Frank Beckwith Tries to Reason with Christian Gingrich Supporters

He writes about Gingrich’s chutzpah-filled performance in SC:

Here’s the portion of the exchange I’d like to isolate:

“Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”

The Speaker is, of course, correct that “every person in here knows personal pain.” No one doubts that. But, in this case, the personal pain suffered by his ex-wife was inflicted by Gingrich. For this reason, the appropriate response for the Speaker should have been something like this, “Every person in here knows personal pain, just like the pain suffered by my ex-wife. And, I am ashamed to admit that I am the one who caused this pain. So, I don’t at all disparage her for what she has said about me. That’s the man I was: self-absorbed, uncaring, thinking myself as someone above the moral law. My conversion to Catholicism, and the absolution I received for my sins, was the first step on my way to becoming the man I ought to be.”

But what we heard from Gingrich was a complaint about his pain, as if he were the victim! But not in relation to his personal virtue and his formation as a Christian, as if King’s question was a stumbling block to his internal sanctification. Rather, Gingrich was upset that the question about his ex-wife was asked in a debate, in his words, “two days before the primary [as] a significant question for a presidential campaign.” This is what he judged “as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.” Either the Speaker lacks imagination or he is so self-absorbed that he instinctively converts his ex-wife’s pain into a question about his personal ambition to become President of the United States. Now, that’s despicable.

Baptism is grace, not magic. And it must yield the fruits of repentance. So far, Newt’s fruits are full of apple maggots. The narcissism, sociopathy, and hubris–not to mention the graft, corruptions, and transparent falsehoods of thi

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  • Margaret

    To quote Carl, the hat-wearing llama, slighted by something Paul has said in response to Carl’s toppling a government, causing widespread bloodshed and eating at least one person whole: “That hurt my feelings. Now we’re both in the wrong.”

  • The narcissism, sociopathy, and hubris–not to mention the graft, corruptions, and transparent falsehoods of thi

    Mark, it looks like something chomped off the end of this blog post.

    • Thomas R

      He gets in such a rage about Gingrich I’d almost like to think he stopped because of concern over that.

  • The fact is he was right. What the press did was bad. The ran an insensitive story and they did it to embarrass Gingrich and to get ratings. People get that. That is why Gingrich’s tactic works. It worked for Clinton as well. There is always somebody who reacts to your bad behavior in a bad way. So make their bad reaction the issue. It allows you to win the moment. When you opponent has 4 times your money it is hard to sustain the win but that is politics.

    • Joseph

      LOL. So as long as you’re good at poli-speak, you’re right?

  • Chris

    I’ve never felt more alienated from the American political system than I do right now. Much like Hollywood, it simply repels anyone of moral substance, even if they have the talent or the “calling”.

    I’m of the conviction that the power centers of our country (finance, media, politics) are so steeped in evil, there will be no correcting this flatspin without our willingness to be persecuted and suffer in penance for the sins of a nation blessed beyond compare, yet happy to spit in the face of our Maker. Remember the angel’s admonition at Fatima: “Penance, penance, penance.”

  • Eoin Suibhne

    Baptism is grace, not magic. And it must yield the fruits of repentance.

    Yes, yes, yes. I’ve been saying this very thing to a friend enamored with Gingrich, to no avail. To my suggestion that Newt stay out of the limelight and avoid public office my friend responded that “long penances are a thing of the past” and that “King David got back on his horse pretty quickly.”

    Oy vay.

    • Good grief! Gingrich is no King David. Let’s not make the sinner into a saint before his time. When Gingrich can compose something like Psalm 51 (50), I then might consider him to be of the same stature.

    • David C

      Imagine David saying to Nathan:

      “Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. It was painful for me when the wife of a loyal soldier committed adultery. It was painful for me and for Bathsheba when her valiant husband was killed in battle. My new wife and I are still in morning for her slain husband. To intrude upon our grief while the wounds are still fresh is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”

      • Deacon Nathan Allen

        Spot on! And don’t forget to add “…especially in this time of mourning for the death of our first child.”

    • Will

      As I said about Clinton, I knew King David. I served in the wars of the Lord with King David. King David was my friend. And you, sir, are no King David.

      • Eoin Suibhne

        Ha! That was my response to him!

  • Steve

    Careful, these pronouncements are dangerously close to judgmental of the person rather than the actions. Mr. Beckwith’s comments are very insightful.

    • Steve

      Should have had this in quotes:

      Newt’s fruits are full of apple maggots. The narcissism, sociopathy, and hubris–not to mention the graft, corruptions, and transparent falsehoods of thi

      We need to be careful of pronouncements that appear to judge the person rather than actions. Mr. Beckwith’s comments were very insightful.

  • Also, this is a comparatively little thing, but he apparently didn’t call Romney to congratulate him after the Florida victory. I see nothing to convince me that Gingrich is much different than he was pre-conversion, not that we should have expected anything else…

    I’m almost 23 years in to being a Catholic now, and I’m still nowhere near perfect. Prideful souls like me measure our growth in terms of years and decades, and Newt is probably the same way.

    • I sure wish Newt would drop out of the race, though. He’s killing the chances of Paul and Santorum, and making it more likely that Romney will get the nomination. In the remote chance that Gingrich wins the nomination, it will guarantee 4 more years of Obama. I am quite unimpressed with southern voters after 30-some percent of SC and FLA voters went for Newt.

      • ds

        You really believe Paul or Santorum have any chance?

        • Humanly speaking, no. I am praying for a miracle, however. One of them might have a chance, but it’s three social conservatives against a moderate, so they’re all splitting the vote.

          I doubt it really matters anyway. Paul is the only one that would actually change much of anything. Otherwise, we’ll just keep on racing down the steep hill to oblivion. Romney, Santorum or Gingrich might hit the brakes lightly instead of flooring the accelerator like Obama, but Paul is the only one that would pull the parachute.

      • And I’m unimpressed with Northern voters, to say the least, considering that seems to be where the base of support for the pro-abortion party is located..

        • True…but I just don’t get the support for Gingrich. That is analogous (though not quite as bad) to the Dems nominating John Edwards.

      • George Lower

        I was one of the 7% in Florida that voted for Paul. I can honestly say I don’t know what my neighbors were thinking…it really is very disconcerting.

  • Peggy R

    Ding! DIng! Ding! Ding! We have a winner.

    I agree completely. I was open to hearing what Newt had to say for months now. I became alarmed at his hubris which has been showing for a while. Yes, that answer suggesting he experienced and was a victim of personal pain was too much for me. He and his plastic wife #3 must not be rewarded with the WH. Santorum must stay in the race to prevent that among other reasons. Santorum has merit.

    What on earth possessed the SC folks to vote for him? If you look at some exit polling, people for whom the religion of the candidate was key went big for Newt. I suspect they think he’s still a Baptist regardless of his conversion. The network I watched suggested still some anti-Mormon sentiment and I guess some anti-Catholic, since Santorum is the lifelong Catholic faithful husband who has more in common w/evangelicals.

  • Chris
    • Judas

      Ironic you’re calling people Fascist, since “Fascism” was synonymous with “Catholic” in 20th Century Europe from Spain to Italy to Austria to Portugal to France. (Note: This is distinct from Nazism).

      • Thomas R

        Kind-of, but that’s partly due to the ignorance of Northern Europeans. I’ll give you the Iberians, more or less, but Mussolini was fairly anti-clerical. Also even when people associated Fascism to Catholic countries they were possibly aware of movements in Orthodox Romania and Greece that were essentially Fascist or even quasi-Nazi.

    • Judas

      Not to mention the Church’s loud support of Fascist military dictatorships in Latin American during the Cold War from Argentina to Brazil to Chile to Central America.

      Pinochet died a Catholic in good standing.

      • Even more amazing, Pelosi and Sebelius are currently Catholics in good standing!

        • Judas

          John Kerry and Patrick Kennedy have been threatened with being banned, or actually have been banned, from getting the wafer and two-ounce shot of cheap wine. I don’t believe Pinochet ever was.

      • Chris

        Heck, even you could die a Catholic in good standing. Clearly not versed in the Sacraments…

      • Romulus

        Pinochet died a Catholic in good standing.

        Poor Judas. You never did get it about God’s mercy, did you?

      • Thomas R

        Peron was excommunicated and so was Duvalier.

    • rakowskidp

      What business does the gov’t have telling a private charitable foundation how to spend its money?

      • Judas

        What business does the federal government have in owning a woman’s womb?

        • rakowskidp

          Hey folks, it looks like Reality Check is back! Let the fun begin!

          I noticed that you didn’t answer the question: why do these senators believe they should have the authority to tell a private charitable foundation what to do with its money?

          • Judas

            What laws have they proposed? They’re simply speaking out about their opinions.

            Now, who owns a womans womb: her, or the US government?

            • rakowskidp

              1) Stick to the topic – this isn’t about abortion, though I know you like to make EVERY topic posted to CAEI about abortion.
              2) They were speaking not as private citizens, but as a group of United States citizens. They were attempting to use their office to influence the financial decisions of a private charitable foundation.

              • rakowskidp

                D’oh! United States SENATORS, not citizens!

                • Judas

                  United States Senators aren’t allowed to express their opinions on what private charities do (especially when it impacts reproductive justice in such a manner?)

                  • rakowskidp

                    You honestly can’t see the difference between an individual senator, or individual senators, expressing their opinions independently, and a group of them banding together to write a letter urging a private charitable foundation to do the bidding of its pro-abort overlords?

                    • Judas

                      So free speech rights cease once you’re in public office? Interesting logic you have there.

                    • rakowskidp

                      When did I say they couldn’t speak?

                  • rakowskidp

                    And reproductive justice for whom? Certainly not the unborn child who did nothing at all to deserve death by dismemberment or chemical burn. That’s the very height of injustice – the powerful acting with brutal, deadly force against the powerless.

                    • DING! DING! DING!

        • The government shouldn’t care about the womb, as much as the child that is present in the womb. If a government does not protect the lives of the human beings living in it, it’s not much use.

          • Judas

            So who owns your wife’s womb? Is it her property or the property of the federal government? Quit sidestepping the question.

            • Neither. God owns it, but the government should step in if she is trying to kill a human being that happens to reside in it.

              • Judas

                Not everyone believes in your god.

                • They will, eventually.

                  • Judas

                    Nice fact-free assertion there. But they don’t, and won’t.

                    The vast majority of people that ever lived on this earth did not believe in Yahweh.

                    • And they all do now! But that’s not relevant to the argument here.

                • Romulus

                  Not being a human construct, God doesn’t depend on your belief.

                  • Judas

                    “Not being a human constrcut…”


                    On the contrary, gods are very dependent on us. Nobody fears Zeus or Apollo anymore or follows their commands precisely because no one believes in them.

                    I can only hope that in 200 years time belief in Yahweh is akin to belief in Zeus or Thor.

                    • Romulus

                      I’m liking that evil laugh, Judas. Did it take long to perfect? You are so bad.

                    • Judas

                      It’s not an evil laugh, it’s guffaw at the ridiculousness if your statement.

                      Yahweh is just as much a mental, human construct as Thor, Zeus, or Xenu from Scientology. He’s an Iron Age Sky god invented by disenfranchised Cannanites.

                    • Romulus

                      If Yahweh is so fake, why aren’t you spending more time trolling on Zeus and Thor-loving sites?

                    • Judas

                      Because people no longer believe in them, they’ve lost their power.

                      I debate with Christians because I’m a westerner and Christianity has long been the dominant religious delusion here we are only now being mercifully cured of.

                      If Ex-Catholics were a denomination, they’d be the second largest in the country. Food for thought.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Yes. Voltaire said that 200 years ago.

                    • Romulus

                      Neopaganism is alive and rather common, Judas. You need to get out more. Oh, wait; maybe you’re in hell. Sorry.

        • Do we have another troll, or the sock puppet of a familiar but banned one?

          • Not a troll, a masturdebator

          • rakowskidp

            I’m thinking the latter may be the case… if so, I’m sure Our Obdt Svt’s banhammer will be wielded in short order.

            • Eli

              The name Judas is telling I think.

          • Judas

            My name is Legion: for we are many.

            • Romulus

              Is that all? Bah.

            • Mark Shea

              My name is Exorcist and you are expelled from my blog.

            • Thomas R

              Is this a play on C. S. Lewis? Where Weston, in the first book of the “Space Trilogy”, is just a rather cold-hearted scientist but later is taken over by “the devil.”

              So are you presenting a morality play about how people who think this way literally become the devil? If so what an odd performance piece. I don’t think I could do it without nervousness even if it is for moral benefit.

        • Thomas R

          That whole “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” thing I reckon would relate to protecting the unborn. One could argue it doesn’t even say “sentience”, it says “Life.” Even in the first trimester an embryo is a living and genetically distinct human.

          Abortion laws at the time of the Constitution were maybe more liberal than in the 19th century, but I believe they pretty much banned abortion after the 18th-20th week and left it up to the states. Would you support overturning Roe and leaving it to the states?

        • Joseph

          Hmm… that’s an interesting question. I’ve never heard of that particular act of legislation. But, the answer to your question is that the federal government has no business owning a woman’s womb, just like they can’t own a woman’s toe. That would be crazy!

  • Judas

    Anyone find it ironic that the anti-choice folks are calling those who are pro-choice “Fascists” when the real, actual Fascists of 20th Century Europe and Cold War Latin America had abortion (and contraception, and divorce) banned?

    • Thomas R

      You’re right that it would be more proper to call Pro-Choicers Leninist or Bolshevik as Lenin’s Russia was one of the first places to legalize abortion. Lenin also had that anti-religion campaign from 1917 to 1921.

      If you’d prefer people who call it “Fascist” to use the “Leninist” word instead I’ll do what I can to encourage that.

  • Chris

    Planned Parenthood is getting a taste of its own abortive medicine. Suck it.

  • Let’s remember what the media did. Not only did ABC bring up his marital infidelity. The real “gotcha” in the interview with his ex-wife was the unprovable allegation that he had asked his ex-wife for an open marriage so he could have both a wife and mistress. Gingrich denied the allegation.

    I assumed this is what Gingrich was referring to when he referred to ABC’s actions as despicable. Without that allegation, there is no news story. For a major news outlet to air this 2 days before the election was an obvious ploy to affect the outcome of the election by making an allegation that could not be either verified or dis-proven. The truth of the allegation was irrelevant. The only thing that mattered to the media was that it made Gingrich look bad.

    The cheers during his response were not in support of his infidelity. Rather the audience understood the transparent motivation of the media in airing the story. The public is getting tired of “October surprises” (or election eve surprises) by media that is only interested in harming candidates they don’t like. One does not have to be a Gingrich supporter to recognize that.

  • Ronald King

    The defects in one’s character will come to light sooner or later and we are held accountable for those defects in that through our actions we have hurt others and ourselves. The purgation of the soul is a natural process with natural reactions of resistance or the supernatural reaction of acceptance. It seems Gingrich took the natural reaction of resistence.