Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): An adulterer comes to town

Friday, November 8, 2013

An adulterer comes to town

Don't shoot the messenger. I bit my tongue as long as I could about the big visitor in town today.

Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was in town this afternoon holding court at the Johnson County Republican Party headquarters. Gingrich is in town offering his support and fundraising efforts to Sen. Pat Roberts. Everything I'm about to say isn't a reflection on Roberts. 

But I'm a little disappointed at the outright fawning over Gingrich. I can't look at Gingrich without feeling sick to my stomach. It is a visceral reaction. 

A lot of people that I really like and respect are avid Gingrich supporters. They adored him when he was U.S. Speaker of the House. They supported his presidential campaign. And I'll say this: Gingrich is a great ideas man. The guy can speak eloquently about a number of issues. He's got ideas -- good ideas -- about how to fix some of what ails this country. He has a lot to offer.

And if he had one ounce of honor in his body, he wouldn't have run for president in the last cycle. He would've offered his ideas and expertise to another candidate. 

I'm probably alone in my visceral reaction to Gingrich, but I doubt it. I don't know how any self-respecting woman could ever truly trust or support him. If he can't keep his promises to his spouse, a person he's made a pledge before God to honor, I don't know how the public at-large can trust him.

If his philandering ways were simply a one-time youthful indiscretion, I may be able to overlook it. Everyone makes mistakes. 

But in Gingrich's case, it's a disturbing, life-long pattern. The first time, he married very young. He was 19-years-old when he married his former high school geometry teacher. She was seven years his senior. He managed to stick-it-out with her for 18 years, sometime after beginning an affair with a woman who would become his second wife shortly after his divorce was final. (In a sad footnote, his first wife died in August of this year.)

He managed to stay married the second time for 19 years, though his affair with his third wife began 12 years into his marriage. Though the woman he brought with him to Kansas City has been his wife for 13 years now, I can't look at her without thinking of her as his mistress. (As an aside, Callista should probably start looking over her shoulder. Gingrich's marriages appear to have a shelf-life of less than  20 years, with the philandering starting several years in advance.)

Honestly, I've left out the most tawdry accusations of Gingrich's past. The ones that are confirmed -- his complete disregard for the sanctity of marriage, his inability to keep it in his pants, the fact that he keeps getting older but his mistresses/wives stay the same age -- are bad enough. 

I don't expect perfection from politicians, although I tend to hold them to a slightly higher standard than say my mailman. But Gingrich almost seems to rub the public's face in his sin and demand that we accept it. And I can't. That's probably a great short-coming on my part. But there it is.

Many great people have battled with infidelity, but they at least act like they know they've done something wrong or inappropriate. Sin all you want, but please don't ask me to be a willing and accepting party to it. Gingrich acts outraged when anyone asks about his proclivity for infidelity and trading his wife in for a younger model. But I don't know how he can expect the rest of the country to trust him when his own family can't.  

I wish Gingrich and his mistress would stay out of my neighborhood.  I wish he'd stay someplace far, far away writing white papers on the political topics of the day.

He's an embarrassment to me as a Republican. And it is damaging to see people I like and respect fawning all over him.


  1. I generally appreciate what you're saying, with a few caveats. Newt's clearly not perfect and I think even those supporting him would readily acknowledge that and that criticism of his past is fair game, and even Newt himself admitted as much during the last campaign. I'd say he's matured and become wiser over time, and that though extremely bright, I think in the past it could be fairly said he was pretty high on himself and I'm sure his marital problems were a result of that. On the flip side, I think we should always be careful of throwing stones when we weren't there. We never know someone else's story, and while there may be indeed some reason for criticism, there may also be some facts there that we aren't aware of that if we were, we'd have a different view on the situation. His second wife was largely regarded as being kind of hard to deal with -- and though it's easy for us to say "he should have divorced her before he started his relationship with Callista", human relationships are often as simple as that.

    I'd also be careful about saying those with past indiscretions, even poor ones, shouldn't ever run for office in the future. That would eliminate a lot of people who would otherwise make good public servants. Nor should it prevent them from having opinions.

    Love your blog, however. :)

  2. We can agree 100 percent on being careful about using past indiscretions to limit who can run for office. Who doesn't have a few skeletons in their closet?

    It's difficult to think of any indiscretions that are worse than repeated adultery however. First, if, as you say, Newt's indiscretions were somewhat the result of him being pretty high on himself, should Christians, at least, hope to help protect him from himself? To me, that means not allowing Newt to put himself in a high position that leads him to act on his areas of spiritual darkness.

    I do not think his indiscretions (or anyone else's) should prevent them from having opinions or being public servants. However, if public service is truly Newt's aim, I would suggest the public (and conservatives) would be better served with him as a Karl Rove-type rather than as a front man.

    (Thanks for the compliment!)