Why the “open marriage” charge makes Newt more popular

The rumor on the Drudge Report was that Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife would come out with revelations that would sink his campaign.  It didn’t work that way.  Her interview, along with Newt’s smackdown of CNN’s John King for bringing it up to lead off the last debate, seems to have created a backlash of sympathy.

The biggest revelation was that he had asked his wife for an “open marriage.”  But he didn’t exactly say that.

Marianne Gingrich told The Post that when her husband told her he was leaving, “He said the problem with me was I wanted him all to myself. I said, ‘That’s what marriage is.’ Of Callista, he said, ‘She doesn’t care what I do.’ ”

“He was asking me for an open marriage,’’ Marianne Gingrich said, “and I wouldn’t do it.” She said Gingrich already saw Callista as his first lady, though, telling Marianne, “In a few years I’m going to run for president. She’s going to help me become president.”

Still bad and embarrassing to listen to, but the issue is old-fashioned adultery rather than 1970s-style open marriage, as such.  The above is quoted from an article in the Washington Post about how women are not being particularly sympathetic to Mrs. Gingrich #2:

If anything, Republican women interviewed here today seemed even more supportive than men of the way Newt Gingrich handled debate moderator John King’s question about ex-wife Marianne’s allegation that the GOP presidential candidate had asked her for an open marriage as their union was falling apart in 1999.

They definitely expressed less sympathy for Marianne, Gingrich’s second wife, who told ABC News and The Washington Post that her husband had wanted her to “share” him with Callista, now his third wife, as they were breaking up. Several women noted that since Gingrich was also married, to his first wife, Jackie, when Marianne got involved with him, his infidelity should not have come as a surprise to her.

Kathleen Parker offers an explanation of why digging up transgressions and taking them public can make the accused more popular, as it did also with Bill Clinton:

The more you pick on a person for human failings with which all can identify, the more likely you will create sympathy rather than antipathy, especially if that individual has been forthright in his confession and penitent for his transgression, as Gingrich has been. He was ahead of the curveball this time, with nothing left to tell or for his aggrieved former wife to expose. Thus, her interview and the King question had the feel not of revelation but of a political hit aided and abetted by a salacious press.

Even Bill Clinton, who was less forthcoming and therefore, at least initially, less sympathetic, came to be viewed as a victim following months of investigation and the airing of sordid details only voyeurs could enjoy. Starr, as King, was merely doing his job, yet he became less likable than Clinton among Regular Joes watching television in their kitchens. However nobly Republicans may have considered their mission, everyday Americans — particularly men — saw persecution.

A Catholic friend captures the operative sentiment in terms Gingrich surely would appreciate. When she sees someone succumb to temptation or betray some other human frailty, she says: “I have those weeds in my garden.”

To err is human; to forgive divine. We like that way of thinking because we all need others’ forgiveness. When Gingrich turned to his audience and said that we all know pain — we all know people who have suffered pain — he instantly morphed from sinner to savior, the redeemer in chief. He correctly counted on the empathy of his fellow man, if not necessarily womankind, and won the moment.

But a moment is just that, and projection of the sort experienced by the Charleston, S.C., audience can be fraught with peril. Over-identification clouds judgment, and, though we are all sinners, we are not all running for president of the United States.

via Newt Gingrich and the forgiveness ploy – The Washington Post.

I appreciate all of that.  And I know very well that Christianity is about sin (from which no one is immune) but also redemption and forgiveness.  But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws.  Is that wrong of me?

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.

  • Pete

    “But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws. Is that wrong of me?”

    Well, yes. But we swim in a sea of character flaws. Newt’s bother me, yours bother me, mine bother me (…although mine don’t seem to bother me as much as yours bother me). Everybody I’ve ever met has had character flaws, even if I met them (him) in the mirror. And, interestingly, less character flaws does not seem to equal “more likely to be a good president”. Jimmy Carter was, in the opinion of many, one of the worst presidents we’ve had, yet he seems to be a person of admirable character.

  • Pete

    “But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws. Is that wrong of me?”

    Well, yes. But we swim in a sea of character flaws. Newt’s bother me, yours bother me, mine bother me (…although mine don’t seem to bother me as much as yours bother me). Everybody I’ve ever met has had character flaws, even if I met them (him) in the mirror. And, interestingly, less character flaws does not seem to equal “more likely to be a good president”. Jimmy Carter was, in the opinion of many, one of the worst presidents we’ve had, yet he seems to be a person of admirable character.

  • MichaelZ

    I think it is natural to be distracted by up-front failings that everyone can see. But I agree with the article that people have blown this way out of proportion and now people are seeing him as a persecuted victim of the smear press (including the Romney PAC).
    As I look at Gingrich, I see a man who is spot-on in all the policy areas that I care about, and a man with a record of legislative success. Comparing him to Romney is interesting. Gingrich was unfaithful and dishonest with his first two wives. Romney has been dishonest with the American people, changing his views on very important policies when the wind changed.
    Which sin is worse?

  • MichaelZ

    I think it is natural to be distracted by up-front failings that everyone can see. But I agree with the article that people have blown this way out of proportion and now people are seeing him as a persecuted victim of the smear press (including the Romney PAC).
    As I look at Gingrich, I see a man who is spot-on in all the policy areas that I care about, and a man with a record of legislative success. Comparing him to Romney is interesting. Gingrich was unfaithful and dishonest with his first two wives. Romney has been dishonest with the American people, changing his views on very important policies when the wind changed.
    Which sin is worse?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    It is one thing to admit that we are all sinners.

    It is quite another to simply wallow in sin or excuse it by shrugging it off and saying “everybody does it.”

    While I staunchly oppose Wesleyan perfectionism, I do have to admit that sometimes they make a good point when they accuse non-Wesleyans of using the “we’re all sinners” line as an excuse to fail to mortify our sins. We need to be very careful that we’re not viewing our innate depravity as something not to wrestle with.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    It is one thing to admit that we are all sinners.

    It is quite another to simply wallow in sin or excuse it by shrugging it off and saying “everybody does it.”

    While I staunchly oppose Wesleyan perfectionism, I do have to admit that sometimes they make a good point when they accuse non-Wesleyans of using the “we’re all sinners” line as an excuse to fail to mortify our sins. We need to be very careful that we’re not viewing our innate depravity as something not to wrestle with.

  • Joe

    If Newt has repented, he is surely forgiven. It does not follow that I have to ignore his past mistakes when deciding whether I want him as president.

    Personally, I find his infidelity problematic because the nature of it (“you have to share me”) appears to confirm my biggest fear regarding Newt. He is beyond an egomaniac.

  • Joe

    If Newt has repented, he is surely forgiven. It does not follow that I have to ignore his past mistakes when deciding whether I want him as president.

    Personally, I find his infidelity problematic because the nature of it (“you have to share me”) appears to confirm my biggest fear regarding Newt. He is beyond an egomaniac.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    It is not even his infedelity that is so galling. As Gene says – we are all sinners. It is his public hypocracy, and his refusal to publicly apologuise therefore, that is galling. He was getting up to all of this, WHILE persecuting Bill Clinton for the Lewinsky affair.

    A bastard all in his own class, for sure.

    That, and the fact that he, while obviously intelligent, is patently unstable, emotionally.

    All politicians flip-flop. Gingrich as much as Romney. Don’ be fooled by that talk. As a matter of fact, a politician that never changes his mind is probably a bit of a kook. And in campaigns, there is a lot of performing to the crowd, to be sure. They all do it – it is the nature of the game, unfortunately so, and one has to try and look past that, for ALL of them.

    But for the reasons ostated above, Gongric is an absolute no-no. An emotionally unstable, hypocritical bastard.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    It is not even his infedelity that is so galling. As Gene says – we are all sinners. It is his public hypocracy, and his refusal to publicly apologuise therefore, that is galling. He was getting up to all of this, WHILE persecuting Bill Clinton for the Lewinsky affair.

    A bastard all in his own class, for sure.

    That, and the fact that he, while obviously intelligent, is patently unstable, emotionally.

    All politicians flip-flop. Gingrich as much as Romney. Don’ be fooled by that talk. As a matter of fact, a politician that never changes his mind is probably a bit of a kook. And in campaigns, there is a lot of performing to the crowd, to be sure. They all do it – it is the nature of the game, unfortunately so, and one has to try and look past that, for ALL of them.

    But for the reasons ostated above, Gongric is an absolute no-no. An emotionally unstable, hypocritical bastard.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    “But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws. Is that wrong of me?”

    Absolutely not. Being a forgiven child of God, while great for Mr. Gingrich, is not a requirement for the presidential office. Having adequate character (a matter of achievable earthly righteousness) is a requirement for that office. That is why “we all make mistakes” just doesn’t wash as an excuse.

    Forgiveness makes us forgiven, but it does not immediately remove or improve our character flaws. Nor does forgiveness make us qualified for whatever job we may want. Unfortunately for Mr. Gingrich, he has a pattern of serial adultery. Maybe he has left that behind. But given the weight of that pattern, we really have only his word that he now knows the meaning of concepts like trust and fidelity.

    I don’t know why Republicans become so naive during their own primaries that they need this pointed out, but politicians tell lies in order to get elected. Their records are what we need to judge them by.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    “But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws. Is that wrong of me?”

    Absolutely not. Being a forgiven child of God, while great for Mr. Gingrich, is not a requirement for the presidential office. Having adequate character (a matter of achievable earthly righteousness) is a requirement for that office. That is why “we all make mistakes” just doesn’t wash as an excuse.

    Forgiveness makes us forgiven, but it does not immediately remove or improve our character flaws. Nor does forgiveness make us qualified for whatever job we may want. Unfortunately for Mr. Gingrich, he has a pattern of serial adultery. Maybe he has left that behind. But given the weight of that pattern, we really have only his word that he now knows the meaning of concepts like trust and fidelity.

    I don’t know why Republicans become so naive during their own primaries that they need this pointed out, but politicians tell lies in order to get elected. Their records are what we need to judge them by.

  • Cincinnatus

    MichaelZ@2:

    As I look at Gingrich, I see a man who is spot-on in all the policy areas that I care about, and a man with a record of legislative success.

    Really? Can I test the seriousness of these claims? For instance, are you on board with Gingrich’s serious proposals to execute all drug dealers or to ignore lawful rulings of the United States Supreme Court? And does his “record of legislative success” include the fact that he was ignominiously driven from his speakership by his own party?

    Everyone, especially conservatives, should find Gingrich’s infidelities deeply problematic. Not only are they prima facie odious, but they are also deeply hypocritical: this is a man who campaigns on a platform of “family values” (and who demagogued such “values” to impeach the President Clinton) even while simultaneously indulging in serial polygamy. It’s funny that we were (probably rightly) shocked and appalled by Herman Cain’s marital misdeeds. But Gingrich’s, which are at least as disgusting and evocative of sociopathic tendencies? Gingrich is apparently a “true conservative,” even though his personal life–which, because of his “values” platform, is relevant to his public policies–is one of the most unconservative spectacles of any recent Presidential candidate.

  • Cincinnatus

    MichaelZ@2:

    As I look at Gingrich, I see a man who is spot-on in all the policy areas that I care about, and a man with a record of legislative success.

    Really? Can I test the seriousness of these claims? For instance, are you on board with Gingrich’s serious proposals to execute all drug dealers or to ignore lawful rulings of the United States Supreme Court? And does his “record of legislative success” include the fact that he was ignominiously driven from his speakership by his own party?

    Everyone, especially conservatives, should find Gingrich’s infidelities deeply problematic. Not only are they prima facie odious, but they are also deeply hypocritical: this is a man who campaigns on a platform of “family values” (and who demagogued such “values” to impeach the President Clinton) even while simultaneously indulging in serial polygamy. It’s funny that we were (probably rightly) shocked and appalled by Herman Cain’s marital misdeeds. But Gingrich’s, which are at least as disgusting and evocative of sociopathic tendencies? Gingrich is apparently a “true conservative,” even though his personal life–which, because of his “values” platform, is relevant to his public policies–is one of the most unconservative spectacles of any recent Presidential candidate.

  • Tom Hering

    One the radio yesterday, one wag said he’d be more impressed if Newt, publicly, asked his second wife to forgive him.

    Some things are harder to do than others. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    One the radio yesterday, one wag said he’d be more impressed if Newt, publicly, asked his second wife to forgive him.

    Some things are harder to do than others. :-D

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Parker:

    “the more likely you will create sympathy rather than antipathy, especially if that individual has been forthright in his confession and penitent for his transgression, as Gingrich has been.”

    I’m just curious – what does his penitence entail? What does/did it look like? Anyone know? I struggle with this. I know a Christian could conceivably plan on divorcing their spouse because they are assured they can “get forgiveness later” – and maybe some do just that (even though we have no guarantee that God will empower us to want or embrace that forgiveness again, i.e. that He will preserve us in faith). That said, other Christians, probably just driven by their passion, may not think about this kind of thing as they plunge ahead (while perhaps discouraged mightily from doing so by others, with warnings, etc…).

    In any case, having been fortunate to have not known much divorce among family and friends, I have no idea what repentance looks like here – obviously, if you don’t remarry and neither does your divorced spouse, it would mean a willingness to go back to them (if they will have you). Right? But in the case where a person has remarried, what does it mean? I assume it means that you admit that what you did was wrong, and you come to really believe that if you had a chance to do it all over again, you would have decided differently.

    …As hard as that may be for your current spouse (the one you married after wrongly divorcing the one before…) – since it would seem to discount the validity or bond of the current marriage (I’m not saying it does this objectively)

    As I write this, I wonder if I might show myself to be very naive and might offend persons. If what I write angers you, please know that I am genuinely asking these questions. I want to uphold the Law of God even as I freely give the grace we are commanded to give 70 x 7.

    I know you guys are a fabulous group, which is why I feel led to ask these questions this morning. Thanks!

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Parker:

    “the more likely you will create sympathy rather than antipathy, especially if that individual has been forthright in his confession and penitent for his transgression, as Gingrich has been.”

    I’m just curious – what does his penitence entail? What does/did it look like? Anyone know? I struggle with this. I know a Christian could conceivably plan on divorcing their spouse because they are assured they can “get forgiveness later” – and maybe some do just that (even though we have no guarantee that God will empower us to want or embrace that forgiveness again, i.e. that He will preserve us in faith). That said, other Christians, probably just driven by their passion, may not think about this kind of thing as they plunge ahead (while perhaps discouraged mightily from doing so by others, with warnings, etc…).

    In any case, having been fortunate to have not known much divorce among family and friends, I have no idea what repentance looks like here – obviously, if you don’t remarry and neither does your divorced spouse, it would mean a willingness to go back to them (if they will have you). Right? But in the case where a person has remarried, what does it mean? I assume it means that you admit that what you did was wrong, and you come to really believe that if you had a chance to do it all over again, you would have decided differently.

    …As hard as that may be for your current spouse (the one you married after wrongly divorcing the one before…) – since it would seem to discount the validity or bond of the current marriage (I’m not saying it does this objectively)

    As I write this, I wonder if I might show myself to be very naive and might offend persons. If what I write angers you, please know that I am genuinely asking these questions. I want to uphold the Law of God even as I freely give the grace we are commanded to give 70 x 7.

    I know you guys are a fabulous group, which is why I feel led to ask these questions this morning. Thanks!

  • Rose

    “Gingrich turned to his audience and said that we all know pain — we all know people who have suffered pain”—-but it seems that he and Callista inflicted the pain.
    The debate showed the audience could have been in the Roman coloseum, identifying with the one who inflicts pain.
    We don’t want a Smackdown President, do we?

  • Rose

    “Gingrich turned to his audience and said that we all know pain — we all know people who have suffered pain”—-but it seems that he and Callista inflicted the pain.
    The debate showed the audience could have been in the Roman coloseum, identifying with the one who inflicts pain.
    We don’t want a Smackdown President, do we?

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    In writing what I did above, I did not mean to imply that Jesus does not allow persons to divorce their spouse in the case of adultery.

    ~Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    In writing what I did above, I did not mean to imply that Jesus does not allow persons to divorce their spouse in the case of adultery.

    ~Nathan

  • #4 Kitty

    @Tom Hering #8

    One the radio yesterday, one wag said he’d be more impressed if Newt, publicly, asked his second wife to forgive him.

    That would be a tremendous photo-op made spectacular if he could shed tears on command. I bet Clinton could do it.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Tom Hering #8

    One the radio yesterday, one wag said he’d be more impressed if Newt, publicly, asked his second wife to forgive him.

    That would be a tremendous photo-op made spectacular if he could shed tears on command. I bet Clinton could do it.

  • MichaelZ

    Cincinattus @7, Good questions.
    I couldn’t care less about anyone’s drug policy, honestly, neither party has a strong stand on it. But the drug war is a huge contributor to America’s homocide rate…so executions might be legitimate…JK.
    seriously though, I was bothered by his removal from speakership, and have done a little bit of exploring as to why that happened. It turns out is was predominately about ethics charges for violating House rules on tax policy. washingtonpost(DOT)com/wp-srv/politics/govt/leadership/stories/012297.htm
    In the end I am rather disappointed in all the options, except perhaps Santorum, if he can get his campaign in gear.

  • MichaelZ

    Cincinattus @7, Good questions.
    I couldn’t care less about anyone’s drug policy, honestly, neither party has a strong stand on it. But the drug war is a huge contributor to America’s homocide rate…so executions might be legitimate…JK.
    seriously though, I was bothered by his removal from speakership, and have done a little bit of exploring as to why that happened. It turns out is was predominately about ethics charges for violating House rules on tax policy. washingtonpost(DOT)com/wp-srv/politics/govt/leadership/stories/012297.htm
    In the end I am rather disappointed in all the options, except perhaps Santorum, if he can get his campaign in gear.

  • Dan Kempin

    So what role does sin have when it comes to vocation? Does faulty character or sinful failure preclude one from serving their vocation, or is vocation a remedy and therapy for those who desire to improve? Serious question. When do you say, “I don’t want that surgeon to operate on me because he left his wife.”

  • Dan Kempin

    So what role does sin have when it comes to vocation? Does faulty character or sinful failure preclude one from serving their vocation, or is vocation a remedy and therapy for those who desire to improve? Serious question. When do you say, “I don’t want that surgeon to operate on me because he left his wife.”

  • Tony McCargar

    What I would like to see more than Newt’s asking his 2nd wife for forgiveness is that both Newt and Mitt would turn to one another on stage and ask forgiveness of one another for wrongful things said and harboring of resentment. Then to vow not to go down that road but to only elucidate upon the plans that they have to righten our ship. I think Santorum for the most part is doing that. Maybe if the questions from the moderators wouldn’t set these guys up to go after one another would be a good start. I don’t know..Daily I float from despair of what we would come to as a nation under another 4 years of Obama to comfort in God’s sovereignty . And perhaps a good representation of repentance is King David’s ….same sin but a little different response, no?

  • Tony McCargar

    What I would like to see more than Newt’s asking his 2nd wife for forgiveness is that both Newt and Mitt would turn to one another on stage and ask forgiveness of one another for wrongful things said and harboring of resentment. Then to vow not to go down that road but to only elucidate upon the plans that they have to righten our ship. I think Santorum for the most part is doing that. Maybe if the questions from the moderators wouldn’t set these guys up to go after one another would be a good start. I don’t know..Daily I float from despair of what we would come to as a nation under another 4 years of Obama to comfort in God’s sovereignty . And perhaps a good representation of repentance is King David’s ….same sin but a little different response, no?

  • Larry Wilson

    That more so-called “evangelicals” are NOT bothered more by Newt’s character flaws is deeply troubling to me — http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/the-tempting-of-the-christian-right/

  • Larry Wilson

    That more so-called “evangelicals” are NOT bothered more by Newt’s character flaws is deeply troubling to me — http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/the-tempting-of-the-christian-right/

  • Steve Billingsley

    Dr. Veith
    It doesn’t trouble me at all that Gingrich’s character flaws bother you. It troubles me that they don’t seem to bother so many “values voters”. I believe in forgiveness and redemption and would readily welcome Mr. Gingrich into fellowship as a Christian – but that doesn’t mean he should be voted in as President of the United States. An analogy (that isn’t perfect, but I think it serves the purpose) would be if a pastor or Christian leader fell into a grievous sin (such as serial adultery and divorce or stealing money from the church or even committing a crime like murder) and repented publicly of his or her sin. I would certainly be willing to welcome them back into fellowship but restoring them to leadership would be a whole different matter (I am not saying it would always be impossible, but it would take much more than just admitting a mistake and saying “sorry” – there would have to be a real process of accountability and restoration that took significant time and oversight). My wife and I tell our boys that love is unconditional, but trust isn’t. I think that applies here.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Dr. Veith
    It doesn’t trouble me at all that Gingrich’s character flaws bother you. It troubles me that they don’t seem to bother so many “values voters”. I believe in forgiveness and redemption and would readily welcome Mr. Gingrich into fellowship as a Christian – but that doesn’t mean he should be voted in as President of the United States. An analogy (that isn’t perfect, but I think it serves the purpose) would be if a pastor or Christian leader fell into a grievous sin (such as serial adultery and divorce or stealing money from the church or even committing a crime like murder) and repented publicly of his or her sin. I would certainly be willing to welcome them back into fellowship but restoring them to leadership would be a whole different matter (I am not saying it would always be impossible, but it would take much more than just admitting a mistake and saying “sorry” – there would have to be a real process of accountability and restoration that took significant time and oversight). My wife and I tell our boys that love is unconditional, but trust isn’t. I think that applies here.

  • Dan

    “But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws. Is that wrong of me?”

    Potentially. But the way Newt has talked about this has left me a concern, an unresolved worry.

    We take Newt’s word that he is a changed man, repentant and forgiven. Within his same discussion of his repentance he said, “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

    So, if Newt has accurately recognized that working in DC corrupts good men and that he, in particular, is susceptible to that temptation, would any Christian wish him back into that temptation? If being speaker of the House was hard, being President will not be any less tempting.

  • Dan

    “But I’m still bothered by Newt’s manifest character flaws. Is that wrong of me?”

    Potentially. But the way Newt has talked about this has left me a concern, an unresolved worry.

    We take Newt’s word that he is a changed man, repentant and forgiven. Within his same discussion of his repentance he said, “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

    So, if Newt has accurately recognized that working in DC corrupts good men and that he, in particular, is susceptible to that temptation, would any Christian wish him back into that temptation? If being speaker of the House was hard, being President will not be any less tempting.

  • Jon

    Newt knows he’s playing to saps. What pain does he know? He – not his wives – broke up 2 of his 3 marriages through adultery. He left wives 1 and 2 when they were ill; he called wife 2 a liar during his santimonious ‘smackdown’ of CNN last week; he, like Tom notes above, has never apologized to her. He was forced to make child support and alimony payments to wife 1, with whom he had two children. Newt’s a guy who inflicts pain – he doesn’t suffer it himself, unless you call it painful to get called out for despicable behavior. He’s a first class grifter, and it’s remarkable how many people think he’s repentent. Wasn’t it just a few months ago when he claimed he’d been unfaithful to his wife because he was working too hard for his country?

    When CNN asked about wife 2′s allegation, Newt could have simply said (assuming sincerity), “All I want to say is, I deeply regret my behavior and I want, here and now, to apologize publicly to Marianne. I will regret my behavior for the rest of my life.” I, for one, would have applauded that. But he used the occasion to lash out at the media for asking the question – and in all that ‘rage,’ said that what wife 2 was saying was, by the way, ‘false.’ Well, what was false?

    He knew there’d be no follow up. So he had the thrill of bashing the media and wife 2 with one blow and is not held accountable. Instead, people sympathize with his ‘pain.’ Hah.

  • Jon

    Newt knows he’s playing to saps. What pain does he know? He – not his wives – broke up 2 of his 3 marriages through adultery. He left wives 1 and 2 when they were ill; he called wife 2 a liar during his santimonious ‘smackdown’ of CNN last week; he, like Tom notes above, has never apologized to her. He was forced to make child support and alimony payments to wife 1, with whom he had two children. Newt’s a guy who inflicts pain – he doesn’t suffer it himself, unless you call it painful to get called out for despicable behavior. He’s a first class grifter, and it’s remarkable how many people think he’s repentent. Wasn’t it just a few months ago when he claimed he’d been unfaithful to his wife because he was working too hard for his country?

    When CNN asked about wife 2′s allegation, Newt could have simply said (assuming sincerity), “All I want to say is, I deeply regret my behavior and I want, here and now, to apologize publicly to Marianne. I will regret my behavior for the rest of my life.” I, for one, would have applauded that. But he used the occasion to lash out at the media for asking the question – and in all that ‘rage,’ said that what wife 2 was saying was, by the way, ‘false.’ Well, what was false?

    He knew there’d be no follow up. So he had the thrill of bashing the media and wife 2 with one blow and is not held accountable. Instead, people sympathize with his ‘pain.’ Hah.

  • Dan

    MichaelZ@13 –

    Conservatives tried to push Newt out in year 3, too. We don’t and won’t know the full story of why Newt was successfully pushed out in his fourth year. It’s enough for me that respectable guys like Tom Coburn say they can’t support Gingrich and won’t go into the details. Or put it like this – find me a guy who worked with Newt back then who does support him.

    As for Santorum and his difficult maintaing traction – my view, especially in a year like this, is to support the best candidate regardless of his poll numbers until he’s out. Santorum won’t be quitting any time soon. He knows that either Newt himself or the party will eventually undermine Newt’s campaign. And Romney hasn’t shown the ability to close. It’s still “Game on.”

  • Dan

    MichaelZ@13 –

    Conservatives tried to push Newt out in year 3, too. We don’t and won’t know the full story of why Newt was successfully pushed out in his fourth year. It’s enough for me that respectable guys like Tom Coburn say they can’t support Gingrich and won’t go into the details. Or put it like this – find me a guy who worked with Newt back then who does support him.

    As for Santorum and his difficult maintaing traction – my view, especially in a year like this, is to support the best candidate regardless of his poll numbers until he’s out. Santorum won’t be quitting any time soon. He knows that either Newt himself or the party will eventually undermine Newt’s campaign. And Romney hasn’t shown the ability to close. It’s still “Game on.”

  • Dan

    Nathan @9&11 –

    I Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5, Matthew 19 are some of the more important texts for how I understand this.

    My view is that the New Testament teaches Christians- not all people- to seek absolute monogamy. The divorced, even the victim of adultery, should remain unmarried. The widowed should remain unmarried. This is a hard teaching which not everyone can accept, and not all pastors teach it, let alone all Christians believe it. Nevertheless, absolute monogamy is not just a blessing to families, it is also a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church.

    So someone who is repentant for a divorce should remain unmarried. Someone who is repentant for adultery should cut off his relationship with his partner in adultery.

    Exception 1: if someone has remarried his adulterous partner before repenting, I do not believe he should leave the person he is then with, especially if there are children involved. Exception to the exception: there may be some scenarios in which it might be possible for a spouse to return to the original spouse and do good, especially if there are not children in the second relationship.

    Exception 2: if someone whose previous spouse has died finds a corporal need for a marriage partner and additional parent, it would not be a sin to remarry, just not the ideal situation.

    Qualification: Because this teaching has mostly disappeared from the modern Western church, it should be clear that this is my advice on how Christians should act, not advice on how to judge whether a public figure has or has not repented.

  • Dan

    Nathan @9&11 –

    I Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5, Matthew 19 are some of the more important texts for how I understand this.

    My view is that the New Testament teaches Christians- not all people- to seek absolute monogamy. The divorced, even the victim of adultery, should remain unmarried. The widowed should remain unmarried. This is a hard teaching which not everyone can accept, and not all pastors teach it, let alone all Christians believe it. Nevertheless, absolute monogamy is not just a blessing to families, it is also a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church.

    So someone who is repentant for a divorce should remain unmarried. Someone who is repentant for adultery should cut off his relationship with his partner in adultery.

    Exception 1: if someone has remarried his adulterous partner before repenting, I do not believe he should leave the person he is then with, especially if there are children involved. Exception to the exception: there may be some scenarios in which it might be possible for a spouse to return to the original spouse and do good, especially if there are not children in the second relationship.

    Exception 2: if someone whose previous spouse has died finds a corporal need for a marriage partner and additional parent, it would not be a sin to remarry, just not the ideal situation.

    Qualification: Because this teaching has mostly disappeared from the modern Western church, it should be clear that this is my advice on how Christians should act, not advice on how to judge whether a public figure has or has not repented.

  • –helen

    Paul says that younger widows should remarry; I suspect it wasn’t even a question for younger widowers! (Or old ones either.)

    My view is that the New Testament teaches Christians- not all people- to seek absolute monogamy. The divorced, even the victim of adultery, should remain unmarried. –Dan

    ‘Not all people’ sounds reasonable; you can’t legislate for unbelievers in this area.
    (It would be helpful if they felt the same way about legislating their moral values/lack thereof for Christians!)

  • –helen

    Paul says that younger widows should remarry; I suspect it wasn’t even a question for younger widowers! (Or old ones either.)

    My view is that the New Testament teaches Christians- not all people- to seek absolute monogamy. The divorced, even the victim of adultery, should remain unmarried. –Dan

    ‘Not all people’ sounds reasonable; you can’t legislate for unbelievers in this area.
    (It would be helpful if they felt the same way about legislating their moral values/lack thereof for Christians!)

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    Forgiveness is not the same as trust. I would be more specific, but I think that others have already addressed this issue adequately. Gingrich may not be the serial flipflopper Romney is, yet Gingrich’s attack on Romney over his wealth shows he is willing to say anything to be elected if he is deperate enough. That should be troubling to those looking for a reliable conservative. Only Santorum has remained disciplined not to attack capitalism when seeking to differentiate himself from the other candidates.

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    Forgiveness is not the same as trust. I would be more specific, but I think that others have already addressed this issue adequately. Gingrich may not be the serial flipflopper Romney is, yet Gingrich’s attack on Romney over his wealth shows he is willing to say anything to be elected if he is deperate enough. That should be troubling to those looking for a reliable conservative. Only Santorum has remained disciplined not to attack capitalism when seeking to differentiate himself from the other candidates.

  • Grace

    John @ 23

    There is much, much more at stake here than what you mentioned in your post.

    I have stated it before and state it again. Newt Gingrich asked God to forgive him.

    Mormons believe that they will one day be gods, as did Joseph Smith. It is against HOLY Scripture – those who would sanction, believe or embrace such beliefs or support those who do, have no concept as to what the Bible states.

    Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
    Isaiah 45:21

  • Grace

    John @ 23

    There is much, much more at stake here than what you mentioned in your post.

    I have stated it before and state it again. Newt Gingrich asked God to forgive him.

    Mormons believe that they will one day be gods, as did Joseph Smith. It is against HOLY Scripture – those who would sanction, believe or embrace such beliefs or support those who do, have no concept as to what the Bible states.

    Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
    Isaiah 45:21

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@24):

    those who would sanction, believe or embrace such beliefs or support those who do, have no concept as to what the Bible states.

    Which then prompts the question: by so vociferously supporting Gingrich, Grace, do you thereby support all the (unbiblical) teachings of the Catholic Church and the Pope who leads it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@24):

    those who would sanction, believe or embrace such beliefs or support those who do, have no concept as to what the Bible states.

    Which then prompts the question: by so vociferously supporting Gingrich, Grace, do you thereby support all the (unbiblical) teachings of the Catholic Church and the Pope who leads it?

  • JunkerGeorg

    Bazinga!

  • JunkerGeorg

    Bazinga!

  • Dan Kempin

    No takers on the vocation question? (#12) I’m surprised. It seems worthwhile to me in guiding the discussion. Most of the discussion here seems to be evaluating whether Newt would make a good president of the church council.

    Now please, I am not trying to joint the thrust and parry of candidate placement here. I am not arguing for or against Newt. I am looking for some clarity in thinking this through.

    On a vocational level, would you (or have you) see a doctor who is, say, a Muslim? An atheist? Would you hire a devout Mormon or Jehova’s Witness as your lawyer? If an employee of your business mistreated his wife, would you as his employer have some obligation to the situation?

    This is a blog on vocation, after all.

  • Dan Kempin

    No takers on the vocation question? (#12) I’m surprised. It seems worthwhile to me in guiding the discussion. Most of the discussion here seems to be evaluating whether Newt would make a good president of the church council.

    Now please, I am not trying to joint the thrust and parry of candidate placement here. I am not arguing for or against Newt. I am looking for some clarity in thinking this through.

    On a vocational level, would you (or have you) see a doctor who is, say, a Muslim? An atheist? Would you hire a devout Mormon or Jehova’s Witness as your lawyer? If an employee of your business mistreated his wife, would you as his employer have some obligation to the situation?

    This is a blog on vocation, after all.

  • Dan Kempin

    (Oops! The vocation question is #14. Sorry kitty!)

  • Dan Kempin

    (Oops! The vocation question is #14. Sorry kitty!)

  • Cincinnatus

    Dan@27: The question is valid in general, but moot in this case. We’re talking about a candidate who has specifically campaigned on a family values platform, and who made it his quest in the 1990′s to impeach a President for sexual misconduct–even as he himself was in the midst of destroying his marriage. In short, Newt isn’t the “victim” of a biased media; he himself made his personal life an object of relevance and concern.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dan@27: The question is valid in general, but moot in this case. We’re talking about a candidate who has specifically campaigned on a family values platform, and who made it his quest in the 1990′s to impeach a President for sexual misconduct–even as he himself was in the midst of destroying his marriage. In short, Newt isn’t the “victim” of a biased media; he himself made his personal life an object of relevance and concern.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus @ 29 – exactly, that is the point. Till he stands up and publicaly apologises to the world, and Bill Clinton in particular, for his hypocracy, (because it was a public sin – not the affair, the hypocracy), the whole “changed man” thing is a bit farcical.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus @ 29 – exactly, that is the point. Till he stands up and publicaly apologises to the world, and Bill Clinton in particular, for his hypocracy, (because it was a public sin – not the affair, the hypocracy), the whole “changed man” thing is a bit farcical.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK: I couldn’t possibly care less whether Newt apologizes to anyone, much less a clown like Clinton. But I do wish self-described conservatives, who are presumably interested in conserving various traditional marital arrangements and moral standards, would stop defending him. And not just defending him as a candidate, but specifically and explicitly defending his personal life.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK: I couldn’t possibly care less whether Newt apologizes to anyone, much less a clown like Clinton. But I do wish self-described conservatives, who are presumably interested in conserving various traditional marital arrangements and moral standards, would stop defending him. And not just defending him as a candidate, but specifically and explicitly defending his personal life.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think both Dan (@27) and Cincinnatus (@29) raise valid points, though obviously we all have different standards as to what matters to us.

    Dan’s point is well taken that a man’s personal life doesn’t necessarily have any impact whatsoever on a particular vocation — notably, as a politician (or doctor). But then Cincinnatus’ point is well taken that it’s not his personal life, per se, but his blatant hypocrisy.

    One could, of course, continue this line of thinking and say that even hypocrisy need not have an impact on the vocation of a politician. After all, just as we are all sinners like Newt, we are also, to some degree or another, all hypocrites like Newt — we all profess a higher standard (and expect it of others) than we actually hold to ourselves. One could argue that Newt’s standards have always been laudable; it’s just his adherence to them that’s been so lacking.

    Myself, I’m still inclined to not care terribly much about either his affairs or his blatant hypocrisy, as such. Because neither matters to me as much as do his policy ideas, which are enough reason to think he’s not the best choice for president.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think both Dan (@27) and Cincinnatus (@29) raise valid points, though obviously we all have different standards as to what matters to us.

    Dan’s point is well taken that a man’s personal life doesn’t necessarily have any impact whatsoever on a particular vocation — notably, as a politician (or doctor). But then Cincinnatus’ point is well taken that it’s not his personal life, per se, but his blatant hypocrisy.

    One could, of course, continue this line of thinking and say that even hypocrisy need not have an impact on the vocation of a politician. After all, just as we are all sinners like Newt, we are also, to some degree or another, all hypocrites like Newt — we all profess a higher standard (and expect it of others) than we actually hold to ourselves. One could argue that Newt’s standards have always been laudable; it’s just his adherence to them that’s been so lacking.

    Myself, I’m still inclined to not care terribly much about either his affairs or his blatant hypocrisy, as such. Because neither matters to me as much as do his policy ideas, which are enough reason to think he’s not the best choice for president.


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