Did Gingrich divorce his wife on her deathbed?

One of the most troublesome charges against Newt Gingrich is that he served the divorce papers to his first wife in her hospital room where she was dying of cancer.   The increased scrutiny due to his front-runner status in the Republican presidential  race has at least uncovered the evidence that the story is not true.  From the Washington Post:

Although the thrust of the story about his first divorce is not in dispute — Gingrich’s first wife, Jackie Battley, has said previously that the couple discussed their divorce while she was in the hospital in 1980 — other aspects of it appear to have been distorted through constant retelling.

Most significant, Battley wasn’t dying at the time of the hospital visit; she is alive today. Nor was the divorce discussion in the hospital “a surprise” to Battley, as many accounts have contended. Battley, not Gingrich, had requested a divorce months earlier, according to Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the couple’s second daughter.

Further, Gingrich did not serve his wife with divorce papers on the day of his visit (unlike a subpoena, divorce papers aren’t typically “served”). Gingrich’s marriage to Battley had been troubled for many years before it dissolved 31 years ago, both parties have said.

via Aspects of Gingrich divorce story distorted – The Washington Post.

Still, he has been married three times.  His second divorce came in 1999 and involved an extra-marital relationship with a congressional staffer who is now his third wife.

Do you think these transgressions should disqualify him from the presidency?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    Did King David’s transgressions disqualify him – did God dethrone him? Do such transgressions disqualify a Mayor, Governor, Senator, or Congressperson? Does the Constitution require the President to be a faithful husband – is it part of the vocation of President?

  • Tom Hering

    Did King David’s transgressions disqualify him – did God dethrone him? Do such transgressions disqualify a Mayor, Governor, Senator, or Congressperson? Does the Constitution require the President to be a faithful husband – is it part of the vocation of President?

  • Michael B.

    I don’t think they disqualify him. I also expect most conservatives will rush to his defense.

    But if Newt were a Democrat, I’m sure social conservatives would be singing a different song. Ironically, Obama has a very traditional marriage — married only once, kids, and wife at home. Doesn’t matter for social conservatives. Sarah Palin would have had a stay-at-home First Husband in the white house, and social conservatives would still vote for her over Obama. Gore and Kerry had military service, while the George W. Bush didn’t. Didn’t matter. As long as you’re “one of us”, it doesn’t matter what you do. Consider the case of Ted Haggard, who was quickly back in the game after what he did.

  • Michael B.

    I don’t think they disqualify him. I also expect most conservatives will rush to his defense.

    But if Newt were a Democrat, I’m sure social conservatives would be singing a different song. Ironically, Obama has a very traditional marriage — married only once, kids, and wife at home. Doesn’t matter for social conservatives. Sarah Palin would have had a stay-at-home First Husband in the white house, and social conservatives would still vote for her over Obama. Gore and Kerry had military service, while the George W. Bush didn’t. Didn’t matter. As long as you’re “one of us”, it doesn’t matter what you do. Consider the case of Ted Haggard, who was quickly back in the game after what he did.

  • Bob

    #2 Michael
    “As long as you’re “one of us”, it doesn’t matter what you do.”

    Exactly.

    There it is.

    The money quote.

  • Bob

    #2 Michael
    “As long as you’re “one of us”, it doesn’t matter what you do.”

    Exactly.

    There it is.

    The money quote.

  • WisdomLover

    So glad that Battley and the WaPo are clearing up these distortions.

    Other facts about the deathbed divorce story that the press so loves.

    1. Battley herself started the story that Newt surprised her with the divorce while she was in the hospital for cancer surgery.
    2. The Washington Post itself published Battley’s remarks in a Jan 3, 1985 article by Lois Romano entitled “Newt Gingrich, Maverick on the Hill; The New Right’s Abrasive Point Man Talks of Changing His Tone and Tactics”. Sounds like very balanced reporting.
    3. She was having a benign growth removed…not cancer.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back of this ill-starred marriage was Gingrich’s affair with Marianne Ginther, who became his second wife. But it’s not at all clear to me that it’s all Newt’s fault that it came to that.

  • WisdomLover

    So glad that Battley and the WaPo are clearing up these distortions.

    Other facts about the deathbed divorce story that the press so loves.

    1. Battley herself started the story that Newt surprised her with the divorce while she was in the hospital for cancer surgery.
    2. The Washington Post itself published Battley’s remarks in a Jan 3, 1985 article by Lois Romano entitled “Newt Gingrich, Maverick on the Hill; The New Right’s Abrasive Point Man Talks of Changing His Tone and Tactics”. Sounds like very balanced reporting.
    3. She was having a benign growth removed…not cancer.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back of this ill-starred marriage was Gingrich’s affair with Marianne Ginther, who became his second wife. But it’s not at all clear to me that it’s all Newt’s fault that it came to that.

  • WisdomLover

    Michael B.-

    “As long as you’re “one of us”, it doesn’t matter what you do.”

    So true.

    Who can forget the amazing support that Republicans showed to:

    Mark Foley
    Bob Packwood
    Mark Sandburg
    Larry Craig
    Bob Livingstone
    Richard Nixon
    Spiro Agnew
    George Allen
    Richard V. Allen

    These men were supported to the hilt because of the “R” after their name, and let principles be damned.

    Oh…wait.

    That didn’t happen.

  • WisdomLover

    Michael B.-

    “As long as you’re “one of us”, it doesn’t matter what you do.”

    So true.

    Who can forget the amazing support that Republicans showed to:

    Mark Foley
    Bob Packwood
    Mark Sandburg
    Larry Craig
    Bob Livingstone
    Richard Nixon
    Spiro Agnew
    George Allen
    Richard V. Allen

    These men were supported to the hilt because of the “R” after their name, and let principles be damned.

    Oh…wait.

    That didn’t happen.

  • WisdomLover

    Gingrich had been living in separate homes for six years from Marianne Ginther (his second wife) when he began his affair with Callista Bisek (his current wife).

    It is true that Gingrich and Ginther ‘reconciled’ shortly before he became Speaker of the House and finally divorced shortly after he left that post. Gingrich continued his affair with Bisek throughout that time. And, despite her protestations to the contrary, I think with the full knowledge of Ginther. The whole thing reeks of a political arrangement where there never was any reconciliation, but an agreement to say that there was. If so, then the worst sin, by far, is not some sexual peccadillo, but a deep political cynicism (though far from the worst I’ve seen).

  • WisdomLover

    Gingrich had been living in separate homes for six years from Marianne Ginther (his second wife) when he began his affair with Callista Bisek (his current wife).

    It is true that Gingrich and Ginther ‘reconciled’ shortly before he became Speaker of the House and finally divorced shortly after he left that post. Gingrich continued his affair with Bisek throughout that time. And, despite her protestations to the contrary, I think with the full knowledge of Ginther. The whole thing reeks of a political arrangement where there never was any reconciliation, but an agreement to say that there was. If so, then the worst sin, by far, is not some sexual peccadillo, but a deep political cynicism (though far from the worst I’ve seen).

  • Steve Billingsley

    Micheal B.
    One nit to pick. Bush did have military service, it was just not in Vietnam (as Gore and Kerry did). He may have benefited from his father’s money and influence to avoid Vietnam (although that isn’t a proven fact – though that explanation does fit the circumstances). But he did serve in the military.
    I do think you are right about the double standard that many social conservatives (and I am a social conservative, BTW) will apply to Newt. I am not a fan of Newt’s for this and many other reasons, but if he gets the nomination I would likely hold my nose and vote for him (mainly because I just think Obama’s policies are just wrong – although I do admire his fine example as a husband and father and in general think he is a good man.)

  • Steve Billingsley

    Micheal B.
    One nit to pick. Bush did have military service, it was just not in Vietnam (as Gore and Kerry did). He may have benefited from his father’s money and influence to avoid Vietnam (although that isn’t a proven fact – though that explanation does fit the circumstances). But he did serve in the military.
    I do think you are right about the double standard that many social conservatives (and I am a social conservative, BTW) will apply to Newt. I am not a fan of Newt’s for this and many other reasons, but if he gets the nomination I would likely hold my nose and vote for him (mainly because I just think Obama’s policies are just wrong – although I do admire his fine example as a husband and father and in general think he is a good man.)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I wouldn’t care if he was messin’ around with Lady Gaga and Nancy Pelosi…at the same time.

    As long as he could help get rid of that pompous Marxist in the White House, I’m all for him (whomever he or she might be).

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I wouldn’t care if he was messin’ around with Lady Gaga and Nancy Pelosi…at the same time.

    As long as he could help get rid of that pompous Marxist in the White House, I’m all for him (whomever he or she might be).

  • Jon

    @8 Your quota of asinine comments has just been reached for today, Steve. Take it to the internet monk site where you can brag that it’s you and de Lawd.

  • Jon

    @8 Your quota of asinine comments has just been reached for today, Steve. Take it to the internet monk site where you can brag that it’s you and de Lawd.

  • Patrick Kyle

    We vote for guys like this and then wonder aloud, with tears and sighs, why our politicians betray us.
    It’s not a question of ‘if’ he disqualified himself, but a question of what kind of man is he.

    He won’t get my vote.

  • Patrick Kyle

    We vote for guys like this and then wonder aloud, with tears and sighs, why our politicians betray us.
    It’s not a question of ‘if’ he disqualified himself, but a question of what kind of man is he.

    He won’t get my vote.

  • mikeb

    Steve @8 – You make a valid point. Unfortunately our system isn’t perfect (what is!?) so we’re forced to choose between imperfect candidates. Isn’t it wonderful that we get to choose though?

    Jon @9 – You should give Steve a break, or rather put the best construction on his remark. He’s not advocating we have a president who’s messin’ around, he’s just saying that when a choice has to be made you have to weigh all the evidence. I share his view that we might have to overlook someone’s propensity to mess around in order to reject another’s terrible ideas about how to (re-)organize society.

    It might be cliche, but lesser of two evils still fits.

  • mikeb

    Steve @8 – You make a valid point. Unfortunately our system isn’t perfect (what is!?) so we’re forced to choose between imperfect candidates. Isn’t it wonderful that we get to choose though?

    Jon @9 – You should give Steve a break, or rather put the best construction on his remark. He’s not advocating we have a president who’s messin’ around, he’s just saying that when a choice has to be made you have to weigh all the evidence. I share his view that we might have to overlook someone’s propensity to mess around in order to reject another’s terrible ideas about how to (re-)organize society.

    It might be cliche, but lesser of two evils still fits.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Jon,

    You never miss an opportunity to attack me.

    It’s no secret that you don’t like me. Big deal. I couldn’t care less what you think of me.

    How would you like it if every time you made a comment I just launched into a personal attack on you?

    Get over it… will you?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Jon,

    You never miss an opportunity to attack me.

    It’s no secret that you don’t like me. Big deal. I couldn’t care less what you think of me.

    How would you like it if every time you made a comment I just launched into a personal attack on you?

    Get over it… will you?

  • mikeb

    Patrick @10

    I heard someone say since 40% of us are principled Democrats and 40% are principled Republicans, it’s no wonder we have so many unprincipled politicians fighting over the other 20%.

  • mikeb

    Patrick @10

    I heard someone say since 40% of us are principled Democrats and 40% are principled Republicans, it’s no wonder we have so many unprincipled politicians fighting over the other 20%.

  • Helen K.

    following..

  • Helen K.

    following..

  • –helen

    Between those two, I have a very difficult time saying which is the “lesser of two evils”.
    When it comes down to it, they both will look out for themselves… and the 1%.

  • –helen

    Between those two, I have a very difficult time saying which is the “lesser of two evils”.
    When it comes down to it, they both will look out for themselves… and the 1%.

  • curious

    For the lesser of evils crowd: if the Republicans picked a nominee who was more liberal than Obama, would you vote for Obama?

  • curious

    For the lesser of evils crowd: if the Republicans picked a nominee who was more liberal than Obama, would you vote for Obama?

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I had heard this story so often with a strait face on ‘reputable’ news outlets that I was surprised that it was mainly false.

    There are real flesh and blood human beings (What Kant called, the-thing-in-itself.) and then there are their public, media personas. We only have contact with the latter, which I am sure bares only passport-picture resemblance to the former.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I had heard this story so often with a strait face on ‘reputable’ news outlets that I was surprised that it was mainly false.

    There are real flesh and blood human beings (What Kant called, the-thing-in-itself.) and then there are their public, media personas. We only have contact with the latter, which I am sure bares only passport-picture resemblance to the former.

  • Jonathan

    Gingrich may be toxic for several reasons, but the issue of his multiple marriages bothers me only because he was unfaithful to his first two wives.

    The fact of multiple marriages is not, in my view, a disqualification per se. (Nancy was Ronald’s 2d spouse, recall.) I know someone who, early in adult life, had two successive, failed marriages. Then after many years, this person married for a 3d time, but that marriage has last for decades. Sure, this person’s had three marriages, but has been faithful in each. The first two failed largely for reasons of immaturity.

    Gingrich, though, has a record of infidelity, and that bothers me.

  • Jonathan

    Gingrich may be toxic for several reasons, but the issue of his multiple marriages bothers me only because he was unfaithful to his first two wives.

    The fact of multiple marriages is not, in my view, a disqualification per se. (Nancy was Ronald’s 2d spouse, recall.) I know someone who, early in adult life, had two successive, failed marriages. Then after many years, this person married for a 3d time, but that marriage has last for decades. Sure, this person’s had three marriages, but has been faithful in each. The first two failed largely for reasons of immaturity.

    Gingrich, though, has a record of infidelity, and that bothers me.

  • Grace

    Does God forgive those who transgress and sin? If so, then HE has or can forgive Newt for whatever he did, and his wife as well, IF they repent of their sins. Repentance is KEY.

    The subject on this blog is SIN, especially those who hold positions of power, although it is WE, who need to repent of our sins, WE are sinful as well. Do we then exclude those who have been in the pastorate, who have welded much influence on, and in the church, the world at large, down through the years? .. that which has effected millions of people? Did they repent of their sins? Do churches continue to ignore the sins of their leaders in favor of their church? Is this what God has ordained, is this in the Bible?

  • Grace

    Does God forgive those who transgress and sin? If so, then HE has or can forgive Newt for whatever he did, and his wife as well, IF they repent of their sins. Repentance is KEY.

    The subject on this blog is SIN, especially those who hold positions of power, although it is WE, who need to repent of our sins, WE are sinful as well. Do we then exclude those who have been in the pastorate, who have welded much influence on, and in the church, the world at large, down through the years? .. that which has effected millions of people? Did they repent of their sins? Do churches continue to ignore the sins of their leaders in favor of their church? Is this what God has ordained, is this in the Bible?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “For the lesser of evils crowd: if the Republicans picked a nominee who was more liberal than Obama, would you vote for Obama?”

    Yes.

    There’s about as much a chance of that happening as there is of a lasting peace in the Middle East (before Christ returns).

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “For the lesser of evils crowd: if the Republicans picked a nominee who was more liberal than Obama, would you vote for Obama?”

    Yes.

    There’s about as much a chance of that happening as there is of a lasting peace in the Middle East (before Christ returns).

  • DonS

    “Do you think these transgressions should disqualify him from the presidency?”

    Good question. Constitutionally, of course, they do not. But each voter has his/her own criteria and tolerance for character flaws in a candidate that can earn their vote. For me, policy and a record of loyalty to political principles are the most important character traits in a candidate. The president is going to set the course of policy for our country, regardless of whether he is a faithful married man or a single divorcee, and my primary consideration is that his policies align with mine as closely as possible. In a primary election, where policy positions of several candidates may closely align, and their records also show that they will enact their stated policies faithfully, then secondary considerations regarding their overall character play a role in finalizing my decision. In a general election, faced with a choice between a liberal and a “less liberal”, I always vote for the “less liberal”. Obama may be a faithful husband, but his policies are destroying the economic prospects of our children.

    However, I recognize and respect that other voters have different criteria, and for them, Gingrich’s marital record is a disqualifier. I guess I hope that, if Gingrich ends up being the Republican nominee, there won’t be enough of those voters to ensure Obama a second term.

  • DonS

    “Do you think these transgressions should disqualify him from the presidency?”

    Good question. Constitutionally, of course, they do not. But each voter has his/her own criteria and tolerance for character flaws in a candidate that can earn their vote. For me, policy and a record of loyalty to political principles are the most important character traits in a candidate. The president is going to set the course of policy for our country, regardless of whether he is a faithful married man or a single divorcee, and my primary consideration is that his policies align with mine as closely as possible. In a primary election, where policy positions of several candidates may closely align, and their records also show that they will enact their stated policies faithfully, then secondary considerations regarding their overall character play a role in finalizing my decision. In a general election, faced with a choice between a liberal and a “less liberal”, I always vote for the “less liberal”. Obama may be a faithful husband, but his policies are destroying the economic prospects of our children.

    However, I recognize and respect that other voters have different criteria, and for them, Gingrich’s marital record is a disqualifier. I guess I hope that, if Gingrich ends up being the Republican nominee, there won’t be enough of those voters to ensure Obama a second term.

  • Helen K.

    Don S. @21—Excellent! I don’t “like” Newt’s marital excursions either but I’m trying to separate that from his politics and other qualifications. We have all sinned (and continue to sin) and have fallen short of the glory of God. Thankfully that is the reason Jesus died for us and all mankind. Something to be really thankful for this Thanksgiving! Praise be to our God.

  • Helen K.

    Don S. @21—Excellent! I don’t “like” Newt’s marital excursions either but I’m trying to separate that from his politics and other qualifications. We have all sinned (and continue to sin) and have fallen short of the glory of God. Thankfully that is the reason Jesus died for us and all mankind. Something to be really thankful for this Thanksgiving! Praise be to our God.

  • JunkerGeorg

    As for Newt’s life, he wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last. Forgiveness of sins, no doubt. But if a politician is truly contrite, should he see that there should be some consequences for him as an officeholder? I mean, if you’re Speaker of the House, and you’re leading the charge to impeach President Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and it later leaks out in the press and you’re forced to admit that you yourself are having an adulterous affair with one of your 28yr. old staffers over against your second wife at the SAME time you are decrying President Clinton’s immoral, adulterous behavior with Lewinsky and trying to impeach him, wouldn’t you think it would’ve been best for Gingrich as well as Clinton to retreat from public, political life due to the damaged reputation/dignity of the public office they held as an elected congressmen/president??? But no, when Gingrich is asked about the hypocrisy of his actions in that case, he just excuses it away by stating that President Clinton committed perjury to cover the affair and this was what he was impeached for and not the affair itself. Well, so what? Even if such impeachment is on the grounds of perjury in trying to cover the affair rather than the affair itself—don’t you think Gingrich should have resigned in that whole deal, just as much as Clinton should have? I mean, should not the maintenance of the dignity and reputation of the office itself call for it?? Yes, it should. But there is no legal grounds to force him to do it. So it is not the sin committed by Gingrich, it’s the questionable lack of the fruits that are “keeping with repentance” as Jesus said, of “amendment of life”, which, in the case of Gingrich, should have been resigning from public office and going into the private sector, for the sake of the dignity of that public office. No?

    But since he didn’t do this, this then just begs the question of whether Newt Gingrich is serving in terms of what are in the best interests of the country, or in the best interests Newt Gingrich himself, does it not? Is that not a character issue? I’m not saying a sinner issue, which we all are. We all daily mess up. But rather, we are called to daily FESS up as well, without fudging/making excuses or justifications…But what did Newt do this past year after deciding to run for president? While acknowledging his behavior was wrong and he knew it wasn’t right (of course, because it was public knowledge), he goes on to say his work ethic and love for his country “caused” him to work too much and this was what led to his affairs. I’m sorry. That doesn’t cut it as a confession…as we say in one Lutheran rite, “by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault”. Same with Cain, who initially claimed he couldn’t “remember” paying off a bunch of women in hush money for reasons of sexual indiscretion accusations, until the story gradually changed over a couple of days, along with indirectly suggesting that it was a racist-driven attack on him.

    In the Church, even if my wife had an affair/unscripturally divorced me as a pastor, I honestly would at least seriously question whether it would be right for me to remain a pastor given how the office would be tarnished (and hence a detriment to the parishioners), and/or at least certainly would resign my current call asap, even if it wasn’t my fault for the divorce (although even there, such innocence is arguably very rarely 100% the case, if ever). But not so in secular politics.

    And now Bloomberg and others break a story in the past week that Gingrich had a business relationship up through 2006 with Freddie Mac , the quasi-federal government mortgage lender which caused the housing collapse, and that they paid him $1.8 million dollars in consulting fees, a consulting which Gingrich then claims was for basically giving “a history lesson.” (Yeah, I’m sure that’s all it was Newt.) I’m sorry, but despite him being a smart, “ideas” man (whose ideas ironically all require Big Government to implement/run), I suspect he may a BS artist without rival except for Bill Clinton, wowing the less intelligent with his big brain and smart talk, whose been a financial beneficiary of Big government while masquarading as if he were a hero of smaller, limited government. Not buying it. Yet, sad to say, he might be the best of the candidates, that is, outside of he whose name we dare not speak of lest we learn that a constitutional conservative Republican is not the same thing as the neoconservative Republicans we’re getting.

  • JunkerGeorg

    As for Newt’s life, he wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last. Forgiveness of sins, no doubt. But if a politician is truly contrite, should he see that there should be some consequences for him as an officeholder? I mean, if you’re Speaker of the House, and you’re leading the charge to impeach President Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and it later leaks out in the press and you’re forced to admit that you yourself are having an adulterous affair with one of your 28yr. old staffers over against your second wife at the SAME time you are decrying President Clinton’s immoral, adulterous behavior with Lewinsky and trying to impeach him, wouldn’t you think it would’ve been best for Gingrich as well as Clinton to retreat from public, political life due to the damaged reputation/dignity of the public office they held as an elected congressmen/president??? But no, when Gingrich is asked about the hypocrisy of his actions in that case, he just excuses it away by stating that President Clinton committed perjury to cover the affair and this was what he was impeached for and not the affair itself. Well, so what? Even if such impeachment is on the grounds of perjury in trying to cover the affair rather than the affair itself—don’t you think Gingrich should have resigned in that whole deal, just as much as Clinton should have? I mean, should not the maintenance of the dignity and reputation of the office itself call for it?? Yes, it should. But there is no legal grounds to force him to do it. So it is not the sin committed by Gingrich, it’s the questionable lack of the fruits that are “keeping with repentance” as Jesus said, of “amendment of life”, which, in the case of Gingrich, should have been resigning from public office and going into the private sector, for the sake of the dignity of that public office. No?

    But since he didn’t do this, this then just begs the question of whether Newt Gingrich is serving in terms of what are in the best interests of the country, or in the best interests Newt Gingrich himself, does it not? Is that not a character issue? I’m not saying a sinner issue, which we all are. We all daily mess up. But rather, we are called to daily FESS up as well, without fudging/making excuses or justifications…But what did Newt do this past year after deciding to run for president? While acknowledging his behavior was wrong and he knew it wasn’t right (of course, because it was public knowledge), he goes on to say his work ethic and love for his country “caused” him to work too much and this was what led to his affairs. I’m sorry. That doesn’t cut it as a confession…as we say in one Lutheran rite, “by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault”. Same with Cain, who initially claimed he couldn’t “remember” paying off a bunch of women in hush money for reasons of sexual indiscretion accusations, until the story gradually changed over a couple of days, along with indirectly suggesting that it was a racist-driven attack on him.

    In the Church, even if my wife had an affair/unscripturally divorced me as a pastor, I honestly would at least seriously question whether it would be right for me to remain a pastor given how the office would be tarnished (and hence a detriment to the parishioners), and/or at least certainly would resign my current call asap, even if it wasn’t my fault for the divorce (although even there, such innocence is arguably very rarely 100% the case, if ever). But not so in secular politics.

    And now Bloomberg and others break a story in the past week that Gingrich had a business relationship up through 2006 with Freddie Mac , the quasi-federal government mortgage lender which caused the housing collapse, and that they paid him $1.8 million dollars in consulting fees, a consulting which Gingrich then claims was for basically giving “a history lesson.” (Yeah, I’m sure that’s all it was Newt.) I’m sorry, but despite him being a smart, “ideas” man (whose ideas ironically all require Big Government to implement/run), I suspect he may a BS artist without rival except for Bill Clinton, wowing the less intelligent with his big brain and smart talk, whose been a financial beneficiary of Big government while masquarading as if he were a hero of smaller, limited government. Not buying it. Yet, sad to say, he might be the best of the candidates, that is, outside of he whose name we dare not speak of lest we learn that a constitutional conservative Republican is not the same thing as the neoconservative Republicans we’re getting.

  • DonS

    JunkerGeorg @ 23: Gingrich resigned from the Speakership and his House seat in January 1999, right after winning re-election in November 1998. That constitutes a “retreat from public/political life” in my book, and was a lot more than Clinton did.

    You answered your own question as to the similarity of the charges against Clinton and Gingrich, by acknowledging that Clinton broke the civil law, while Gingrich did not. The impeachment had to do with Clinton’s civil lawbreaking, not his sin. All men sin, but the president of the United States lied about his under oath, thus committing a felony. Whether or not you agree with the decision to impeach him for that act, Gingrich’s affair and divorce were not similarly actionable, and thus different in kind. I don’t see that his participation in the impeachment process was hypocritical, absent any evidence that he himself engaged in perjury. Perhaps I am more sensitive to the crime of perjury than others, being in the field of law, but it is a very serious crime. When our president modeled a disregard for the solemnity of his oath to tell the truth, and so many senior officials and establishment leaders subsequently pooh-poohed the seriousness of that act, they did much to undermine the foundations of our justice system.

    You may also recall that Gingrich was subject to ethics charges at this same time, related to some teaching he did at a college — it was a tax law issue, as I recall. Even though he was ultimately exonerated from any liability for the issue, he resigned from office because of these charges, the aftermath of the failed impeachment efforts, and other factors (maybe including the affair — I can’t remember). So, in that sense he certainly took a lot more responsibility for his sins than Clinton ever did.

    You seem to be saying that, even now, some twelve years later, Gingrich is forever disqualified because of past sins. I cannot agree with that mentality, and I don’t think it’s biblical. You’re right that the pastorate is a different situation than politics, as it should be. The standards are enormously high for the call to the pastorate. I’m not sure that the standards for politicians are or should be anywhere near the same — for one thing, we need to fill the many political offices ;-)

    You are certainly welcome to apply whatever personal standards you wish to when casting your vote. But, likewise, I guess I’m free to disagree, and to explain why. God bless, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • DonS

    JunkerGeorg @ 23: Gingrich resigned from the Speakership and his House seat in January 1999, right after winning re-election in November 1998. That constitutes a “retreat from public/political life” in my book, and was a lot more than Clinton did.

    You answered your own question as to the similarity of the charges against Clinton and Gingrich, by acknowledging that Clinton broke the civil law, while Gingrich did not. The impeachment had to do with Clinton’s civil lawbreaking, not his sin. All men sin, but the president of the United States lied about his under oath, thus committing a felony. Whether or not you agree with the decision to impeach him for that act, Gingrich’s affair and divorce were not similarly actionable, and thus different in kind. I don’t see that his participation in the impeachment process was hypocritical, absent any evidence that he himself engaged in perjury. Perhaps I am more sensitive to the crime of perjury than others, being in the field of law, but it is a very serious crime. When our president modeled a disregard for the solemnity of his oath to tell the truth, and so many senior officials and establishment leaders subsequently pooh-poohed the seriousness of that act, they did much to undermine the foundations of our justice system.

    You may also recall that Gingrich was subject to ethics charges at this same time, related to some teaching he did at a college — it was a tax law issue, as I recall. Even though he was ultimately exonerated from any liability for the issue, he resigned from office because of these charges, the aftermath of the failed impeachment efforts, and other factors (maybe including the affair — I can’t remember). So, in that sense he certainly took a lot more responsibility for his sins than Clinton ever did.

    You seem to be saying that, even now, some twelve years later, Gingrich is forever disqualified because of past sins. I cannot agree with that mentality, and I don’t think it’s biblical. You’re right that the pastorate is a different situation than politics, as it should be. The standards are enormously high for the call to the pastorate. I’m not sure that the standards for politicians are or should be anywhere near the same — for one thing, we need to fill the many political offices ;-)

    You are certainly welcome to apply whatever personal standards you wish to when casting your vote. But, likewise, I guess I’m free to disagree, and to explain why. God bless, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @DonS,

    Thank you for that great reply–an example of how we can disagree in a civil manner. I also thank you for adding some additional points in your rebuttal, particularly mention of Gingrich’s departures from the public eye. I suppose where we might disagree is over the temporary nature of such departures, as well as how voluntary vs. forced they were. Nevertheless, thanks for your points! Blessings to you and yours too, as well as a Happy Thanksgiving.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @DonS,

    Thank you for that great reply–an example of how we can disagree in a civil manner. I also thank you for adding some additional points in your rebuttal, particularly mention of Gingrich’s departures from the public eye. I suppose where we might disagree is over the temporary nature of such departures, as well as how voluntary vs. forced they were. Nevertheless, thanks for your points! Blessings to you and yours too, as well as a Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Kevin

    I respect Newt’s knowledge and his ability to get things done as he did with Clinton in balancing the budgets during the late 1990′s. He may not have the personal purity of Ron Paul or Romney; but he does love this country. If you have listened to him at all for the last 30 years, he wants greatness for this nation.,….; unlike the current nice guy apologist…….

  • Kevin

    I respect Newt’s knowledge and his ability to get things done as he did with Clinton in balancing the budgets during the late 1990′s. He may not have the personal purity of Ron Paul or Romney; but he does love this country. If you have listened to him at all for the last 30 years, he wants greatness for this nation.,….; unlike the current nice guy apologist…….

  • Gary

    Steve @ 8
    “I wouldn’t care if he was messin’ around with Lady Gaga and Nancy Pelosi…at the same time.”

    Well, at least you’re being honest. And I agree with your principle, if not your conclusion. You’re an Anyone-but-Obama voter, and I get that.

    No, Newt’s divorces and remarriages should not enter into any serious discussions over his qualifications to be president. Depending on how you look at it, it may even help. All that matters is whether you can respect him in the role as our nation’s leader and the degree to which his policies line up with your own ideas of where the country should go.

    For my part, I think Mr. Gingrich is intelligent and interesting, knows his way around the hill to better get things done, and has a reputation for being a man with ideas. I’m sure he’d make a decent president, but in my opinion he’ll never get elected. I really doubt whether he has a strong chance of even getting his party’s nomination.

    In any case, I’m not an Anyone-but-Obama voter. I don’t know at this point who I’ll vote for, but I won’t be even a little bit upset if the President is elected to a second term.

  • Gary

    Steve @ 8
    “I wouldn’t care if he was messin’ around with Lady Gaga and Nancy Pelosi…at the same time.”

    Well, at least you’re being honest. And I agree with your principle, if not your conclusion. You’re an Anyone-but-Obama voter, and I get that.

    No, Newt’s divorces and remarriages should not enter into any serious discussions over his qualifications to be president. Depending on how you look at it, it may even help. All that matters is whether you can respect him in the role as our nation’s leader and the degree to which his policies line up with your own ideas of where the country should go.

    For my part, I think Mr. Gingrich is intelligent and interesting, knows his way around the hill to better get things done, and has a reputation for being a man with ideas. I’m sure he’d make a decent president, but in my opinion he’ll never get elected. I really doubt whether he has a strong chance of even getting his party’s nomination.

    In any case, I’m not an Anyone-but-Obama voter. I don’t know at this point who I’ll vote for, but I won’t be even a little bit upset if the President is elected to a second term.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    No on Newt!
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    No on Newt!
    C-CS

  • Kevin

    I don’t care for Newt’s positions on our meddling in world affairs and spending so much for wars. His agreement to throw away the bill of rights for a perception of security is 180 degrees from what I thought he would support (i.e. Patriot Act). Finally, his amnesty leanings toward immigration are a concern as he would allow a continued drain on our nation, though I do like the idea of fast tracking qualified productive immigration. I’m sure it is obvious I would support Ron Paul first, but Newt would possibly be my #2 at this point.

  • Kevin

    I don’t care for Newt’s positions on our meddling in world affairs and spending so much for wars. His agreement to throw away the bill of rights for a perception of security is 180 degrees from what I thought he would support (i.e. Patriot Act). Finally, his amnesty leanings toward immigration are a concern as he would allow a continued drain on our nation, though I do like the idea of fast tracking qualified productive immigration. I’m sure it is obvious I would support Ron Paul first, but Newt would possibly be my #2 at this point.

  • JunkerGeorg

    I don’t like Newt’s desire to bolster the unconstitutional Patriot Act even more than it is now either. But he’s supposedly smarter than Benjamin Franklin, who said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” You know, if RP runs as a third party, the pundits thinks he has no chance. But what if his V.P. running mate is a Demorat like Dennis Kucinich? I think that would be a formidable third party ticket. Yes, a longshot, but not impossible.

  • JunkerGeorg

    I don’t like Newt’s desire to bolster the unconstitutional Patriot Act even more than it is now either. But he’s supposedly smarter than Benjamin Franklin, who said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” You know, if RP runs as a third party, the pundits thinks he has no chance. But what if his V.P. running mate is a Demorat like Dennis Kucinich? I think that would be a formidable third party ticket. Yes, a longshot, but not impossible.

  • WisdomLover

    Here’s a great slogan for Ron Paul’s Third-Party Run:

    Three Cheers for the Constitution
    (Now let’s give the world to its enemies)

  • WisdomLover

    Here’s a great slogan for Ron Paul’s Third-Party Run:

    Three Cheers for the Constitution
    (Now let’s give the world to its enemies)

  • dougfromupland

    Obama v. Gingrich? Newt definitely has some issues, but in that race, it is an easy call. Our nation will not survive four more years of a Marxist. He told us he would be transformational. He has disdain for our Constitution. He thinks he is above the law. Oh, for those who attack Gingrich and defend Clinton, as bad as his personal transgressions, Gingrich did not rape Juanita Broaddrick or assault Kathleen Willey in the Oval Office. He did not commit perjury or subborn perjury. He did not hide evidence and intimidate witnesses.

  • dougfromupland

    Obama v. Gingrich? Newt definitely has some issues, but in that race, it is an easy call. Our nation will not survive four more years of a Marxist. He told us he would be transformational. He has disdain for our Constitution. He thinks he is above the law. Oh, for those who attack Gingrich and defend Clinton, as bad as his personal transgressions, Gingrich did not rape Juanita Broaddrick or assault Kathleen Willey in the Oval Office. He did not commit perjury or subborn perjury. He did not hide evidence and intimidate witnesses.

  • Grace

    dougfromupland @ 32

    Excellent points – most of which are forgotten .. on purpose!

  • Grace

    dougfromupland @ 32

    Excellent points – most of which are forgotten .. on purpose!

  • FoC’er

    Please read carefully. Did I say she was on her “deathbed”? Sheez. But she was hospitalized at the time of the “visit “, i.e. “divorce discussion.” Such graciousness. Still, he divorced her. That their marriage was “in trouble” justifies that? C’mon man, wake up. Philanderer, he is. Wasn’t Calista one of his staffers at that time?

  • FoC’er

    Please read carefully. Did I say she was on her “deathbed”? Sheez. But she was hospitalized at the time of the “visit “, i.e. “divorce discussion.” Such graciousness. Still, he divorced her. That their marriage was “in trouble” justifies that? C’mon man, wake up. Philanderer, he is. Wasn’t Calista one of his staffers at that time?

  • FoC’er

    tODD: I stand corrected. You are right. According to the newspaper article you linked, Newt’s visit to his ailing first-wife did not involve him serving divorce papers. The article pegged that as a distortion. That a divorce discussion between the then estranged couple did take place in a hospital was noted. Yet, I did say Newt handed his wife a writ of divorce. I’m not withdrawing that statement for the following. It ought to be obvious to any half-ways legally astute U.S. citizen that a divorcement action lies within the domain of the courts and, not unilaterally, in the hands of a disaffected spouse. I speak with hyperbole. It is an allusion to the stern warning Jesus issued to the Pharisees who, when they wanted to rid themselves of a spouse who no longer suited them, hastily scrawled the most petty reason (i.e., burnt toast) on note, handed it their instant ex–all under the guise of a legally allowable action. Then, on the the next partner. My point is simply Gingrich’s lack of integrity. He divorced his second wife while at the same time he was engaging in sexual immorality with a staffer close to half his age. That’s not only reprehensible, it’s creepy. And yet in his latest book “Winning the Future: The 21st Century Contract with America” (Henry Regnery, publisher), Gingrich says he was “born a Lutheran, raised in the Missouri Synod, converted as a young adult to being Southern Baptist.” Yet, for the sake of his mistress, er, wife #3, Newt has converted to Roman Catholicism. Why does he reference a connection to Christianity, when he has so repeatedly trampled the sanctity of a life-long, monogamous union Christian marriage upholds? “Having a form of godliness, yet denying its power.” I have to hand it to Newt, if he is anything, he is consistent. He has changed doctrinal confessions as many times as he has contracted different wives. Bottom line: If Newt can’t manage to maintain a vow of fidelity before God and witnesses to one woman, what convincing reason is there to surmise he will manage differently when it comes to an oath he makes to the state? Untrustworthy, he is.

  • FoC’er

    tODD: I stand corrected. You are right. According to the newspaper article you linked, Newt’s visit to his ailing first-wife did not involve him serving divorce papers. The article pegged that as a distortion. That a divorce discussion between the then estranged couple did take place in a hospital was noted. Yet, I did say Newt handed his wife a writ of divorce. I’m not withdrawing that statement for the following. It ought to be obvious to any half-ways legally astute U.S. citizen that a divorcement action lies within the domain of the courts and, not unilaterally, in the hands of a disaffected spouse. I speak with hyperbole. It is an allusion to the stern warning Jesus issued to the Pharisees who, when they wanted to rid themselves of a spouse who no longer suited them, hastily scrawled the most petty reason (i.e., burnt toast) on note, handed it their instant ex–all under the guise of a legally allowable action. Then, on the the next partner. My point is simply Gingrich’s lack of integrity. He divorced his second wife while at the same time he was engaging in sexual immorality with a staffer close to half his age. That’s not only reprehensible, it’s creepy. And yet in his latest book “Winning the Future: The 21st Century Contract with America” (Henry Regnery, publisher), Gingrich says he was “born a Lutheran, raised in the Missouri Synod, converted as a young adult to being Southern Baptist.” Yet, for the sake of his mistress, er, wife #3, Newt has converted to Roman Catholicism. Why does he reference a connection to Christianity, when he has so repeatedly trampled the sanctity of a life-long, monogamous union Christian marriage upholds? “Having a form of godliness, yet denying its power.” I have to hand it to Newt, if he is anything, he is consistent. He has changed doctrinal confessions as many times as he has contracted different wives. Bottom line: If Newt can’t manage to maintain a vow of fidelity before God and witnesses to one woman, what convincing reason is there to surmise he will manage differently when it comes to an oath he makes to the state? Untrustworthy, he is.

  • Jean

    I’m with Patrick, Jonathan, FoC’er and any others who are bothered by the repeat cheating. I guess I can see other peoples’ point that a person’s politics don’t necessarily have anything to do with their marriage, and how remaining faithful isn’t part of the “vocation” of President.

    But to me, actually, it sort of IS.

    To me, one of the president’s jobs is to be fair, balanced, just and loyal. He’s supposed to represent the people of America. I don’t like having a cheater represent me.

    If a guy is willing to break his marriage vows – repeatedly – then what other oaths is he going to break? To me it speaks to a person’s character. I’m not at all religious (I’m an atheist, in fact, so this is coming from a different place than some of the other comments here), so the “we’ve all sinned” argument doesn’t really hold any water for me, but I get the essential point that people make mistakes. But how hard is it to NOT cheat on your spouse? If the marriage is over, then get divorced. Don’t betray your vows. Don’t betray them repeatedly. Legitimizing the affair with a second marriage (and then legitimizing the next affair with the third marriage) doesn’t make it okay. That’s not a “mistake”, that’s choosing to violate something you swore in good trust. I don’t want someone who thinks that’s okay to be president.

  • Jean

    I’m with Patrick, Jonathan, FoC’er and any others who are bothered by the repeat cheating. I guess I can see other peoples’ point that a person’s politics don’t necessarily have anything to do with their marriage, and how remaining faithful isn’t part of the “vocation” of President.

    But to me, actually, it sort of IS.

    To me, one of the president’s jobs is to be fair, balanced, just and loyal. He’s supposed to represent the people of America. I don’t like having a cheater represent me.

    If a guy is willing to break his marriage vows – repeatedly – then what other oaths is he going to break? To me it speaks to a person’s character. I’m not at all religious (I’m an atheist, in fact, so this is coming from a different place than some of the other comments here), so the “we’ve all sinned” argument doesn’t really hold any water for me, but I get the essential point that people make mistakes. But how hard is it to NOT cheat on your spouse? If the marriage is over, then get divorced. Don’t betray your vows. Don’t betray them repeatedly. Legitimizing the affair with a second marriage (and then legitimizing the next affair with the third marriage) doesn’t make it okay. That’s not a “mistake”, that’s choosing to violate something you swore in good trust. I don’t want someone who thinks that’s okay to be president.

  • John

    Retreating from public is not a requirement. Besides, when Ginrich left his seat and speaker of house – the GOP put pressure on him to do that because they were trying to Impeach Clinton at the time. If that wasn’t going on, he would have never resigned. What was funny, was that his elected replacement Bob Livingston was doing the same thing and had to turn down the job before he even took over.

  • John

    Retreating from public is not a requirement. Besides, when Ginrich left his seat and speaker of house – the GOP put pressure on him to do that because they were trying to Impeach Clinton at the time. If that wasn’t going on, he would have never resigned. What was funny, was that his elected replacement Bob Livingston was doing the same thing and had to turn down the job before he even took over.

  • John

    Look it this way. Reagan ran as the first divorced candidate that became President – whatever happened with Jane Wyman, he remained faithful to Nancy and people were able to look past the divorce. While in office, the Clintons worked through their problems with his transgressions and toughed it out – they are still married. A reflection of what happens to a lot of average Americans. Newt being on his 3rd wife – some people feel he couldn’t work through those problems (not once like with Reagan, but now twice), people starting thinking this is a character flaw – then what would happen with things get tough if he were President. People were making the same observation about Palin for resigning Gov., which is probably why she didn’t bother to run in this election.

  • John

    Look it this way. Reagan ran as the first divorced candidate that became President – whatever happened with Jane Wyman, he remained faithful to Nancy and people were able to look past the divorce. While in office, the Clintons worked through their problems with his transgressions and toughed it out – they are still married. A reflection of what happens to a lot of average Americans. Newt being on his 3rd wife – some people feel he couldn’t work through those problems (not once like with Reagan, but now twice), people starting thinking this is a character flaw – then what would happen with things get tough if he were President. People were making the same observation about Palin for resigning Gov., which is probably why she didn’t bother to run in this election.


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