Marianne Gingrich’s claim that Newt wanted an open marriage is the news story of the day. In all honesty, this doesn’t tell us that much more about Newt than we didn’t know already. Some have already said that this is no worse than simply cheating on your spouse, and, politically speaking, this might not have any impact at all on the race.
That being the case, it does serve as a forceful reminder that Newt Gingrich is kind of a jerk. In fact, I think that if his ex-wife’s claims are true (and admittedly, we don’t know for certain), then it is even a bit creepier than just having an affair. It indicates that Newt is not that concerned about the feelings of other people. Based on what we know of the man, he gives off a vibe that he views other people as simply pawns. While he would hardly be the first such personality to become president, it doesn’t mean we should be so flippant about allowing such a man to obtain the highest office in the land.
Now, we know that Newt has had a conversion, and that people change over the course of their lives. Perhaps the Newt from the mid 1990s is not the same man that he is today. We can’t really judge the state of a man’s soul, and I don’t propose to do that now. But we have to consider a couple of things. First of all, as we are all too well aware, simply becoming a Catholic does not make one a saint. We are abundantly aware that we are all sinners, and though we all hope that a closer relationship to Jesus fostered through the Church makes us better people, it’s still a struggle.
More importantly, this didn’t happen when Newt was a young man. Newt was nearly two decades older than I am right now when this all happened. Yes, men older than Newt have had conversions of the heart. But a conversion is not necessarily a transformation into a completely new man.
I don’t know what kind of person Newt is right now. But I know what he has been, and I’m not going to turn a blind eye to an individual’s character simply because people on the other side of the aisle are all too willing to do so.