“Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband”

A series of events this week highlights the ways that Newt Gingrich’s campaign to be the Republicans’ presidential pick will reveal how GOP primary voters will react to a candidate with extramarital affairs.

First, Newt Gingrich penned a letter to an Iowa family values group pledging that he wouldn’t cheat on his current wife.  (We aren’t supposed to remember that he did cheat with her on his former wife I guess).  He wrote the letter in lieu of signing an official pledge that he would not cheat, as the other candidates did.  The value of such a promise is dubious, given that Gingrich’s pledges of “I do” to his former wives have all ended with his infidelity.

At the same time he was hoping to assure the GOP faithful that he would keep it in his pants if they would just please just vote for him, the GOP opinion-maker news magazine the National Review came out with an editorial urging conservatives against a vote for Gingrich:

Very few people with a personal history like his — two divorces, two marriages to former mistresses — have ever tried running for president.

The editorial points out that Gingrich’s weaknesses include the fact that he “has not run for anything since 1998,” and that he was ousted by his own party “who had lost confidence in him.” The GOP was “right to bring his tenure to an end,” the National Review continued, because, among other things,”again and again he put his own interests above those of the causes he championed in public.”

As I read the opinion, I was struck by how easily the same could be written about Montana GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill.

Hill also has a past full of baggage, including an affair with a cocktail waitress at the Sip ‘N Dip Lounge and mermaid pool in Great Falls.   Hill, like Gingrich, is establishment to the bone.  Like Gingrich, Hill has not run for office in over a decade.  And, like Gingrich, Hill was ousted by his own party.  In Hill’s case, he was edged out of the race so that Rehberg could run instead, after it became evident that Hill had too many problems to be electable.  In an attempt to save face, Hill was forced to claim “poor eyesight” forced him to drop out, since the typical excuse of “dropping out to spend more time with the family” was out of the question after Hill’s affair and subsequent divorce.

Gingrich’s flaws bear enough similarities to Rick Hill that the races will likely see similar arcs of peak and decline even though they don’t have much else in common.  Gingrich (at least before his fall) had somewhat of a reputation for leadership and smarts, while Hill…is kind of a nothing-burger.

What happens to Gingrich’s campaign next could easily be in the cards for Hill’s.  Already, Gingrich is becoming somewhat of a pop culture joke.   In fact, a billboard went up this week in Pennsylvania reminding voters of Gingrich’s infidelity.  What’s hilarious is that it wasn’t a political billboard.  The billboard advertisement for an extramarital hookup site. A picture of the billboard, which proclaims Newt Gingrich a “Faithful Republican” but an “unfaithful husband” can be seen here.  

Posted: December 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

9 thoughts on ““Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband”

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    The Fundiwackmentalists like kenny boy miller and co. are gonna try to paint lil’ ricky as a Rino, AND as a philandering perv. And in fact, they might be right. They have started distributing a video showing lil’ ricky in his pre-mermaid days. VERY damaging video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OZfsroATI4

  2. Jennifer Davies

    Newt Gingrich is like Santa Claus, he’s a fatso only a child would believe in. I hope he’s the nominee, because he’s going down against Obama. I do think it’s weird that the GOP seems willing to overlook his affairs, but that’s because there are so many candidates in the running. Newt won’t be the nominee, I predict.

  3. Mark Tokarski

    All of this nonsense aside, I find Gingrich the most attractive of the GOP candidates. He has a functioning intellect and is not afraid to be counter-cultural. If he held the office of president, he’d soon be reading his lines, just as Obama is doing, housebroken and realizing that he can’t change anything but the dinner china.

    But that all misses the point, which is that Obama will be reelected. If he had in any way disappointed or challenged Wall Street, the GOP would be fielding a real candidate. They are not, and that is what needs to be grasped – the dog that did not bark.

    1. Mark Tokarski

      I think there is way too much attention paid to peripheral issues. His marriages and affairs are none of my concern. If you are a big D Dem you no doubt think Clinton did a good job despite his hypocrisy. I don’t know that about you, of course, but the point is that private lives of politicians ought to be off limits. Too much prurient morality for my taste.

      The president is too often captive in office and unable to move policy because he is surrounded by people representing interests more powerful than the office. Obama has shown no ability, no interest even, in challenging these interests. He appears to be what Nicolas Sarkozy said of him right after the election, a very weak man. Perhaps Gingrich is stronger. Maybe he’s too right wing for my taste, but it would be nice to have a strong man in that office, f for no other reason than we could organize in opposition. Obama crushes organizing because too many people see him as liberal, which he is not.

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