You Gotta Love Newt – Or Else

January 20th, 2012

My friend Robb Royer was lashed into a frenzy by the press’ unfair and disgraceful  treatment of Newt Gingrich and sent me the following, and I asked if I could post it. 

If nothing else you have to admire Newt Gingrich for his chutzpah. Going into the South Carolina debate fresh on the heels of his ex-wife’s scathing interview, it was clear he would have to have a ready response to the inevitable question.

And boy did he. He was shocked that the interviewer would delve into personal matters like that in a presidential debate. Shocked and appalled. Astonished. Nauseated even. Just goes to show you how far the country has fallen.

In case anyone hasn’t been following recent events, this afternoon Newt’s second wife, Marianne, gave an interview in which she revealed that Newt went to her with the demand that they have an open marriage. Just in case she might have some objections, Newt nudged her along with the argument that his mistress Callista didn’t mind how many chicks he bagged, why should Marianne?

One of the things that bugged Newt is that the national media would take a moment of ‘personal pain’ like this and try to turn it into an election issue. So, apparently Newt isn’t a philandering, lying, cheating scumbag. He’s just a guy with personal pain.

Clearly a component of the pain in question was blue balls. And the antidote to this pain was for the Newtster to have multiple squeezes.

The audience rewarded Newt’s indignation with a standing ovation. Probably the same audience that cheered loudly for dead gay soldiers and Governor Perry’s execution record.

I’ve gone through most of my adult life feeling that I could (at least partially) understand the Republican mind, but this current batch baffles me. They seem to have become obsessed with ‘moral issues’ like forcing a woman to bear a rapist’s child, or making sure gay people don’t hook up, but along comes a guy like Newt, with an encyclopedia of moral issues staring him in the face, and he gets a standing ovation.

It doesn’t matter what you do, only what you say. That’s right isn’t it? Am I missing something?

Ideally what we’re looking for here is men of such high moral character that even their ex-wives think they should be president.

However large or small this number is, it does not include Newt.

I would add to this only that I was disappointed that John King backed away when Newt went Newclear.  He might have asked a couple of follow-up questions about consistency — the consistency, for example, of Gingrich making the beast with two backs with Callista at the same time he was leading the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton for, uh, dalliance, and the consistency of apparently regarding as moral an “open” heterosexual marriage involving God knows how many people, while condemning as immoral a monogamous marriage between people of the same sex.  

Newt Gangrene.  Even in the scum pond of current American politics, he stands out.


36 Responses to “You Gotta Love Newt – Or Else”

  1. EverettK Says:

    Ya gotta love American politics, dontcha? Thanks for the tirade, Robb!

    As disappointed as I am in Obama’s on-the-job performance (I won’t go into details, Tim already knows them), I’m tickled pink with the current crop of Republicants (oops, almost slipped a ‘u’ in there instead of an ‘a’…), as not one of them has a chance of taking the White House, barring some incredible disaster.

    Not that I like the Democrats all that well either, but I hate them a little less than the Repubs…

  2. Glenn W Says:

    And I say “Bravo!, Bravo!”.
    Anything else will be clearly redundant.

  3. Suzanna Says:

    Great, tirade, you two. I can always count on you both to put everything into fine focus. Thanks again!

  4. michele Says:

    Times have certainly changed. I once knew Republicans who did’nt gringe with embarrassment to admit it.
    And by the way, I get really pissed when people say they’re “disappointed in Obama’s performance.” What the hell do they expect when he’s fighting a Congress that sabotages his every effort… There is no longer a separation between Church and State, there are psychopathic Zealots out there condemning a woman’s right to chose, defending the death penalty, righteously telling us who we can and cannot marry at the same time demanding less government involvement in our lives.
    I could go on but you get the picture. I’m a lifelong progressive marching with the best, but sometimes I can’t stand our negativity. I’m a pessimistic optimist always looking for the pony.

  5. EverettK Says:

    Michele: My disappointment with Obama’s performance stems from probably highly unrealistic expectations. I suffered through EIGHT YEARS of pain and sorrow, and when I first saw an interview with Obama on The Tonight Show, sometime in early 2007 I think, I was almost struck dumb by my admiration for him and what he had to say. He was SUCH a breath of fresh air; I thought, “THIS is the man who should be President… but it will never happen, no one THAT intelligent and reasoned EVER gets elected.”

    And then, somehow, he DID.

    And then, he wasted almost all of his political capital fighting for the health-care bill that, as far as I can tell, has done nothing but cause our insurance premiums to almost double. I suspect that battle was a deal he made with Clinton for being his Secretary of State, but still, it would have been far better to spend all of that energy on reforming the financial sector and…

    Sigh. This is material for book-length dissertations.

    What I’m trying to say is that, yes, I’m disappointed, but only because I (foolishly, at my age…) let my hopes get too high. When it comes to politics, I should know better. I still admire the man, and consider him my favorite of all the Presidents during my lifetime. But I’m still a little disappointed, too.

    With the rest of your comment, I’m in complete agreement. 🙂

  6. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Well, I’m DEEPLY disappointed in Obama. He wasted two years with the House and the Senate behind him, dicking around with the Afghanistan of domestic policy, health care, and then — after talking about nothing but how he would stand for Main Street over Wall Street — he put hundreds of billions into bailing out the Wall Street crooks who are partly responsible for this financial mess in the first place, and barely lifted a finger to help the people on Main Street whose houses were being snatched from them by the very banks our tax dollars had shored up.

    And then, after two years of spending money at almost twice the rate of that idiot Bush, he refused even to discuss — until it was absolutely FORCED upon him — the real elephant in the room: trillions and trillions of dollars in debt that have led the government to steal our Social Security funds ($2.67 trillion) and put us in a position where almost half of every buck we pay in taxes goes for debt service. Better schools, anyone? Forget it, we have to pay all that interest.

    If I had anyone I could vote for other than Obama, I’d leap at it. Even a Republican. But not any of THESE Republicans.

  7. michael hallinan Says:

    I,m sorry to disagree with my friends but I found the question petty and below the standard of responsible journalism. (admittedly a low standard) Hate or love Newt this is a national forum which should be focusing on the important issues that our next president will inherit and his proposed solutions to them, such as the economy.
    Unfortunately it is hard to make a relationship between personal integrity and the ability to successfully run our country; witness Bill Clinton.
    How many potential candidates could withstand this kind of scrutiny. This is one reason why we so often end up with such a dismal array of job seekers
    Rather than allow the candidates to inform the audience about their vision for the future the moderator became a gossip columnist. This demeans the entire process and deprives the audience of any important dialogue or insights that would help make an informed decision in the voting booth.

  8. EverettK Says:

    Michael: Disagreements are best done between friends, because at least they can agree to disagree… 🙂

    And I do have to disagree on this one. When we’re talking about elected officials, I don’t feel ANY subject is out of bounds (other than perhaps details of personal toilet habits, I can do without those…) The reason is that these people are going to be taking actions and making decisions as THEY see fit for the duration of their time in office. WE vote them into those offices, and we do so while depending upon them to make REASONABLE decisions based upon what we know of them.

    In this case, we have someone who professes to belong to (to use ‘shorthand’) the party of the Moral Majority, the ethical high ground, (no abortions, no gay marriage, so on and on), and that’s fine with me. BUT… if they’re claiming that as part of the reason WHY they should be elected, then their morals and ethics ARE fit subject for investigation and discussion, because that is (in part) the basis on which people are making their choices.

    If you’re old-school catholic and don’t believe in sex out of marriage or even divorce, then knowing the marital history of your candidates is valid information.

    If you’re a fundamental Christian, then you probably want to know whether your candidate believes gays should marry and whether they’ve ever been “party to” an abortion.

    And so on. Is it salacious and handled poorly by the media and the American public? Certainly. But it’s still valid information to know about the people we’re trusting with our money, our lives, our country, etc.

    In my humble opinion… 🙂

  9. robb royer Says:

    Geez, Mike, I usually find you to be the epitome of good sense and sparkling humor, but in this case, one of your friends,(me), is going to go ahead and disagree back.

    I don’t understand the argument that the fact that this character is a lying piece of shit with no visible qualities except greed, ego and self aggrandizement is a fact that can be divorced from ‘real’ issues. I don’t see how you can suggest that, say, how much blood money we ship to Pakistan, is a fundamentally more important ‘issue’ than the character of our president. That may be the biggest issue of them all because a truly inferior leader rots away at the spirit of his people, opens the door to reactionaries, despots and charlatans like Saddam, Hitler and Idi Amin.

    You may think this is hyperbole but I really don’t think so. When people see greed, cronyism and incredible self promotion in their leaders they begin to imitate them and lose hope and perspective and even a foundation as solid as the good ol’ USA’s begins to erode. I submit to you that this becomes a much bigger threat to the quality of our future than many of the technicalities that pass as real issues.

    I do feel that John King should not have blown his wad that early in the debate. Anybody with an iota of political savvy should have known that the newt saw this coming and had a huge counter-attack prepared.

    It would have been much better to let it all go unsaid for hours and let the ‘Elephant in the room’ (how appropriate for Republicans) build steam.

    … THEN bust the little prick for the hypocrite that he is.

  10. robb royer Says:

    As far as proffering up Clinton as an example of the venality of character flaws and their irrelevance to an ability to govern, I think the example makes the opposite point. The man looked directly into the camera, squinted his eyes, pointed an accusing finger at us and said ‘I did not have sex…’

    If you were raising kids at the time, did not, in one unfortunate evening, your job get a lot harder? If the president can lie with panache and without consequence, why should kids tell painful and inconvenient truths?

    Can we really whistle past the fact that millions of eight and nine year olds learned what a blow job was from their president?

    (By the way. I was against the impeachment forces at the time simply because the accusers accomplished the nearly impossible task of being even more sordid than Clinton).

    But was the whole affair responsible for a ratcheting-down in the quality of American culture? I absolutely believe it was. The government froze and became non functional for a year while this was hashed out. This was a burgeoning year for Al Qaeda while our attention was diverted.

    AND (the gift that keeps on giving) George W got a huge boost simply from promising not to get laid in the oval office thereby removing the spotlight from his other shortcomings and helping him get elected.

  11. Tom Logan Says:

    Thank you all for furthering my definition of “politician.” Is there such a thing as a good one? I don’t think so.

  12. michael hallinan Says:

    Hi Guys, a cheap shot is a cheap shot no matter who it is aimed at. And a “do you still beat your wife” question has no place in the national dialogue. Is it any wonder that so many people are disillusioned with the entire process and don’t even bother to vote? I’m reminded of the bumper sticker that reads “WHY VOTE, IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THEM”.

  13. Julie Evelsizer Says:

    Blatant (there is not a strong enough word to use here) hypocrisy and the whole I’ve -got-mine-now-I’m-gonna-judge (or cheat)-you paradigm has to be an issue.

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    I have to agree that character, as a component of a presidential candidate, has to be on the table. Gingrich left one wife just after she was diagnosed with cancer so he could be with the woman he was screwing on the side, and then he left THAT woman, whom he had married by then, just after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Are you saying that we should ignore the fact that a guy who behaves this way then turns around and panders to voters by wrapping himself in the sanctity of marriage? What does he actually believe in? He believes in NEWT, and only Newt, and the only problem with the question was that it didn’t go far enough.

    What other questions shouldn’t reporters ask? The presidency is (maybe) the most powerful office in the world. What areas of a candidate’s character should be off bounds?

    The press isn’t the problem. The problem is that both parties are bags of hacks who have sold out lock, stock, and barrel to Eisenhower’s military-industrial (and financial) complex and who believe themselves to be personally above the laws and standards they impose on the rest of us.

  15. John Lindquist Says:

    Doggone it, I miss Ike. Lest anyone think he was in favor of it, he said this about the military-industrial complex in ’61: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

    Soon after that, he said, “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    We can’t go back and live in the past, but damned if we have to carry on the present trend of things.

    (I miss Senator Moynihan too.)

  16. michael hallinan Says:

    First I would like to thank everyone for their support.(especially the little people)
    It isn’t that a candidate’s character should not come into question, but rather a question of priorities. No one ever lost a home or a job because of a President’s infidelities. The press was already having a field day with Newt’s hypocrisy; why then start a debate with a question calculated to embarrass a candidate rather than one aimed enlightening the viewer? Gingrich’s past has not gone unnoticed nor can it be defended. It can only be brought up again and again in lieu of more important issues. Now that I have convinced all of you I will end this message and accept apologies.

  17. robb royer Says:

    Love ya, Mice, you’re one of my favorites and a great artist, but this particular wallpaper won’t hang. Are you really suggesting that the mere reference to a headline story that’s burning across the newswires and the blogosphere is a cheap shot? Maybe if a lesser office were in question or if the candidate hadn’t recently wrapped himself in the strangling cloak of morals espoused by the whacko Christian right, governing everybody ELSE’S behavior you’d have a better argument, but in this case the issue immediately modulates to a question of hypocrisy which is as valid an issue as I can imagine in a presidential contest.

  18. robb royer Says:

    And, by the way, do you still beat your wife is a valid question if, in fact, the guy IS beating the shit out of his wife, (emotionally in this case) and we have the impassioned testimony of, not one, but TWO wives to the fact.

  19. EverettK Says:

    Michael: I agree, all too often (MOST of the time) the media spends its time and attention on all the wrong things (was the situation of Elian Gonzalez REALLY the most important story for two months???, and in a half-hour “world news” broadcast (only 20 minutes of which is actual news broadcast) do we REALLY need to spend 2-3 minutes getting the “dramatic reactions” from Joe Street???). Todays ‘journalists’ are as bad at their profession as today’s ‘leaders’ are at theirs.

    But in this case, for the reasons Robb so ‘eloquently’ stated, I think it was perfectly valid. Poorly timed, and poorly presented, but perfectly valid.

    Did you and your brothers ever play Dogpile as kids? How’s it feel on the bottom of the dogpile, Michael? 🙂

  20. michael hallinan Says:

    Hey Robb, Everett,
    Apology accepted!

  21. sharai Says:

    Wow Mice! I was all ready to jump in and spar with the big boys, but it would be an injustice to your perfect ending.

    Tim, anytime you don’t want to blog just throw out a political thread and we’ll do the rest!

  22. Sheehan Says:

    Tim.. we met years ago before the Net was the Net on Modem Butterfly. A friend is headed for Thailand and I know that you can advise her in detail. Please drop me a line at the address above.
    Michael Sheehan

  23. munyin Says:

    You all have been so eloquent here! Robb’s really funny and he writes just like he talks. And I have been very entertained by everyone’s input. Mikey, we just saw a movie last night called “The Guard” and its humor is right up you alley. I hope there’s a way you can see it. Please notice that Newt won tonight in South Carolina. Tim thinks it’s because of John King’s question. Everyone was so pissed off about it.

  24. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Newt Gingrich is a man whom I would truly classify as evil. He lies, twists, and accuses others of doing things he has no problem doing for himself. His narcissism is frightening, but maybe what I have said is true for most politicians. One thing that should be said is that Obama had the majority, but not enough to keep the Republicans from blocking every move. And the Republicans always presented a united front, while the Democrats simply don’t always agree with each other. My hope is that Obama gives up his no drama stance and develops some, uh, backbone to fight back.

  25. Suzanna Says:

    That’s a great point, Lil. Obama had a bit of a false majority throughout those first two years. He was consistently blocked by Dems who are really Repubs at heart and a Republican party that is determined to block Obama even if they agree with him. Thanks for reminding me about that b/c I am one who has felt pretty disappointed in his performance. He is a remarkable person but I think if there’s anything he needs to really focus on is to stop being so willing to compromise with his opponents.

  26. robb royer Says:

    Wow. What fun. First I want to thank everybody who participated in this fantastic discussion. I apologize to everyone who contributed and didn’t get a response from me ’cause I was so caught up in the debate with Mice. What a great group. Let’s do this more.

  27. Glenn W Says:

    OK, I’ve read; I’ve pondered; I’ve perseverated. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed (and been somewhat enlightened)by the discourse we’ve all had some participation in. But one thing, one element, one peice that I believe is as significant as anything we’ve mentioned (and I mention it with a bit of fear and trembling)is the RACE issue. Yes, I do believe, from the every part of me that thinks and feels and discerns, that a great deal of both how Obama leads and what the conservative (nut)wing of the Republican party are doing to block his every move, has a great deal, (if not mostly) to do with Obama’s being African American. Regarding Obama:
    We knew going into the election that Obama is a centerist; he is a negotiater who prizes consensus above all else. And I am certain that being raised Black in a white culture, he learned early on the hard lessons that in order to appease those in power (rich whites) he would have to manuever around all that bigotry and meanness. They have names for men of color who are too aggresive, too successful, too pushy, too angry. Dare I say the term? Obama has learned the lessons well, and given all that has blocked him over the past three years, I think he’s done a magnificent job. Hell yes, I’d like him to be a reincarnation of LBJ, buttonholing legislators in the halls of congress and browbeating them until his programs got approved. But Obama is not LBJ and he’s learned well the lessons of being consiliatory. (Hell, just of late we are told that his wife is the angry Black woman in the White House). My god, it must drive the conservatives crazy to have a Black American in THEIR white house.
    So before some pass too harsh a judgment on Obama,we ought to be thinking in broader, more historical/social terms. The man is condemned to work within a context that has been unwelcoming,scared,sabotaging, and pissed-off from the hour he was inaugurated.

  28. Maria Aguayo Says:

    Glenn W., I am always amazed why this particular point is dragged under the carpet. There are a few mentions that get press then whoosh they are gone. I have been around some Republicans that are seething mad not about the issues but because Obama swaggers when he walks. Saying what do you have to be proud of. Their madness is generally because there is a N….. in the White House. And for all the disappointment for Obama’s accomplishments or failings, let them walk in his shoes.
    As history demonstrates, there is a lot going on behind the curtain that we wouldn’t begin to understand or comprehend. The job is getting really too big for any one person and the reality of a non supportive base and congress doesn’t help matters. Decide one way or the other but realize that opposing the only hope we have is close to electing obvious criminals.

  29. Glenn W Says:

    Thanks Maria for your response. And talk about swagger: I was so profoundly proud of President Obama last night giving his State of the Union address. Was there any doubt he was The Man in charge….and have you ever seen so many Republicans squirm and look as if they were about to jump out of their skin. It was almost too delicious!

  30. leigh Says:

    Robb: I’d back your political career. Just don’t expect me to show up on CNN or anywhere else.

  31. Stephen Cohn Says:

    Wow! what a great conversation. Bravo, Robb for such creative use of your anger and for your vivid and articulate portrait of Newt. I’m in complete agreement and am living in constant awe that so many can be seduced by this evil, hard core, egotistical butt hole.

    I agree, also, with Michelle. Obama is one of those rare statesman that comes along once in a lifetime, if we’re lucky, and has been up against historically unparalleled opposition… and has nevertheless made amazing accomplishments.

    Another ongoing astonishment for me is that much of our population seems to be in ignorance of the fact that America was founded by people who were escaping religious persecution and yet there is this fundamentalist movement to establish a theocracy here…and such a hypocritical one.

    I’m optimistic because, in the end, I don’t think any of the Republicans will do well on a stage with Obama. The overwhelming differences in character and mission are going to be painfully visible.

  32. robb royer Says:

    Thanks, Leigh. But I am gonna need you to work up a couple of songs.

    Steve. That’s a good point. We haven’t even gotten into these comments Newt’s been making about his favoring imposition of sharia law, Newt-Style over the US of A.

    He has been tap dancing like mad about the phrase ‘endowed by our creator’ which originated with Locke (not particularly religious) quoted by Jefferson (not religious at all) and using the phrase as a basis for setting up an American theocracy.

    Or maybe he’s just pandering to the Christian right. He wouldn’t do that would he?

  33. Sharai Says:

    I’m thrilled to see this conversation continue. I can’t bear to watch the Newt in real time, it turns my stomach. So I appreciate news of him here with a little humor thrown in.

    Thanks to all of you who have posted positive things about Obama. I cringe at the phrase, “. .. disappointed in .. “. When have we not been disappointed in our president? Especially those really eloquent gems who can bring our visions of hope to the world stage front and center. The reality of the day to day struggle of getting it done isn’t pretty. JFK was not the champion of the civil rights movement. All credit must go to the people who do the incredibly hard work and sacrifice of forcing change where it doesn’t want to happen.

    This president has done things I don’t agree with and he has done things that make me jump with joy. It’s been a long time since that jumping thing has happened because of politics. So I am not disappointed in this man. I am very grateful his family is in the White House.

    Thanks for starting this off Robb. I always enjoy what you write here and am looking forward to the continuation of your story.

  34. michele Says:

    This is terrific Robb. Haven’t had this much fun talking politics in a long time.
    Thanks to Glenn, Stephen and Sharai for illuminating my original comment. And it’s absolutely true the issue of race is the elephant in the room. Does anyone remember, early on in the debates when Perry, had the audacity to say “Let’s stop monkeying around” then stammered and added “fooling around.” I was stunned and no one, I mean not a single journalist caught it.
    One last comment,What’s with these names? Newt.. Mitt..I’d much rather have a president named Barack Husein Obama.

  35. John Lindquist Says:

    I cannot begin to express how much this has been a blast of fresh air. Around these parts with so much of radio being dominated by the ultra-right – with their constant mantra of “conservative principles” and “founding fathers” and other such catch-phases that we’re supposed to automatically know the correct meanings of – I just see a brick wall.

    Looking around and seeing a lot of pro-Obama and “Recall Walker” bumper stickers, I realize and appreciate more the passion behind them.

    Michele: Mitt is short for Mittens.

    About a week ago I co-hosted an oldies show on our local alternative FM station (wonderful WORT in Madison, Wis.) and we had a much-appreciated double-play of “Junior Executive” and (in stereo!) “Morning Glory Days.” More fresh air.

  36. Scott Reeves Says:

    I love Mr. Timothy Hallinan’s work, but this is the first time I have ever read this blog. This is almost better than the novels! I am blown away (yes, I am old).

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