Gingrich: The Republican Bill Clinton

Monday, January 23, 2012

Clinton and Gingrich with their
mistresses, circa 1995.

Are Republicans about to elect Clinton's
Republican equivalent to the White House?
Last Saturday South Carolinian Republicans did an amazing thing: they declared to the world that personality is more important than moral character in a president.  They voted 10 to 7 in favor of the bombastic, unapologetic, unethical, unstable Newt Gingrich.

It is amazing how far the Republican party has come in just a decade and a half.  Rewind to the mid 90s and conservatives were decrying then-President Clinton’s many extra-marital affairs and the subsequent cover-ups, declaring that such an immoral, undisciplined man had no business being the leader of the free world.  Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the house, joined the chorus of moral distain, despite the fact that he had skeletons of his own.  For while Gingrich was self-righteously excoriating Clinton for the Lewinsky affair and preaching the values of the moral Christian life, he was carrying on another of his own many affairs.  This one was with a young libertine staffer named Callista, who later became his third wife. 

Gingrich later defended his own incredible hypocrisy by claiming that he was rebuking Clinton for his lying, not his adultery, but even then it was clear to many that Gingrich had a lot in common with his arch-nemesis Clinton.  Even with his marital infidelities yet unknown, reporters in the mid 90s described both powerful politicians as believing themselves above the morals and rules of the common man.  (See article)  Both were described as ego-maniacs with a tendency to act upon impulse with little thought for consequence.  It was no surprise to people at the time that Gingrich became the first and only Speaker ever to be disciplined by the House for ethics violations.  He was thrown out of politics by his own party for his many fiscal ethics scandals that threatened to bring down the whole Republican party.  Gingrich has smoldered in the background since then, subsisting on lobbying and speaking fees, nursing his great ambition to be president some day; an ambition that until South Carolina lived only in his own egomaniac head.  Gingrich currently has a national approval rating at 26% (compare with Obama at 46%).

What has changed in these 15 years?  Has the “rebellion” of the Tea Party movement led us to value sticking it to Obama with an attack dog over electing a moral man?  Have we abandoned civic duty to “reality show” political entertainment?  Or have we joined the Democrats in thinking that a long history of moral and ethical corruption has no relevance to the performance of a leader?  Seriously?  South Carolina, you are heavily church-attending Christians.  Seriously, it doesn’t matter? 

In her book “Demonic” Ann Coulter explained one of the major differences between liberals and conservatives as thus: Liberals vote for a president based on their “rock star” popular effect while conservatives vote based on the candidate's values and experience.  This hypothesis was certainly confirmed in 2008 when Democrats elected the charismatic and articulate, yet inexperienced and frankly unknown Barack Obama.  In 2012 Republicans have a choice between a religious conservative with a long career as a politician and lobbyist in Washington, another career politician and lobbyist plagued with a history of moral and fiscal misbehavior, and a business-leader outsider with a history of working in the free market.  Who will we choose?  Morals with political experience, morals with free-market experience or no morals with political infamy?

Or do we just choose the guy who puts on the best show?

Food for thought:
Or just read Gingrich's Wikipedia Entry mods suck


Anonymous said...

No, they don't, B.

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