There a few things more distasteful about Newt Gingrich than his grotesque hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a quality not uncommon among pols, but Gingrich takes it to new levels. The man who was for the Libya war before he was against it, was for the individual mandate before he was against it, savaged Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan before he admired it, and snuggled up to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on global warming before he renounced her global warming fetish has no problem casting himself as the heroic, consistent conservative while criticizing his opponent Mitt Romney for his changes of mind.
And when it comes to excoriating lobbyists and special interests, no one tops the candidate from Big Pharm, Freddie Mac and the ethanol industry. In the Dartmouth debate, Newt went on his usual roll about the financial crash with no hint of self awareness:
The fact is, in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, the fix has been in. And I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be angry. But let’s be clear who put the fix in: The fix was put in by the federal government.
And if you want to put people in jail — I want to second what Michele said — you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble.
Not even probation for the historian who carried water for Freddie?
But nothing quite tops his lecturing Herman Cain about adultery. Politico reports: “Newt Gingrich, who has been friendly with Herman Cain but who has suggested his opponent needs to deal with the drip-drip of allegations about his past, suggested the businessman needs to address the claims made by Ginger White. ‘It is something that Mr. Cain will have to settle with the country and talk to the country about,’ Gingrich told CNN’s John King, as relayed by Politico’s Juana Summers. ‘It is sad to see that level of pain brought out, but I think he’ll have to deal with it.’ ” Gag.
On this the commenters were priceless. “I would like Gingrich to address the nation about his past multiple affairs. Maybe Gingrich and Cain can do a joint press conference,” wrote one. Another: “Newt telling Cain to talk to the country. Yeah, like Newt ever has [talked] about himself being a serial adulterer....” And finally, like many of us, this commenter can barely hide disgust: “After all, Cain’s merely been accused of philandering, but Gingrich is known to have philandered with his current wife, and evidently that’s just the ticket to winning the Truer-than-thou-Conservatives’ ‘values’ votes.”
Really, what’s next — the Family Leader considering him for its endorsement as the best “values’ candidate? Oh, well, yes. ( The other contenders for the nod, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have every reason to be appalled that they could lose out to a character with so little character.)
The very fact that Gingrich would so blithely direct Cain to bear his soul undermines Gingrich’s canard that he’s truly repentant. If he were truly remorseful and shamed by his own conduct, would he be going into his holier-than-thou routine? I think not.
Because Gingrich cheated on two wives years ago he seems to have been afforded a pass few other pols get. Why raise such a fuss over former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who only cheated on one wife? Why get bent out of shape about Bill Clinton for that matter?
Gingrich’s serial adultery and his current hypocrisy suggest not a immoral man, but an amoral one. Rules, shame, punishment, consistency and transparency are abstractions for him, tools to be wielded against political opponents while his own supposed brilliance and patriotism exempt him from the standards that mere pols must follow. Really, is this a person whose values and judgment you’d trust to manage a charity or hold a leadership position in your church, let alone occupy the Oval Office?