The GOP presidential primary is a lot like a kindergarten t-ball game: When it comes to being in first place, just about everybody gets a turn. And now, congratulations, Newt Gingrich: It’s your turn!
This means, of course, that the amiable professor now will now be freshly scrutinized in both his personal and his political life. So far, he’s not been considered a threat, so his liabilities have been overlooked by his rivals. However, as he rises in the polls, his life is about to undergo the same treatment that Herman Cain and Rick Perry have experienced… and it’s not going to be pretty.
First let’s talk about the most obvious problem – his wives. Nineteen year old Newt married 26 year old Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher in 1962. They had two children, but Newt had an affair with Marianne Ginther and left Jackie to wed Marianne one year later. Then, in the mid-1990s, Gingrich met a staffer in the House of Representatives — Callista Bisek – who is 23 years his junior. Newt married her shortly after his divorce from his second wife Ginther. They are currently married, and Callista plays a front-and-center role in Newt’s campaign. (She has her own portion on Newt’s website here, in a move that shows that Newt might be tone deaf on how much women voters want to see the trophy wife of a Presidential candidate supposedly running to protect family values.)
However, as wonderful and life-giving as forgiveness is, there are still real-world consequences to sin. For example, voters might look at him with skepticism as he runs to combat the moral decay of our nation. Voters might find his claims to protect traditional marriage a little hard to swallow. They might also find it hard to trust his political promises, considering how easily he broke his personal promises.
I’ve heard many evangelicals mention Newt as a viable alternative to Gov. Romney, and I can’t help but think that it would be quite ironic if social conservatives make a moral statement against the LDS candidate by rallying behind this thrice married lothario.