I, like a lot of conservatives these days, am struggling. I must admit that I found a little joy in Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina. I’m not sure if it was my natural instinct to pull for the underdog or if I wanted to simply delay a Romney nomination until I could decipher what exactly is going on.
I’ve listened to some who claim that Newt is a progressive. I’ve examined the evidence. There are some things that Newt has said that are troubling. Is he a progressive? Some would say that his praise of FDR proves it. In that case, Ronald Reagan was a progressive. Reagan, a New Deal Democrat in his youth, rejected big government solutions to problems but still regarded FDR as one of the giants of the 20th Century, often praising him.
Teddy Roosevelt is one of those often quoted by Tea Partiers for his stand on illegal immigration, yet when Newt praises TR he’s labeled a progressive.
Both Roosevelts certainly had their bad sides, but they had traits and positions to admire too. Simply saying something nice about either doesn’t make one a progressive. I’m more concerned about what Newt did when given the chance to govern. During his time in the US House, he enjoyed, at times, a 100 rating with the American Conservative Union. That means he voted as they wanted him to vote 100 percent of the time. His lifetime rating with the ACU was north of 90 percent. Hardly a progressive.
But then Newt has had his head-scratching moments. Sitting down on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to fight manmade global warming was one of them. He has since said it was one of the dumbest things he’s ever done.
Newt is actually featured in our new documentary, An Inconsistent Truth, which opens in theaters Jan. 27. In that film, he likens global warming believers to religious zealots and says that their plan is to destroy modern industry which will, in turn, destroy those opposed to them. He goes on to chastise Al Gore for making a killing by getting the government to “rig the system.”
Whatever views he once held on the subject, it sure sounds like he’s seen the light.
His personal life is another matter entirely. Not to defend his infidelity, but to have Marianne Gingrich decry his cheating with Callista while they were married is akin to Kim Kardashian calling Paris Hilton a tramp. It was Marianne who was purportedly the mistress in Gingrich’s first marriage. As the ‘80s Sergio Mendes hit, “Alibis”, goes, “Somewhere out there, you’ve got another rendezvous/I know the way you work/You think you’re in the clear but don’t forget/That’s exactly the way we met.” Seems someone who carried on a lover’s rendezvous with Newt shouldn’t be surprised when he does the same thing to her.
Newt has a lot to answer for as far as his personal life is concerned. He’s claimed redemption. Only God knows if his heart is true. Me? I prefer the old Russian expression: doveryai, no proveryai—trust, but verify.
I’m more worried about Newt’s ego. I was pleased to see that the Gingrich of the ‘90s was not standing at the podium after the victory in South Carolina. Instead of gloating, he was almost downright humble and talked glowingly of his opponents.
Illegal immigration is another issue of concern with Gingrich. He’s subject to side with the open borders crowd if we don’t watch him.
As for affairs, I’m less concerned with his jumping in the sack with Callista than hopping on the couch with Nancy.