The Agony of Newt Gingrich

I’ll never forget the moment.  It was very late on election night in November, 1994, and I was at a friend’s house transfixed by election coverage.  The Republicans had done it.  Led by Newt Gingrich, the combative Georgia congressman, they had ended decades of Democratic dominance in the House, they were taking the Senate, and Bill Clinton was on the ropes.

Here was the triumph, recorded for posterity on YouTube:

This was the “Republican Revolution,” the moment when the party — demoralized by defeat in 1992 — was reborn, when the grassroots conservative movement cultivated by Ronald Reagan finally achieved dominance. We were sure our best days were ahead. Gingrich would confront the hated Bill Clinton (people forget how much conservatives loathed Bill Clinton) and our brilliant champion would win the day. Victories in Congress would be followed by victory two years later, and Reagan’s vision of a conservative America would finally be realized. It was a great night.

Sadly, it was also our best night. What followed was perhaps the most agonizing slow-motion train wreck of my political life.

Our champion walked into the arena, faced off against Bill Clinton, and was crushed. For those with long political memories, the stories are well-known:

-Gingrich shut down the government partially because he was annoyed at his seating on Air Force One . . . and admitted it to the press.

-He was the first sitting Speaker reprimanded for ethics violations, with the vast majority of Republicans voting against him.

-Even before Clinton’s resounding re-election, Gingrich was arguably the least-liked politician in the entire country, with only 9% of (yes, you read that correctly, nine percent) of Americans wanting him to become president and 49% calling him “scary.”  By 1997, his approval rating was a dismal 25%.  He became known as the “nation’s most unpopular politician.”

-Even as Bill Clinton was being impeached, Newt Gingrich was carrying on an affair (and not his first), an affair he carried on for years before ending his second marriage, a marriage that was also born in an affair.

-Despite being an open secret in Washington, Gingrich didn’t publicly admit his affair until 2007, almost a full decade later, as he mulled a presidential run.

-He endured revolts against his leadership, including revolts led by some of the House’s leading conservatives.

-He finally resigned in disgrace in 1998 even as his nemesis, Bill Clinton, continued to enjoy shockingly high approval ratings.

-When George Bush emerged in 1999 with his “compassionate conservative” message, it was consciously designed to distance Republicans from the Gingrich era. He couldn’t ride the wave of the Republican Revolution; the wave had already crashed.

To be sure, Gingrich did have some significant accomplishments.  Welfare reform was critical, and the federal government did grow at a slower rate, so our massive tech-fueled economic boom took us to a short-lived surplus.  But can he take more credit for these things than Bill Clinton?  The economy of the 1990s was no more the “Gingrich boom” than our current economy represents the “Boehner stagnation.”

As we look at these facts, I must confess that I’m amused when fellow conservatives state with absolute certainty that Newt Gingrich will somehow dominate Barack Obama in debates and on the campaign trail.  Really?  After all, Barack Obama is the only politician in America to have defeated the Clinton machine, and his campaign often reduced Bill himself — one of the most gifted politicians of my lifetime — to sputtering, impotent rage.

I’m much less amused by growing evangelical support for Gingrich.  Yes, he’s pro-life, but so is every single Republican in the race (it may be the only issue they all agree on).  But what about the three marriages?  The serial affairs?  The ethics reprimand?  And let’s not forget about humility.  Newt Gingrich may well have the most transparent self-regard of any leading politician in America.  I have a serious question: If evangelicals choose to reject numerous alternatives and wrap both arms around a serial philandering, hopelessly grandiose politician, then what is our distinctive witness in this process?  Do we have one?

Yes, I understand repentance.  By all accounts, his conversion to Catholicism has been genuine and positive.  But do we want to look at that past and nominate a man to the presidency just trusting that our nation’s highest office — the most powerful and consequential political office in the world — will be his first scandal-free government post?

I remember the thrill of victory in November, 1994. I also remember the agony of defeat in the years that followed and lasting consequences of those losses. It’s an experience I do not want to repeat.

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Larry

    Gee whiz David, that read like the liberal diatribes nestled in the pages of the Washington Post or the Times or some similarly untrustworthy publication. It lacks context (within which you would necessarily list the unremitting assault by the liberal media in which lies and distortion crafted an image horribly at odds with reality … and in the absence of the internet on the level we now enjoy), its distorting, and it lacks balance and accuracy.

    For some needed balance it would be helpful to hear from Mr. Blankley, who worked closely with Newt during the historic Republican takeover which Newt organized and spearheaded).

    Is this what happens to the truth when certain Republicans find their candidate opposed? As to an evangelical witness … apart from the unhelpful and inaccurate appraisals of Mormonism you’ve offered (in support of Mitt), the verbal thrashings you’ve meted out to any evangelicals who’ve expressed concern over the claims of Mormonism … what witness do you offer when you so cavalierly dismiss the claims of redemption in a man’s life?

    If you can’t persuade others to support Mitt … do you instead labor (with something less than accuracy) to destroy his opponents? Does your candidate enjoy so little appeal that your chief strategy now is to simply to assure that he’s the last man standing? This is honorable? This is courageous?

  • Lance in TX

    You state that David has made “unhelpful and inaccurate appraisals of Mormonism”… Actually, as an LDS person myself, I feel that David has done a pretty good job of expressing the our LDS beliefs even though he does not believe in them. I think he has been very fair.

    Do you care to state what he has said that is inaccurate and why you believe it is inaccurate?

    Can you stand by Newt and his failed values? Can you stand by someone that has committed adultry 2 times? Has ethics violations? These are documented. Newt has many other issues that are very well documented.

    Is your statement against Mitt only because of his religion? Is it because of his “flip-flops” but you can stand by Newt or the other condidates with theirs? (Mitt’s “flip-flops” are really “flips” because he has not changed back)

  • Larry

    No Lance, I cannot … or more precisely will not offer a recap of our discussion regarding LDS. They are available, however, in David’s archives. The discussions were relatively detailed … if you look them up you’ll find an answer to your question. As an “LDS person” I would assume that you’d find David’s take acceptable.

    As to Newt and adultery. Well, if I find the concept of redemption compelling then, yes, I can stand beside Newt. As a pastor I’ve stood beside such men. Indeed, I’ve stood beside men guilty of far worse who’ve also found forgiveness in Christ.

    Newt ‘s ethics violations? David Bonior (a very liberal member of Congress who would later find himself named in an indictment) brought 75 ethics charges against Newt Gingrich. 74 were dismissed (lacking merit). A single charge, that he “may have” violated tax code when he used tax-deductible contributions (from NPOs) when teaching what was misleadingly referred to as a ”partisan” college course (“Renewing American Civilization”).

    An additional charge was then lodged when the committee insisted that Newt had provided false information to the committee. The false information? Newt testified that the contributions had been provided by those same NPOs to “Renewing American Civilization”. Newt had revealed this in papers he had previously filed (in compliance with House rules).

    However, a single filing by one of his attorney’s stated that the NPO’s did not provide the funding. This the committee seized upon as an attempt at fraud. This despite all of the other filings.

    Furthermore, the IRS, in its ruling, stated that no fraud had occurred. The entire episode was a testament to the hypocrisy, spinelessness and corruption of Washington … not to an ethical lapse in Newt’s conduct.

    This is the sort of misleading and imbalanced “journalism” I was referring to regarding David’s editorial.

    “Is your statement against Mitt only because of his religion?” I’ve stated nowhere that Mitt’s religion disqualifies him from office. Indeed, I’ve stated forthrightly otherwise. Try to stick with what I’ve actually stated, eh?

    Mitt’s flip flops are more egregious because they represent positions of convenience not an evolving philosophy. Worse, however, is Mitt’s miserable record as governor. Dragged out in to the light and free of the support offered by clever rhetorical sleight of hand … it is an unmitigated disaster.

    So bad, in fact, the citizens of Massachusetts appeared unwilling to return him for a second term, his party was left in shambles (suffering losses in the next election) and his state ranked second among states whose citizens were forced to leave their state in search of employment. Unemployment was 4.7%. Not bad you say? It was among the nation’s worst.

    The economy was growing nationally, but remained sluggish in Massachusetts where Mr. Romney’s policies left the businessman yearning for the day he would leave.

    It is Mitt’s record coupled with his unprincipled flip flops that leave a growing majority of Republicans unwilling to offer a Mitt a chance to do for America what he did for Massachusetts.

  • David French

    Larry, missing from your synopsis is the pesky (but relevant) fact that Newt admitted he violated House rules back in 1997. And that he provided “inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable” to the ethics committee. Hardly the model we want.

    As for your contrast between Mitt’s changes of positions and Newt’s (one being a matter of convenience the other a matter of “evolving philosophy”) and your seeming window into both men’s souls, all I can say is that you must know those guys better than I do.

  • Larry

    No David, I have not insisted anything like that, in fact, I seem to recall that it is your personal acquaintance with Mitt which was provided to lend credence to your argument. Yes?

    Newt stated “I was overconfident, and in some ways, naive,” a chastened Gingrich said in a statement that admitted wrongdoing but still attempted to reduce personal blame. “I did not seek legal counsel when I should have in order to ensure clear compliance with all applicable laws, and that was wrong. Because I did not, I brought down on the people’s House a controversy which could weaken the faith people have in their government.”

    In addition, Gingrich said in his statement: “In my name and over my signature, inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable statements were given to [the] committee, but I did not intend to mislead the committee.”

    I don’t know anyone who believes Gingrich anything but flawed. He is also, clearly, a far more capable and conservative leader than Mitt Romney.

    What I find off putting are attempts to smear Gingrich in the fashion of deceptive and maligning left wing publications. We should expect better of conservatives.

  • Lance in TX

    I know a lot of people here are not LDS and do not share our view that the US of A is a land that was consecrated by our Heavenly Father and founded by the founding fathers through inspiration from our Heavenly Father.
    I believe that the US of A will remain intact as long as we, the people, continue to turn to God for guidance. This is similar to the promises made to the Jews about Israel. I believe that 2008 election was a test for our country to see if we, as a country, could pick a righteous leader. I read about tests like this all through the Book of Mormon where the Nephites and Lamanites are tested over and over again to see if they can follow Christ’s teachings. (I wish more people on here would learn what we know, but that is for another discussion)
    In 2008, we as a country failed by electing Obama. This is similar to what was happening in Nineva when the Prophet was sent to tell them to change their ways and they did not. We also believe that 2012 will be a final test to see if we as a country continue to choose unrighteous leaders. I fear for this country if we do. Nineva was saved from destruction when they did turn back to God. Israel was saved during the Six Days War when they turned to God. Will this country choose someone that is set to destroy the country and will not stand by Isreal? Will this country choose someone that has committed adultery multiple times, can be bought by whomever has deep pockets for lobby money, has been convicted by his peers of ethics violations? Or will this country choose someone that stands by and for the values that Christ espoused and has stood by his covenants with his wife, family, and God?
    We believe this will be a great test for this country, and I am afraid that the wrong choice is being made by many people because of greed, a lack of humility, self-righteousness, and bigotry.
    I pray that the country will choose correctly.

  • ccr

    ” We also believe that 2012 will be a final test to see if we as a country continue to choose unrighteous leaders.”

    Lance, not sure where you get the “We also believe…..” part. YOU might believe that. Others you talk to might believe that. BUT……….”WE” as LDS have no such belief. That is NOT a statement of belief from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Period.

    I, personally, do think that we are getting close to the “point of no return” with the economic situation. That’s why we can’t afford a “novice” at economics, a person undisciplined in multiple aspects of one’s life including economics. We need a frugal, disciplined, experienced leader in the WH.


    Nice article, David! Thank you and your wife for all you do to help elect Gov. Romney to be our next POTUS! I think that a lot of people, who support Newt Gingrich, don’t know a lot about him! Here’s a link I think you and your readers might find informative: Also, I would love it if you and your wife would come and blog at THE (the congressional news-site) to make your case for Mitt, from an evangelical stand-point….if you have the time that is! Anyway, love you guys!!! :) GOD BLESS…Renee, catholic from Oklahoma City.

  • Larry

    Renee, I do not wish to see Mitt Romany become our Party’s nominee. But I would not stoop to posting from websites which lack credible information, or worse publish outright lies to undermine his candidacy.

    You have done precisely that and worse, closed with a cheery “God Bless”. The contradiction is glaring and not a little embarrassing. If you’re going to comment on the candidates, do your homework and exercise some prudence please.

  • Hannah Rebekah

    Larry, I do wish to see Mitt Romany become our Party’s nominee. Just wondering if you would stoop to posting from websites about Mormons which lack credible information, or worse publish outright lies to undermine their true beliefs.

    Maybe you have done precisely that and worse, and then closed with a cheery “God Bless”. If you’re going to comment on the another person’s religion, do your homework and exercise some prudence please…and don’t bear false witness. Religious bigotry is ugly and un-American.

  • Larry

    Hannah, Romney’s embrace of Mormonism means nothing to me with regard to his candidacy. I’ve written precisely that elsewhere.

    I do find real problems with Mormonism itself, but have never regarded it as problematic for Mitt. Nor have I condemned those who have found reason to question Mitt’s judgement regarding his embrace of Mormonism.

    If I did wish to post from a website which concerned itself with the errors of LDS I would carefully source it and make certain that it addressed itself to concerns in a respectful manner.

    I’ve have researched the claims for LDS … for many years beginning more than 25 years ago. To identify error is not religious bigotry … it is in fact the duty of a believer to qualify his beliefs through scripture.

    If I fail to index any claims regarding truth against the immutable standard of scripture then I’ve unwittingly exposed myself to the myriad threats that ignorance might impose.

  • americanfirst

    Larry – Here is a comprehensive list of all the reasons to oppose Newt Gingrich. Since you are so compelled to comment on the candidates w/ authority, I though I’d help you do your homework in the hopes that you can approach the matter with even greater prudence please.
    let us just hope you’re research on other faiths is better than your research on Newt Gingrich.

    Newt Gingrich is a political chameleon that has inexplicably managed to fool conservatives for 30 years. He is a globalist to the bone and supports every opportunity to erode American sovereignty and the constitution. He disguises his statist positions with an abundance of flip-flopping and pandering as needed. He has a long history of expanding the Federal Government and deficit spending. He is the very definition of an Establishment Insider.

    – Voted for the creation of the Federal Dept. of Education in 1979 under Jimmy Carter.
    – Voted for NAFTA, a blatant circumvention of Congress’ exclusive power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Took power from American people and put it into the hands of unelected Binational panels, made mostly of foreigners.
    – Supported GATT
    – Supported WTO
    – Supported the National Endowment for the Arts;
    – Big supporter of Foreign Aid — even to Soviets through the Export-Import Bank.
    – In one year (1994-1995) Gingrich voted for nearly $45 billion in foreign aid.
    – He helped push through Federally-funded loan guarantees to Communist China.
    – He voted to raise the debt ceiling four times (one, two, three, and four).
    – Urged the House to repeal the War Powers Act and give the Presidency more power.
    – He was a draft-deferrer during Vietnam, yet pushed aggressive foreign interventionism his entire political career, and did say that Vietnam was the “right battlefield at the right time.”
    – Urged Clinton to expand military presence in Bosnia.
    – Supports Afghan War
    – Supports Iraq War
    – Supports Libyan War
    – Calls for Iran War
    – Supported Clinton’s welfare programs, education programs, labor programs, and environmental programs, as well as most of his foreign affairs programs.
    – Supported spending $30B for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that shackled gun owners with new restrictions, federalized a number of crimes, and handed the feds police powers that the Constitution reserves to the states.
    – Voted to give billions of dollars to United Nations “peacekeeping” operations;
    – Pushed for a School Prayer Amendment
    – Worked on the Rockefeller presidential campaign in 1968.
    – Mentored by Henry Kissinger
    – Bailed out savings and loan institutions in 1991. $40B Bank bailout
    – He cheated on one of his wives while she was suffering from cancer, delivered divorce papers to her in the hospital.
    – Card-Carrying member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a globalist think tank
    – “Distinguished member” of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (neocon, pro-interventionism group)
    – Member of Bohemian Club (secret society)
    – Member of the World Future Society (globalist group)

    05/04/1979 – He voted for a federal land grab that put tens of millions of acres of land in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.
    09/20/1979 – He voted to raise the debt ceiling for the first time.
    09/27/1979 – He voted to establish the Federal Department of Education.
    06/04/1980 – He voted to raise the debt ceiling for the second time.
    02/05/1981 – He voted to raise the debt ceiling for the third time.
    06/28/1984 – He voted to raise the debt ceiling for the fourth time.
    04/02/1987 – He cosponsored the 1987 Fairness Doctrine (anti 1st Amendment legislation)
    10/22/1991 – He voted for an amendment that would create a National Police Corps.
    03/–/1993 – He was “passionately in favor” of sending $1.6 Billion in foreign aid to Russia.
    11/19/1993 – He voted for the NAFTA Implementation Act.
    11/27/1994 – He supported the GATT Treaty giving sovereignty to the U.N.
    12/25/1994 – He was quoted as saying that his wife was “not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer.”
    04/10/1995 – He supported Federal taxdollars being spent on abortions.
    06/–/1995 – He wrote the foreword to a book about tearing down the U.S. Constitution and implementing a Fascist World Government.
    08/27/1995 – He suggests that drug smuggling should carry a death sentence.
    01/06/1996 – He himself conceived a secret CIA mission to topple the Iranian leadership.
    04/18/1996 – He voted for Federal restrictions on laser sighting devices.
    04/25/1996 – Voted for the single largest increase on Federal education spending ($3.5 Billion)
    06/01/1996 – He helped a Democrat switch parties in an attempt to defeat constitutionalist Ron Paul in the 1996 election.
    09/16/1996 – He voted for the anti-gun Brady Campaign’s Lautenberg Gun Ban, which took away gun rights for people involved in certain misdemeanors.
    09/25/1996 – Introduced H.R. 4170, demanded life-sentence or execution for someone bringing 2 ounces of marijuana across the border.
    09/28/1996 – He voted for the “Gun Free School Zones Act” which resulted in schools being easier targets for shooters, and disarming law-abiding citizens.
    –/–/1996 – He earned a “D” rating from the Gun Owners of America.
    01/22/1997 – Congress gave him a record-setting $300,000 fine for ethical wrongdoing.
    11/05/1998 – He resigned from his House seat three days after being elected to his 11th term.
    11/29/2006 – He said that free speech should be curtailed in order to fight terrorism. Wants to stop terrorists from using the internet. Called for a “serious debate about the 1st Amendment.”
    11/29/2006 – He called for a “Geneva Convention for terrorists” so it would be clear who the Constitution need not apply to.
    02/15/2007 – He supported Bush’s proposal for mandatory carbon caps.
    04/04/2007 – He says that there should be a clear distinction about what weapons should be reserved for only for the military.
    05/20/2007 – He would bypass the court system by establishing a “military tribunal system to lock people up the way Abraham Lincoln would’ve done it.”
    05/20/2007 – He would “establish a nationwide ID card with biometrics so you can actually track everybody in the country.”
    04/17/2008 – Made a commercial (see below) with Nancy Pelosi on Climate Change.
    04/28/2008 – He said that allow some terror to happen, to keep the people afraid.
    04/28/2008 – He wants yet another new Federal agency to be “very aggressive” against “terrorists” and have “extraordinary abilities” that are not restricted by the constitution.
    09/28/2008 – Says if he were in office, he would have reluctantly voted for the $700B TARP bailout.
    10/01/2008 – Says in an article that TARP was a “workout, not a bailout.”
    12/08/2008 – He was paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac to halt Congress from bringing necessary reform.
    03/31/2009 – Says we should have Singapore-style drug tests for Americans.
    10/16/2009 – He angered conservatives by endorsing super-liberal Dede Scozzafava.
    07/30/2010 – Says that Iraq was just step one in defeating the “Axis of Evil”.
    08/03/2010 – Advocates attacks on Iran & North Korea.
    08/16/2010 – Opposes property rights of the mosque owner in NYC.
    08/16/2010 – Compares mosque supporters to Nazis
    11/15/2010 – He defended Romneycare; blamed liberals
    12/02/2010 – He advocates a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.
    12/05/2010 – He said that a website owner should be considered an enemy combatant, hunted down and executed, for publishing leaked government memos.
    01/30/2011 – He lobbied for ethanol subsidies.
    01/30/2011 – He suggested that flex-fuel vehicles be mandated for Americans.
    02/02/2011 – He says we are “losing the War on Terror”; the conflict will be as long as the Cold War
    02/10/2011 – He wants to replace the EPA instead of abolishing it.
    02/13/2011 – He criticized Obama for sending less U.S. taxdollars to Egypt.
    02/15/2011 – His book said that he believes man-made climate-change and advocated creating “a new endowment for conservation and the environment.”
    03/09/2011 – He blames his infidelity to multiple wives on his passion for the country.
    03/15/2011 – Says that NAFTA worked because it created jobs in Mexico.
    03/19/2011 – He has no regrets about supporting Medicare drug coverage. (Now $7.2T unfunded liability)
    03/23/2011 – He completely flip-flopped on Libyan intervention in 16 days.
    03/25/2011 – He plans to sign as many as 200 executive orders on his first day as president.
    03/27/2011 – He says that America is under attack by atheist Islamists.
    04/25/2011 – He’s a paid lobbyist for Federal ethanol subsidies.
    05/11/2011 – His campaign video (see below) said that he wants to “find solutions together, and insist on imposing those solutions on those who do not want to change.”
    05/12/2011 – He was more supportive of individual health-care mandates than Mitt Romney.
    05/15/2011 – Said GOP’s plan to cut back Medicare was “too big a jump.”
    05/15/2011 – He backed Obama’s individual mandate; “All of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care.”
    05/16/2011 – He also endorsed individual mandates in 1993 when Clinton pushed Universal Health Care.
    05/17/2011 – He has an outstanding debt to Tiffany’s Jewelry of between $250K – $500K.
    06/09/2011 – His own campaign staff resigned en masse.
    07/15/2011 – His poorly managed campaign is over $1 Million in debt.
    08/01/2011 – He hired a company to create fake Twitter to appear as if he had a following.
    08/11/2011 – His recent criticism of the United Nations is United Nations by a long, long history of supporting it.
    09/27/2011 – He says that he “helped develop the model for Homeland Security”
    10/07/2011 – He said he’d ignore the Supreme Court if need be.
    11/19/2011 – He said Barney Frank should be arrested for his close ties lobbying for Freddie Mac, just one month before it became public that Gingrich was also lobbying for them at the same time.
    11/20/2011 – He has been outed as a paid lobbyist for drug companies, but he still denies it.
    11/22/2011 – He supports the Patriot Act and would like to see it strengthened.
    11/22/2011 – He says that matters of National Security should not be encumbered by giving Due Process to the accused.
    11/28/2011 – He is a Pharmaceutical lobbyist, and coincidentally thinks that non-Pharma drugs like medical marijuana should be banned by the Federal government.
    11/28/2011 – He said he wants to be “aggressive” with Cuba topple their government before 2014.
    11/28/2011 – He praised draconian drug penalties in Singapore for the second time.

    The Grinch Who Stole Conservatism
    Newt World Order Gingrich supported GATT, NAFTA and WTO while in Congress
    Gingrich, Toffler, and Gore: A Peculiar Trio
    Newt’s Contract with the Earth: Pseudo-Science, Big Government
    Newt Gingrich: The Establishment’s Conservative
    Newt Gingrich: The “Anti-Romney” or the “Other Romney”?
    Slideshow: The Many Flip-Flops of Newt Gingrich
    ‘Newt’worthy or Not? Is Newt Gingrich the Best Candidate for President in the Republican Primary?
    Good Newt, Bad Newt
    Newt Gingrich and his Record
    Newt Gingrich, Drug Warrior Extraordinaire
    Ron Paul’s sincerity versus Newt Gingrich’s hypocrisy
    Newt Gingrich on Guns: A Mixed Record
    Club For Growth’s Presidential White Paper #1: Newt Gingrich
    Third Way Contract: Gingrich & Toffler

    “The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.” – Newt Gingrich

    “[O]ur government, at all levels, must be modernized to successfully partner, let alone compete, with the private sector.” — Newt Gingrich, A Contract with the Earth (p.196)

    “The U.S. government operates endowments for the humanities and the arts…Perhaps, it is time we consider a new endowment for conservation and the environment.” — Newt Gingrich, A Contract with the Earth (pp. 115-116)

    “We agree that there is plenty of evidence that global climate change is occurring…While humanity is certainly causing its fair share of the change, scientists are still not able to precisely pinpoint the extent of the change, or the margin of error in their estimates.” — Newt Gingrich, A Contract with the Earth (p. 200)

    “In spite of the demonstrated liberal leanings in academia, we have nothing but respect for the nation’s scientists. They represent America’s best hope to protect the environment. We support a dramatic increase in science and technology research and development because we desperately need to understand global climate change and other environmental phenomena.” — Newt Gingrich, A Contract with the Earth (p. 201)

    “If you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, it is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children. I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.” — Newt Gingrich (source)

    “What we’re being told is that free trade with Mexico would devastate the U.S. economy. With its low wages, Mexico would unleash a flood of cheap imports into our markets. There would be a mass exodus of U.S. factory jobs, as hordes of American companies fled across the border…. All this is scare talk.” — Newt Gingrich, on the House floor 9/22/1993. (source)

    Q: “Will you rally the troops for GATT and the World Trade Organization?”
    A: “Yes. In the first place, the Administration has accepted amendments of Senator Dole and myself giving Congress dramatically more oversight of the WTO, including the right to bring up a vote on withdrawal every five years in perpetuity, so at any point that we think it is out of control or inappropriate, we can simply withdraw.” — Newt Gingrich, 11/11/1994 (source)

    “The American challenge in leading the world is compounded by our Constitution. Under our [constitutional system] – either we’re going to have to rethink our Constitution, or we’re going to have to rethink our process of decision-making.” He went on to profess an oxymoronic belief in “very strong but limited federal government,” and pledged, “I am for the United Nations.” — Newt Gingrich, July 1995, speech at the Center for Strategic & International Affairs (source)

    On executing people for drug offenses: “The first time we execute 27 or 30 or 35 people at one time, and they go around Colombia and France and Thailand and Mexico, and they say, ‘Hi, would you like to carry some drugs into the U.S.?’ the price of carrying drugs will have gone up dramatically.” — Newt Gingrich, 1995 (NY Times)

    “See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn’t change, only the morality… That’s why you get to go to jail and I don’t.” — Newt Gingrich, 8/8/1996, Wall Street Journal (source)

    When asked if he would change or repeal the Patriot Act: “No, I would not change it. I’m not aware of any specific change it needs. And I’d look at strengthening it, because I think the dangers are literally that great.” — Newt Gingrich, 11/22/2011, CNN Debate (source)

    “This is, by the way, one of the great tragedies of the Bush Administration. The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger. And therefore the better they’ve done at making sure there isn’t an attack, the easier it is to say that there was never going to be an attack anyways. And its almost like they should, every once in a while, have allowed an attack to get through, just to remind us. Think about the psychology. Why do we wrap up so many people? Well, because we wiretapped. And again, I’m going to be a little controversial. I would divide the FBI into two agencies. I would have an anti-domestic-crime FBI which was very cautious, very respectful of civil liberties. You are innocent until proven guilty. And I would have a small but VERY aggressive anti-terrorism agency. And I would frankly give them EXTRAORDINARY ability to eavesdrop. And my first advice to civil libertarians is simple: Don’t plot with terrorists.” — Newt Gingrich, 4/29/2008 (source)

    “In March 1993, I got an assistance program I could support: $1.6 billion in direct aid to help Russia stabilize. Although a public poll said that 75% of the American people were opposed to giving Russia more money, and we were already in a hard fight for the economic plan, I felt we had no choice but to press ahead. American had spent trillions of dollars in defense to win the Cold War; we couldn’t risk reversal over less that $2 billion and a bad poll. To the surprise of my staff, the congressional leaders, including the Republicans, agreed with me. At a meeting I convened to push the plan, Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, strongly endorsed the aid package. Newt Gingrich was passionately in favor of helping Russia, saying it was a ‘great defining moment’ for American and we had to do the right thing.” — Bill Clinton, 2004 (My Life, p. 506-507).

    “Professor Gingrich hopefully will never be called upon to teach a course in the proper role of our federal government. His rare votes against bloated big government usually have been prompted by the partisan wrangling of the moment, not by any great respect for, or understanding of, the Constitution.” — James Toft of “Tax Reform Immediately” (TRIM)

    The perfect quote for Newt Gingrich:
    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” — Jesus Christ

  • John in Ut

    I appreciate your passion Lance, but please don’t use we believe like all LDS members believe the same as you. Please use I believe instead We. Thanks from a fellow TBM.

  • Lance in TX

    Point taken and I see I missed a few of the “We”.. Originally I was writting as We (My wife and I) and changed it to me. Sorry.

    I would not want to put words in other people’s mouths.

  • Mark

    Very nice article, David. It’s interesting that some evangelicals are going to Newt. As a Southern Baptist, I find this strange. I think most of my Baptist brothers & sisters who don’t throw around the word ‘cult’ would agree to place LSD believers in the realm of those who call themselves Christians, but whose salvation we in the SBC question. Well, if we Baptists are honest, isn’t that the EXACT placement we would give Catholics? I know some Catholics whom I have no doubt are saved. I don’t know enough about the LSD particulars to make a judgment, but it seems to me that even if many LDS teachings ARE wrong (as our denomination believes), many Mormans have still probably sought out and accepted Christ in a saving way. So, basically, we have two religious men, whose denomination many evangelicals distrust, one a totally commited family man of impeccable moral fibre (the dog on top of the car & the ‘flip-flopping’ were ALL anyone dug up in 2007-08!) and one who says he is sorry for not always having that same level of moral fibre.

  • Hannah Rebekah

    It seems that many Evangelicals have not done their homework on what the Mormons really believe. You are correct on your assumptions, “many Mormons have still probably sought out and accepted Christ in a saving way.” Maybe this article will illustrate the point:

    The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon
    Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon
    by Lynn Ridenhour,
    Southern Baptist Minister

  • Phil

    David, I really appreciate your web site and your articles, being a fellow fan of Mitt Romney. I disagree with Larry regarding Mitt’s record as governor of MA. I think he did about as good a job as he could possibly have done, given the state’s heavy liberal bent. He showed great leadership in being able to reach across the aisle and pass legislation that both parties were comfortable with, and was able to keep his campaign promises, unlike most of his peers. This is an important quality which I believe sets him apart from Newt Gingrich, who has always been heavily partisan. Also Mitt’s personal life, showing him to be more trustworthy. I agree that we should give Gingrich the benefit of the doubt on his repentence from his previous lack of discretion, but like you said, do we really want to test this out on such an important position as POTUS? I would be willing to trust him in a less important position but there is too much at stake in this one. It seems that too many people have a really short memory, or that they are willing to take the gamble on Newt. I also feel strongly that Newt will have a much harder time catering to the independent voters than Romney, making it much harder for Newt to beat Obama in the general. It would wind up being McCain vs. Obama all over again. But if that’s what the “anyone but Romney” folks succeed in doing, I don’t think they’ll learn their lesson.

  • Terry

    Professor (I’m assuming that’s his title) Larry says: ” I would not stoop to posting from websites which lack credible information…” No slam on you, professor, but whether certain information is credible or not is a matter of personal opinion, especially in politics. Just because you disagree with something someone wrote, does not automatically render it unreliable. Unless you can claim perfection in your life, your opinions are no better or worse than anyone else who posts on this site, me included. I support anyone’s right to offer an opinion. It’s the posts that come off sounding like a royal edict that I take exception to.

  • Larry

    Remarks posted there were already discredited Terry. Also, all opinions are NOT equal … some are informed, some are not. No I’m not a professor Terry, but I do take my franchise seriously. Seriously enough to spend an hour or so a day studying the issues from multiple perspectives. That would, I think, qualify me as a student though. What are you?

  • Susan

    Larry, at this point it is probably time to “agree to disagree”. You are not the only one that spends an hour or so a day researching the issues. I would say that you are committed though.

  • Terry

    What am I?

    I’m an old retired coot who recognizes condescension when he sees it and who spends time daily on YouTube correcting the unhelpful and inaccurate appraisals of Mormonism posted by folks who think they know more about LDS beliefs and doctrine than some one who has probably been LDS longer than they have been alive. I’m also a Mormon by choice, meaning that I reached a point in my life where I had to find out for myself if what my parents had taught me was true. This happened during my 4 year stint in the military back in the Vietnam war era. Well, I found out, and I haven’t looked back since. All that aside–since this is a political forum and not a religious debate (and with all due respect to your position as an ecclesiastical leader)–I stand by my previous statement that no one person’s opinion who posts on here is any better than anyone else’s. I too spend several hours a day keeping up to speed re the current political scene, as I know others on here do also. I’m not an expert political analyst by any means, and I don’t claim to be. But, I do have at least a modicum of common sense, enough to realize that political likability does not necessarily translate to “the right man/woman for the job”. I genuinely like Newt. I like how he handles himself in debates and with the press. But…because of certain indiscretions in the past, Newt does not meet my personal standards for someone who is going to lead this country as president. Almost any other office, yes, but not President of the United States of America. That spot belongs to someone who has a past history of personal moral cleanliness and integrity, who has proven over time the type of conduct I can count on seeing from him in the future.

    Only one man currently fits that bill:

    Mitt Romney.

  • The Other Nancy

    First of all, Larry, I got the impression that you were a pastor. Is that right? If so, there appears to be something lacking in the charity area. Your posts appear somewhat angry, resentful, and even unpleasant at times as you encounter perfect strangers over the internet. Wouldn’t it be better that you would communicate with your fellowman (who by the way may not agree with you) treating them respectfully, as another child of God. Those who peruse this website and encounter you and your opinions might be inclined to recoil.

    Personally, I think you are dead on, David French, with your analysis of Mr. Gingrich’s candidacy. We can forgive and should forgive a truly repentant sinner but we do not necessarily elect a former errant individual to the highest office of the land. Nor do we turn a blind eye to what has happened in the past as if it had not happened. Further, we can judge if dishonesty is still a pattern in their lives and Mr. Gingrich appears to not be fully on board in matters of integrity, as he rationalizes over transparency.

    Social conservatives lose all credibility when they make a choice to forget about Herman Cain’s candidacy because he was only accused of infidelity and dishonesty. Then they make a choice to promote and vote for Newt Gingrich, who has confessed to adultery and turned his back on two wives and now is ready to promote his third wife who was compliant in the adulterous affair. It seems incongruent and utterly incompatible to think of them both as President and First Lady. Isn’t it time to bring back the virtues of chastity and fidelity to the young people of America? For this reason and many others I will not cast my vote for Newt Gingrich for President of the United States. We’ve had enough mud thrown on that office in the last three years. We are an exceptional country, we are blessed to be born here and live out our days in a mostly peaceful existence. I pray that the next generation will be blessed because of the choices we make right now. I will be casting my vote for Mitt and Ann Romney.

  • Larry

    Well, Nancy your posts merits a response … so brace yourself. This forum exists for advocacy. It encourages robust debate. It is a space where adults offer their various opinions regarding whatever subject happens to be under discussion.

    My tone can be occasionally pedantic but not lacking in charity. Ministers are accustomed to being regarded as keenly insightful, kind, and loving … until they utter a statement with which the hearer takes offense. Within the space of a single moment this same man who only moments before was regarded as Christ-like and wise becomes uncharitable, brutish and mean. This occurs with remarkable frequency. I’ve experienced it and because I work with pastors here and abroad I can further testify that it is a global phenomenon.

    I continue to view with amazement the sheer number of people who prefer sophistry in such instances over substance. They meet ideas which challenge their own not with a studied and reasoned response but rather, playing the scold, they prefer to counter with sanctimonious priggishness. Again, I find this remarkable … it’s the equivalent of a child who can think of no better response than to poke someone in the eye. Its seems that many adults grow older and larger but not “up.

    My responses aren’t angry … they are pointed and passionate. They ought to be. We each not only have the opportunity to become informed and engaged politically … we are profoundly obliged to be. I take that very seriously. In my early twenties I felt socialism was an ideal political theory and practice. My first pastorate often found me working with the underprivileged through our various outreaches. I was a steering committee member of the Massachusetts DCF, and through our drug rehabilitation program worked closely with the police and courts. Additionally, my work carried me into the projects frequently.

    Overtime I began to question the accuracy and veracity of liberal theory and practice. The contradictions and failures of progressivism began to undermine my confidence in socialism’s claims. Thus began a journey of exploration. I began to collect a library which explored the philosophical underpinnings and outcomes of political thought, Left and Right.

    Overtime I came to embrace the tenets of Burkean Conservatism. It was only later that I discovered how many people, left and right, embrace a political ideology absent a great deal of study. Almost everyone can tell you what stream of political thought they adhere to but far fewer can offer a cogent reason why.

    Never-the-less, they offer their opinions with vigor and conviction … until their notions are challenged. Then, in place of reasoned argument … they just poke you in the eye. This happens frequently when engaging liberals … but it is not their province alone.

    I try to treat people respectfully, but I do hold them accountable for their remarks. You see, I’ve come to realize that the efforts of those who take their franchise seriously can be diluted by those too busy with other pursuits to explore beyond sound bites and bumper stickers why they believe as they do. In short, a dunce can pull the lever in a voting booth with the same ease an informed citizen can.

    Consequently, I’ve made the decision in the last several years to engage more forcefully in this arena … to challenge the notions of others and to respond to their exchanges. Things that matter often require confrontation. For instance Jesus offered rather scathing critiques of those who hindered others through error. Among his remarks we find statements such as “You are of your father the devil”, “you are like white washed sepulchers full of dead men’s bones”, and “blind leaders of the blind” among others. He also took to a more physical display on at least one occasion by overturning tables and brandishing a whip. Likewise Paul found himself offering rebukes without apology. Christians do not go out of their way in search of conflict … nor do they shrink from it. Furthermore, they can be forceful and unambiguous in their responses … all without shedding their love or compromising their witness.

    As to the balance of your post, aside from some rather inconsistent redemptive theology and false choices one also notes a whiff of self-righteousness. Does the irony of your post escape you entirely? Finally, Nancy, if you wish to engage me on the facts … terrific. I’m all ears. Expect a reply. But toss out a browbeating scold … expect a critique.

  • Susan

    I am glad you had a change of heart and not a flip flop :)

  • Susan

    You have educated yourself in the ways of man. You can’t always trust those guys.

  • Susan

    Interesting that you refer to Paul. Paul who once was Saul and so determined in his cause against the Christians that God was the only one who could turn him out of his stubborn paradigm.

  • Larry

    Susan, you’re kidding right?

  • Larry

    I had a conversion preceded by a heartfelt search for a better, more proven way. Not passing, not erratic, not convenient. I wanted the truth to take where it would … not where I required it to go.

  • Susan

    Mostly speaking of your conversion, how directed is it? Saul was a very converted and devoted follower of Jehovah. He was a Jew who came to know that Jehovah was Jesus Christ and he wasn’t representing him very well.

  • Jim Tills

    Great article and reasoned responses. The Other Nancy hit the nail on the head regarding social conservatives and their shifting candidate selection (re: Herman Cain under assault for suspected moral violations v.s Newt Gingrich as a known adulterer).
    I had not thought about a President Gingrich and a complicate adulterous first lady and the disaster that would be as role models for the youth of our Nation. That thought alone ought to sear the soul of a true social conservative.
    If you truly believe in Christ and the little ones whom he took in his arms and blessed, as well as the older teen-age youth of our Nation and the world, you must realize we must not damage them with a tragic example, especially when we have a near-perfect alternative in this important forthcoming election. Although it may not mean much that a single voice like mine feels the way I do, but I will lose a great deal of respect for evangelicals across the board if they choose the known adulterer and adulteress over the clean and circumspect, competent alternative.
    Somehow, however, it’s my opinion that my view is shared by tens of thousands of others and evangelism will bear the brunt of such a horrendous betrayal of Christian principles.

  • ccr


    “I had not thought about a President Gingrich and a complicate (complicit??) adulterous first lady and the disaster that would be as role models for the youth of our Nation. That thought alone ought to sear the soul of a true social conservative.”

    I certainly “amen” this, too. “but I will lose a great deal of respect for evangelicals across the board if they choose the known adulterer and adulteress over the clean and circumspect, competent alternative.”

    Larry, I refuse to get in a tit for tat……..or a hairsplitting argument. Facts are facts, though. Gingrich has shown his lack of discipline in his life from adulterous affairs to 1/5 M $$ bill at Tiffany’s as well as the way in which he runs his “unconventional” campaign, including debt. Add to that erractic statements, numerous flipflops (that was the dumbest thing I ever did……..that is the kind of “depth” and analysis we need in POTUS.) Then there is his ego. I believe he’s narcissistic and so arrogant, he lacks the humility to be a truly great leader.

  • Breeze

    Newt Gingrich would be the first ever President to have been married 3 times, and the first time ever first lady in the white house to be Newt’s hussy. In private life it’s fine to repent and go on with your life, but to hold the sacred office of President of the United States it takes a better kind of person. What kind of an example would that be to our youth and to other countries? It requires a certain standard. How can we be a beacon on the hill with a person that has been immoral. How can we expect that our country continue to be blessed by God by electing someone with his ethics. There should be certain standards when holding an office of public trust just as you wouldn’t hire a felon. How stupid are people today? How can one trust what he says or does if he can’t even be trusted in his personal life how can he be trusted as President of the United States?

    Newt says, “oh I’m a grandfather” so now he can be trusted because he’s too old to _ _ _ _? If he were a bit younger, you can bet he would go back to his old ways. He’s only being good because he’s old!

  • Richard

    “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord”. I believe LDS scripture has a reference to being in the service of others; that it is somewhat akin to serving God…and New Testament reference to the second commandment regarding “neighbors” is relevant. Noone seems to capture these Christ like behaviors better than Ann and Mitt Romney.

    As a Freedom Works member in Northern California, it’s easy to vote for Romney…

  • Terry

    “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
    Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:17

  • Bonnie

    I am not decided on a candidate and not informed enough to have much of an opinion at this point. But I would like to point out that actual examples of someone’s speech or behavior are much more reliable as evidence than the opinions of even well-respected commentators. In the article linked to the text, “transparent self-regard,” there is only one reference to one event given as an example, but three quotes of the opinions of commentators are offered. Such evidence would qualify as hearsay, which doesn’t disprove the claim, yet is not strong supporting evidence. (The actual point of the article is that criticism of Gingrich is coming from conservatives as well as liberals, yet even the article doesn’t properly support its own claims. )

  • Cal

    Hi all,

    In case you haven’t seen it, Here is a great new article from the LA Times about Mitt’s faith and values. Nothing to do with Newt, but a great article for people who want to know more about how Mitt’s faith and values have influenced him… for the better,0,4579590.story

  • Robin

    I am shocked that anyone would want to vote for Gingrich. He blamed his adultery on his passion for our country. The man is a silver tongued snake and if America votes for such a man…then it is because we have stooped very, very low in our moral consciousness as a people. I predict that if America chooses Newt over Mitt then our country is in for a downward spiral that we probably will not be saved from.

  • ccr

    Yes, excellent reminder! He did blame the stress/passion for our country on his 6 year affair.

    Yes, forgive. But that doesn’t mean you put the person in the most powerful position in the world (government).

  • Robin

    You like to hear yourself talk. Here are two Republicans who were in congress with Newt and they can’t stand him. You have to read this:

    At the end of the interview Coburn revealed that he would have difficulty supporting Newt Gingrich as the GOP nominee – due to his experience serving in the House while Gingrich was Speaker.
    Senator Coburn’s remarks on Gingrich begin @10:17:

    “I am not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich’s having served under him for four years and experienced his leadership. Because I found it lacking often times.”
    “There’s all kind of leaders, leaders that instill confidence and leaders that are somewhat abrupt, leaders that have one standard for the people that they are leading and a different standard for themselves.”
    “I will have difficulty supporting him for president of the United States.”
    Jonathan Adler from the National Review adds this:
    Many who worked with or within the Republican Congressional majority during Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker feel much the same way. Senator Coburn is just the first to say what many have been thinking.

    Fmr NY Congressman and fmr Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari: “God help us if Newt Gingrich is elected president.” Dec 3, 2011

    Guy Molinari, a former NY Congressman who also served with Speaker Gingrich, is on recordsaying: “Newt is evil. This guy is an evil person.” (Echoes of S.E. Cupp’s take on Gingrich, as well… She described him as “kind of a terrible person.”)
    “The thought that this man could be president of the United States is appalling,” said Molinari, whose enmity for Gingrich goes back to their days in the House together. “He’s got all kinds of baggage.”
    Molinari claims that Gingrich bumped him from his slot as ranking Republican on the Investigations and Oversight subcommittee of the Public Works and Transportation Committee even though there was a written agreement not to do so.
    “This guy is evil,” Molinari said. “He’s an evil person.”
    Molinari said that Gingrich’s double-cross “ended my career” in the House and led to him running for borough president in 1989.
    Molinari, who endorsed Romney and heads his team in New York, on Dec 3rd further declared:Not Newt, not ever!
    Guy Molinari, the Republican power broker and former Staten Island Beep, ripped Newt Gingrich as unfit to be president yesterday — a day before the front- running GOP candidate was set to attend a Tea Party rally in the borough.
    But Molinari, who served with Gingrich in Congress and supports Mitt Romney, rained on the former House speaker’s parade.
    “God help us if Newt Gingrich is elected president. I won’t vote for him. I love my country too much,” Molinari said.
    Molinari, head of New Yorkers for Romney, said he had found Gingrich to beuntrustworthy.
    He said that Gingrich, as House GOP leader, broke his word and bumped him from a committee assignment.
    “It happened to so many others. How do you trust a guy like that? What kind of trust would he get from other parts of the world?” Molinari said.
    (emphasis added)
    Delve into Gingrich’s baggage here.
    Note: On October 8, 2011, Molinari also condemned Rick Perry’s attempt to introduce religious bigotry into the GOP race.