIM and even tried to make it work with a clearly volatile woman. He’s had the decency to not dwell on it in public or trash her.
As you see the Gingrich daughters adore Calista and family friends confirm they have a very close relationship. Apparently, Newt’s relatives, friends and parents all love Calista. The same person continued:
I can say that from sources close to the family he does really love Callista, and that she is a big part of his life today.
I don’t personally know the Gingriches, but I certainly know a lot about the character of those that have enthusiastically endorsed him. Rick Perry spent an enormous amount of time with him on the campaign trail. I don’t know the current total, but earlier this year Gingrich’s endorsements had the highest combined American Conservative Union rating of the candidates. Gingrich consistently wins the Tea Party straw polls in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and elsewhere. He is getting this support because some conservative talk show host likes him. It’s because he has CONSISTENTLY been pushing the Tea Party movement since it’s inception. And even before.
Having extensively researched all the candidates on PolitiJim, I don’t find any of the blatant character issues I see in Santorum or Romney on policies that were actually put into law when they had political power.
And for me - there is the rub. Would you rather have a leader who has shown consistency of balancing the budget, cutting government spending and growing the conservative movement WHILE ACTUALLY IN OFFICE, or one who simply TALKS ABOUT HOW HE WILL when he isn’t?
For me, I’ll trust a candidate who has the fortitude to admit his mistakes and change, rather than those who pretend or argue away theirs.
Regardless, it is time for social conservatives to grow up and quit merely hoping for a Pope as a President, and rationally select someone who has demonstrated electability not just of himself, but an entire movement while in power (rather than someone who WEAKENED his party while in office).
Someone who fought against the GOP establishment when it wasn’t popular to do so, and could have cost him his political career.
Someone who stood up and testified before Congress against Cap and Trade, ObamaCare, and TARP rather than giving conflicting statements every 2 weeks.
That is character also. Exhibited consistently for over thirty years.
For more research on Romney and Gingrich see:
- Stats of Actual Performance IN OFFICE between Newt and Mitt.
- Comparison of objective perspectives on ELECTABILITY.
- Comparison of objective perspectives on ELECTING OTHERS and GOVERNING.
- Why Moral Majority/Heritage Foundation Founder would LEAVE the GOP if Romney was nominated. (And what he thought of Gingrich.)
- Why a Romney Presidency would be WORSE for conservatives economically.