The good news in the Republican clown show masquerading as a presidential primary is Rick Perry is dropping out. The bad news is he endorsed Newt Gingrich, advocate for making poor children janitors, and according to Marianne Gingrich (wife #2) someone who believes “open marriage”.
I’m not going to mince words. “Open marriage” amounts to claiming commitment to one person, while dogging around with one or more others. In religious circles, dogging around with other people is called adultery. So let’s get passed the euphemisms. Newt Gingrich expected his previous wife to condone adultery. She wouldn’t do it, so Newt moved on to Callista.
One can argue that a politician’s private life is and should be private. Normally, I would agree with that sentiment. The problem is this particular politician asserts that the constitution should define marriage as between a man and a woman. Not a man, his mistress and a woman. Moreover, he’s a serial adulterer. It’s as if for all his talk about marriage, Newt’s the kind of guy who recites his vows while having his fingers crossed behind his back. That’s a character issue. If someone has a questionable ability to commit to marriage vows, what does that say about his ability to commit to things like upholding the constitution?
Newt had adulterous affairs in both of his previous marriages. Perhaps he has reformed, or perhaps as he told Marianne, Callista is totally cool with open marriage. Maybe she was cool with it when she was the mistress, but applies a different standard now that she is the person who Newt would be unfaithful to.
Given Gingrich’s pride in how closed minded he is I’m surprised to see that he believes in open anything. Yet, if we look at the conservative attitude toward women, this should have been obvious.
As Michele Bachmann put it, a woman is supposed to submit to their husband. If one has the misfortune or lack of grey matter to marry someone like Newt, then she must overlook the infidelity – not to mention the risk of social diseases. Boys will be boys. If the boy’s affair is made public, then the dutiful wife must stand by her man during the mea culpa press conference.
Of course, Newt is doing all he can to redeem himself, after blaming patriotism for his previous infidelities.
“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.
I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there’s a forgiving God.
Somebody once said that when we’re young, we seek justice, but as we get older, we seek mercy. There’s something to that, I think. I feel that I’m now 67 I’m a grandfather. I have two wonderful grandchildren. I have two wonderful daughters and two great sons in law.”
Callista and I have a great marriage. I think that I’ve learned an immense amount. And I do feel, in that sense, that God has given me, has blessed me with an opportunity as a person. Forget about all this political stuff. As a person, I’ve had the opportunity to have a wonderful life, to find myself now, truly enjoying the depths of my life in ways that I never dreamed it was possible to have a life that was that nice.
Though, I will give Newt some credit. At least he didn’t pull a John Ensign, running to his mommy and daddy to pay off the mistress to keep quiet.
However, his response to the question during the most recent GOP debate tells us much more about Newt than about his philosophy on marriage. Rather than addressing the question, he used the classic conservative tactic of attacking the media. Let’s get this straight. Newt was the serious adulterer. Newt is the guy who blamed patriotism for his infidelity. Assuming Mariane’s account of Newt’s attitude toward marriage is true, this presidential candidate has a problem with the truth and with accepting responsibility for his own actions.
Blame the media all you want, Mr. Gingrich. Character is an issue. Blaming others for your conduct is one of the many reasons that you are not presidential material.
Image from joshuapundit.