The Newest Newt
Democracies cannot dispense with hypocrisy any more than dictatorships can with cynicism.
— Georges Bernanos, We French
The endorsement of Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary fight by the New Hampshire Union Leader was enlightening for reasons other than the endorsement. It was the explanation the paper gave that helped this writer understand the motives of liberals like himself. We are, said the paper, “belittling the Republican candidates because they [liberals] don’t want any of them to be taken as a serious challenger to their man, Obama.” I had thought liberals were belittling, among others, Perry because he believes in neither evolution nor global warming, Bachman because she shares his beliefs and adds to that a dislike of gays in the military, Romney because he is disappointed that with respect to most issues he has confronted as governor and candidate, there are only two sides he can take and having taken them both, there is little left for him to say. I had no idea that by expecting more from any of these (or the other) candidates I was belittling them for selfish reasons. Admonished, I direct my attention to the newly installed frontrunner and the New Hampshire Union Leader’s endorsee, Newt Gingrich and will try not to belittle him. .
To not belittle him, I will ignore the fact that Mr. Gingrich told his first wife when she was in hospital undergoing cancer treatment that he was leaving her for his soon-to- be second wife whom he would later leave in favor of his soon-to-be third wife, with whom he was carrying on an affair while urging the impeachment of Bill Clinton for sexual improprieties similar to those in which he was engaging. The reason for not bringing up those episodes is that following his marriage to his third wife he converted to Catholicism where all his sins were forgiven and if it’s good enough for the Church, it’s good enough for me. (It was not good enough for Marianne, Mr. Gingrich’s second wife who told Esquire magazine in September 2010 that while their marriage was dissolving Newt returned from Erie Pennsylvania where he had addressed a crowd on “family values.” When she asked him how he could give such a speech in light of his personal life he replied, “It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.” Instead of dwelling on the foregoing as a lesser man might, I will describe what we can look forward to as his campaign progresses. We learn this from interviews and a recently published book by him.
In an interview with National Review Online, Newt said that President Obama follows a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Although I don’t know what that is, it seems like a pretty good reason to support Newt over the other Republican candidates, none of whom has uttered anything half as profound as that. He went on to say, that the president “Is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con as a result of which he is now president. I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating-none of which was true . . . . He was authentically dishonest.”
His views are further expounded on in his book published in the summer of 2010 with the catchy title: “To save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine.” The title tells you a lot about its contents which isn’t true of many books. In a brief description of the book’s content (and I confess to not having read the book and am, therefore, forced to rely on reports such as this) one reviewer says Gingrich sounds the alarm that the America the secular-socialist left wants to recreate is vastly different from the one in which Newt grew up. If the left stays in power it will “transform America into a radically different nation-a union dominated, bureaucratically controlled, high-tax, low-growth country in which powerful politicians impose their will on an exhausted, submissive citizenry.” He says “Americans have always respected hard work, entrepreneurship, innovation, and merit-based upward mobility and the “Leftist”machine punishes overachievers. He probably thinks that if the Leftist machine had its way his entrepreneurial company, Gingrich Group, could not have earned nearly $2 million for advice Newt gave Freddie Mac and $300,00 he received while serving as its in house historian. The book also explains that health care reform was passed “on a narrow partisan basis with extraordinary corruption and bribery.” Newt says that Obama’s “secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.”
At the press conference in which he announced his retirement, Barney Frank said: “I did not think I lived a good enough life to see Newt Gingrich as the Republican nominee. He would be the best thing to happen to Democrats since Barry Goldwater.” Mr. Frank may be right about the Democrats. It will clearly not be the best thing for what little remains of civility in this country.