Newt Is (or at Least Was) Kind of a Jerk

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.

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  1. She has said this before. This is her first on TV but the story has been around. He has apologised for it all. I miss you point, age has nothing to do with whether a man or woman are satisfied in a marriage. He could have carried on secret liaisons, but was open with her about it all. Not ideal but this side of heaven few people are.

  2. The point about age is that he was not some young cad who had not yet fully matured. He was a past middle-aged man whose moral character had fully developed. As I said, it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have changed, but let’s be honest about who he was.

    Not ideal but this side of heaven few people are.

    Not all of us habitually break marriage vows or treat others as disposable playthings. Yes, we are all sinners. But, well, some sin more than others. While we’re not electing saints, can we at least have a little bit higher of a bar than this?

  3. Yeah, honestly, given how I felt about Clinton in the same time period this was going on, this makes me pretty damn reluctant to give Newt any support.

    We already know the guy is a policy loose cannon. Now we have further evidence (not like we didn’t have evidence before) that he’s personally unreliable. There’s just not much to like about the guy. (Other than not being Obama, of which the US currently has over 300 million.)

    Santorum or Romney.

  4. Imagine the polling disparity between male and female voters if Newt gets nominated. Won’t be pretty. The only way he could win is if the economy tanks more than it has now. Too much baggage, too little discipline, too much of a risk of Bad Newt returning. He’s a better debater than Obama–by far–but that won’t move enough voters, all other things being equal.

    I’ve tried to talk myself into supporting Gingrich, but I find my arguments less than compelling. The only one left who doesn’t give me the willies is Santorum. And I don’t see him winning either.

  5. Yeah, our choices for president this Fall have been whittled down to: the scrub already occupying the Office, the milquetoast moderate flip-flopper, the libertarian loon, the egotistical sociopath, and Rick Santorum. Such a tough call for me, but I’m gonna go with Santorum.

    Oh, but he endorsed Specter.

    Again, look at the alternatives.

  6. In reply to Newt is a Jerk…the whole purpose of the Catholic Church is to save souls. What good is it if we repent before God and then our own community condemns our past when Christ has blotted out our sin? Don’t you think this is very judgmental? I would remind the brethren that we are all sinners and it may take a longer time for transformation, but that is between us and the Lord. If our lives have changed then we need to give people the benefit of the doubt. Jesus told us, “The man who says he does not sin is a liar.” The church is for “sinners”. Duh?! Newt Gingrich is the only candidate I believe that can beat Barack Obama, a support of abortions and gay marriage among other things I am sure we know God would not want. This is a fact. Not judging. Barack Obama is “not a christian”. He can’t be with these ideals. Remember the type of men Jesus chose to establish his church. They were far worse in some areas. Please think. I like Rick Santorum and maybe in another election he would win, but I believe Newt can beat him and we have a better chance to save our country and our church. God Bless.

  7. Wait a second, Paul! What do you mean, you don’t become a saint automatically? No one told me I was going to have to *work* on being good. That does it, I’m becoming an evangelical. They don’t have to do anything.

    In the spirit of ecumenism, I would like to denounce my last paragraph.

    More seriously, this interview doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Did Newt use the phrase “open marriage”? Or did he just say that he didn’t want to break off his affair? There may not be much of a practical difference between the two, but the creepiness factor of an open marriage is way worse.

    430, I don’t think it’s a gimme that Newt could win the general, or that Santorum or Romney couldn’t.

  8. I also think our country needs to wake up. Newt tells it like it is. Our people don’t seem to hear or see anymore. It’s like we’ve been in a fog for so many years, including our church. My personal opinion only, I think God has allowed us to be kicked in the pants and many don’t know what to do with “reality”. We are in trouble in our country and in our church. The idea of offending anyone or hurting someone’s feelings has left us with a group of whining liberals and cowards as politicians. Newt knew he would take the pain and decided to do it anyway. Most would never dare with the baggage that Newt has had in his life. Oh how God does confound the wise! Think, pray and ask for wisdom. If Newt can’t beat Obama, than nobody can unless we have another candidate. When are we going to see a democrat rise up and fight for these values we have held in our country. We are a free nation and if we want to stay this way, we better get tough and stop attacking Catholics that have repented.

  9. Pinky, you may be right. But I speak as a Catholic and I can only vote as a Catholic. Romney made it clear last week that “contraception is working just fine and we should leave it alone”. So….we still have two Catholics available to us. Santorum and Gingrich. Gingrich is pro-life and for marriage between man and woman. So does Santorum. Ok. We do have a choice on morals this election. And we have a Catholic that could beat Obama. I do not believe that Santorum can beat Obama. I believe Newt can. I also believe that Romney is just not tough enough. Romney is very wishy washy and always sounds like he is stuttering and nervous in his answers. Not very sure at times how to answer. This is just the primary. How would he do in the general election. We would be taking a chance we cannot afford this time. Newt is experienced, knowledgeable and not afraid to speak his mind. We need to wake up and listen. Hear what Newt is saying. He speaks clearly and explains what he means. I can’t believe the sharpest minds on many websites distort what he says all the time. They don’t seem to “hear” or understand what he says and means. He will beat Obama if he wins. We need tough. Look at the Presidents we have had in the White House and people judge Newt? Really??

  10. And we have a Catholic that could beat Obama. I do not believe that Santorum can beat Obama.

    How do you know that? If anything, the morally clean gentleman who twice won statewide election in a moderately blue state is more likely to win a general election than one of the most nationally reviled political figures of the past 20 years. Honestly, Obama is so unpopular that almost any conservative who retains the support of the base is very likely to win. Finally, considering the ins and outs of this primary season, I don’t know how anybody can predict the mood of the electorate 10 days out, let alone 10 months.

  11. Paul, that’s a valid point, and one that was really driven home during the last election. Everyone assumed that the election was going to be “about” foreign policy, and that’s how McCain and Obama positioned themselves. That was before the stock market lost a billion points in September. We don’t know yet what this election is going to be about. BTW, that’s one of the problems with such early primaries. Ideally, each party would choose a candidate who is qualified and has a vision for all fronts, but in truth each party makes decisions about a candidate’s marketability on the issues that they think will be important in November. And that’s a long way away. As I’ve said before, I hope the election isn’t about US/Pakistan relations and government meat inspection, because that would mean that something horrible had happened on those fronts. We can somewhat safely predict that the economy and the budget are going to be major issues – but there’s a full 1/4 of a presidential term between now and the election.

  12. Paul, Good question. South Carolina has to determine who wins this Saturday. Based on the polls, Santorum so far, is not doing good. Maybe I should have said that if Newt wins the nomination, then I do think he can beat Obama. You might be right with Santorum, but I just dont’ see him tough enough. I could be wrong. I do hope one of them beats Obama. I certainly do not want Romney. I can’t anyway. He approves contraception which is a no no to Catholics. I know some don’t count that, but I do. I have to as a Catholic. BUT…to assume “anyone” is better than Obama and would win it, I beg to differ. All would BE a better President than Obama, but NOT all can beat Obama. I do hope you are right. Thanks for your post.

  13. That was then. This is now.

    Big thing: Newt is (and always will be) not Obama.

    Seems talking about someone’s divorce is how Obiemessiah got to be a senator.

  14. Mr Gingrich has already done yeoman service by breaking the mould of political discourse. He has taken on all comers; Wall Street predators, race greviance mongers and the Muslim crybabies. By doing so he has made easier for genuinely republican values to prevail.

  15. Newt Gingrich is and was a statesman who can think on his feet without the need for “advisors”. Elections are not the same as opportunities for speculation and judgment about personal aspects of a life being lived. He is and was able and willing to address the state of the nation.

    I object to the term ‘jerk’ here. There are and have been others elected to govern that earned the term, however.

  16. Instapundit: Seen on Face Book, “I don’t care if Gingrich was a swinger at this point. If he gets the nod, he gets my vote, because at least he was screwing a woman and NOT AMERICA.”

  17. Harsh crowd here, last I heard him say he has sought reconciliation and forgiveness. If God can forgive him so can we.

    Let’s move on from it and see it for what it is, an attack by a liberal media network one day before the primaries with the sole purpose of derailing Newt. Like him or not, ABC was out to get him. They dug up dirt from a long time ago and threw it all over the internet.

  18. No doubt about it, what Gingrich did to his ex-wife was the act of an unmitigated cad. There is no excusing it nor is there any way around it…but there is Christ’s offer of forgiveness, along with the warning that those who don’t forgive will not be forgiven. Leave it to the people on the left to say that if you ever once sinned, you are forever condemned…leave it to them to assert that if you’ve done wrong, you’re only way to “redemption” is to claim that doing the wrong thing is virtuous (this is how “gay rights” got its foothold). It is for us to ask – what has Gingrich done, lately? If, as I understand, God in some way forgets our sins once we ask forgiveness, then surely we can do as much. A man who cheated on his wife last month is someone who needs to go in to the spiritual dog house for a while in order to find redemption…someone who cheated on his wife more than a decade ago and has since converted to the one, true Church is someone who long ago left the dog house.

  19. “We can’t really judge the state of a man’s soul, and I don’t propose to do that now. ”

    …and a few minutes later:

    “our choices for president this Fall have been whittled down to: the scrub already occupying the Office, the milquetoast moderate flip-flopper, the libertarian loon, the egotistical sociopath, and Rick Santorum.”

    what a swell guy you are Paul….getting tips from Mark Shea?

  20. You are correct Jasper, and I should have been more temperate in my remark there regarding Gingrich. But I do stand by the fact that we cannot be naive with regards to the man’s character.

  21. Did anyone on here see or hear or read today the full Mr Gingrich interview by Mr King.? He said his two daughters made themselves available to ABC regarding his second marriage, as well as friends who knew the facts. Not allowed! Character is not just about fidelity in marriage. It is about one’s whole life, past to present. Take away the spin-doctors, the advisers, the speech writers and the teleprompter and what is the real character of any POTUS? The candidate is much more “transparent” to use the much-quoted word today. As a US citizen looking back at the scene from Europe, Newt was a real human being last night.

  22. As I read history only one perfect human was without sin and He was crucified and accused of being a traitor and worked His miracles with Old Nick himself. I add King David to the list of sinners who kept their jobs, a miurderer-adulterer who wrote Psalm 51 in repentance. Mr Gingrich as I noted said that ABC refused to allow his daughters and some in-the-know people tell what happened with his ex-wife. He said the reports were not true. To me that puts his reply to Mr. King, in contrext, using ABC as an excuse to nail Newt. IF I were back there he would have my vote as the most qualified, less burdened by baggage candidate who has any chance at beating the incumbent in debate and on the issues. He is not running to replace Jesus or the Pope but to unseat a man who has not met his own goals and broken too many promises. And came from Chicago’s School of Democratic Public Service and was a community organiser which are not really qualifications for the POTUS.

  23. HT, I think we can set the bar for our candidates somewhere between Christ and Lucifer.

    And no, I am not comparing Newt or anyone else to Satan. I just think that it’s a little bit extreme to say that no one is perfect, therefore we should have absolutely no concern about a candidate’s character. To me that is moral relativism run amok.

  24. If my Irish humour may be excused, I do not consider Mr Obama “Lucifer,” the Light-bearer. He is not that ” bright” without the teleprompter!

  25. If my Irish humour may be excused, I do not consider Mr Obama “Lucifer,” the Light-bearer. He is not that ” bright” without the teleprompter!

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