Posted on January 19, 2012
Would you like to go to the prom with me? Would you marry me? Would you like to have an open marriage?
Those are three questions that guys ought to know the answer to before they ask.
Newt obviously didn’t get the answer he wanted from his second wife to the third question, if the allegations made by his ex-wife are true.
I have no way of knowing if they are true or not. Marianne Gingrich wasn’t the most pleasant person when her hubby was Speaker, at least according to the rumors I heard from Newt’s staff when I worked in the Congress. And there were all kinds of ethics allegations about Marianne, including a charge of influence peddling that actually made it to the Ethics Committee. That was the last thing Newt needed when he was running the House and battling his ethic violations (and losing, by the way).
All of these revelations bring back certain tawdriness to our political process, which is altogether fitting, given the tawdriness of our age. You can’t turn on the tube without seeing some reality show with a lot of people acting badly.
Newt Gingrich doesn’t exactly have the stereotypically perfect family. He has been married three times, as we all know. He has a half sister who is a lesbian (and an Obama supporter).
But like many Americans these days, Newt Gingrich’s untraditional family is becoming more of the norm than the exception.
One of the most popular shows on television is Modern Family. It is frickin hilarious. The show features a “normal couple” with two hyper-connected kids, a gay couple (with a new baby) and an older guy with his much younger wife (and her teenager). There is nothing traditional about this family, but they somehow get along every day in a world beset by work, leisure and the ubiquity of electronic devices. It was watching that show where I first learned about the modern phenomenon known as the iPad.
The traditional family might be the model, but the modern family is now quite common in America. I know something about the modern family. My dad was married three times and my mother was married twice, and somehow we all turned out okay. We got by, by getting by.
So, in many ways, I feel for Newt Gingrich. He is by no means perfect, and in many ways, that is refreshing. Perfect people are annoying. Perfect families are nice to look at, but you know they are hiding something. They must be.
Of course, Newt might be a little bit over the top on his own personal peccadilloes. And my guess is that it will hurt him in South Carolina. In 2009, the Palmetto State had one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, and my guess is that Modern Family (the show) isn’t at the top of the charts in Columbia, South Carolina.
Newt is a smart guy and if he gets the nomination, it will be interesting to see how the Obama campaign attacks him on family values. But make no mistake about it. If Newt get the nomination, he will be issue in the campaign. I would prefer that we keep the issue the issue in this campaign, and the issue is Barack Hussein Obama.