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Newt: Not immoral, but amoral

So says Jennifer Rubin [1], and she’s right. After pointing out Newt’s many flip-flops — against the Libyan intervention and then for it, for Fannie and Freddie (his clients as a provider of access historian, etc. — she lays into him on his latest outrage:

But nothing quite tops his lecturing Herman Cain about adultery. Politico reports [2]: “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.

Verily, Newton Leroy Gingrich has no shame. Rubin:

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?

Character matters. There’s a pattern here.

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25 Comments To "Newt: Not immoral, but amoral"

#1 Comment By Noah On November 29, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

Rod, you wrote a post just like this a week or two back. Rubin doesn’t care for Gingrich personally, but she is in total agreement with his wacky bellicose neocon foreign policy. She is dumping on him because there is a bevy of other neocon-approved candidates this year. If the race was down to Gingrich-Paul, have no doubt on whose side she would be.

#2 Comment By Rod Dreher On November 29, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

So what? Does Rubin’s supposed motivation for pointing out what a sleaze Gingrich is on ethics make it less true?

#3 Comment By MH – secular misanthropist On November 29, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

What amazes me is the Newt is polling as high as he is.

#4 Comment By SteveM On November 29, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

Re: “Rubin’s supposed motivation for pointing out what a sleaze Gingrich is on ethics make it less true?”

Rod, even a broken Neo-con watch is still right twice a day. Rubin is not worth quoting because she has no real legitimacy.

P.S. Gingrich is indeed a Reptile.

#5 Comment By Brian On November 29, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

“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.”

Hey, what a coincidence! That’s the way my dictionary defines “politician”!

How anyone can look at our cretinous current political class and NOT be an advocate for REALLY small government is beyond me…

#6 Comment By Ben On November 29, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

If Gingrich gets the nomination, things are going to get really interesting really quickly for the Republican party. Who is their base going to be exactly? If evangelicals stay home, the game is over, if they vote for Gingrich, the whole “evangelicals are tools for the Republican party” goes from meme to stark reality. What the heck is Newt Gingrich going to say to “values voters”?

Is there still time for Mitch Daniels to change his mind?

#7 Comment By Polichinello On November 29, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

Actually, I’ll demurr a little from Noah’s claim. Romney seems to have engendered a weird negative response from a lot of neocons. I know on paper he’s generally with them, but they’re weird casting about for a Not-Romney makes me wonder.

At any rate his come-to-Joseph-Smith act on immigration is enough to raise him above the herd for me. He’s nowhere near ideal, but he’s the best on offer.

#8 Comment By John E On November 29, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

What amazes me is the Newt is polling as high as he is.

The rich GOP Primary Voters are different from you and me.

#9 Comment By John E On November 29, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

Dangit, there was supposed to be an HTML strikethrough on the word ‘rich’ above.

#10 Comment By SketchesbyBoze On November 29, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

Maybe Mr. Gingrich has Narcissistic Personality Disorder? He certainly evinces many of the symptoms.

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 29, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

Gingrich is polling as high as he is because Republicans who don’t want Romney have lost their other alternatives. Most likely, Barack Obama will be re-elected. It’s smart politics for him to say he is the underdog, “considering the economy,” but when people get a good look at the alternatives, he will win. As David Duke said about Gingrich, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Some of us are not sold on unmitigated “small government” because that would leave the field clear for non-governmental powers, mostly but not exclusively wealthy and/or corporate, to dominate the landscape and extinguish our liberties with impunity. No government means the biggest bully or the meanest gang rules. The fact that bullies and gangsters naturally try to take over the machinery of government, since it exists, and often succeed, doesn’t mean we would be better off with no government at all. Think, Louisiana before Huey Long. Then think Huey Long. Then think about Standard Oil buying the next generation of Longs.

#12 Comment By thomas tucker On November 29, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

You know, I wish character did matter. But, in terms of being an effective President and leader, I’m not sure it actually does.

#13 Comment By Bryan On November 29, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

Am I the only one that took Newt’s comments differently than presented here? I didn’t see it as chastising him or anything, just that “these allegations are out there and on the heels of the other stuff, he’s going to have to address these latest allegations. He won’t be able to remain silent on it and hope it goes away.” Something to that effect.

And I’m no Newt supporter at all.

#14 Comment By Extollager On November 29, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

The list of Republican candidates for whom I, as a conservative, will not vote, lengthens….

#15 Comment By Gus On November 29, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

Yes, Newt did deal with his own serial adulteries thus: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” What a stand up guy!

#16 Comment By Jaybird On November 29, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

The fact that Newt is now the front-runner is just astounding. I understand the GOP base loves his whole belligerent intellectual act, but there is no way that he’d be viable in the general election. Everyone who is likely to vote has had their minds made up about this guy for almost 20 years now, and pretty much everyone who’s not a staunch conservative thinks he’s a creep and blowhard of the first order. Put it this way, I voted for Obama in 2008 and am pretty severely underwhelmed. I don’t think he deserves re-election at this point. I could see myself and plenty of other middle of the road types like me pulling the lever for Romney next year. I probably won’t, but I would be willing to consider it if the economy gets much worse. No way would I ever consider voting for Newt. I don’t see how anyone who isn’t already sold on him will either.

#17 Comment By Stef On November 29, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

Newt is dead in the water with women independent voters. It’s one thing to cheat on your wife when she stands by you. It’s quite another to do it when she’s on her serious sickbed. The pundits may not pay attention to it, but middle-aged women will.

#18 Comment By Charles Cosimano On November 29, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

Since when does being amoral disqualify someone from being President?

#19 Comment By Stephen On November 29, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

Mr. Jenkins:
No one is for “no government” so please don’t set up straw men. And you might want to define the non-governmental powers that loom so horrifically in your fevered little imagination.
You assume they will form and proliferate sans any attempts by those whose liberties would be extinguished with impunity to contain and, or, destroy them.
Government is a monopoly with a “legal” right to use force in some certain area. A corporation, or or revivified Rockefeller must sell a product. One can contain them far more easily than the run amuck “statesmen” we now witness wrecking this world.
And yes Obama will probably win and whatever “Standard Oil” owns him (and most of the others) will have a fellow who needn’t worry at all about reelection to do their bidding.
Finally, what are you people worried about? There will never, ever, be elected anyone who can downsize this government. That just does not happen. You will have, in perpetuity, plenty of government to protect you…

#20 Comment By Chris On November 29, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

“Maybe Mr. Gingrich has Narcissistic Personality Disorder? He certainly evinces many of the symptoms.”

I really can’t give a DSM-IV diagnosis to someone I have not met with and done a formal clinical evaluation. However, on an informal level he just reeks of Cluster B personality disorder symptoms! Perhaps a Narcissistic Antisocial mix of some sort!

#21 Comment By SiliconValleySteve On November 29, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

I don’t represent anyone but myself but I am a values and economic conservative and I would sit-out an election of Newt and Obama. I’m disgusted that he is even in the running. What are these people thinking?

#22 Comment By Park Hyun On November 29, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

The big question is whether the party heads can stop him. He’s unelectable, but the Romney dog won’t hunt. If they lose control of their party, things will get real interesting.

#23 Comment By Liam On November 29, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

What’s worse is that Newt based his a lot of his ground campaign on his Catholic credentials. He’s been working the Catholic parish and university circuit (and getting rejected, quietly, in some places – in my parish, for example, I know the pastor’s invitation had to be withdrawn after people found out a Newt appearance was on the calendar late last year, because there would have been a stink if he had come, just as there would have been for John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi). A second-hand anecdote from a priest familiar with Newt’s catechesis before reception was that, when faced with the Church’s social teaching, he said he didn’t need to learn that, um, stuff (a cruder word was used).

Anyway, I am not part of the Temple Police saying that what used to be called (as Amy Welborn memorably put it a few years ago) “Bad Catholics” can’t run for office or whatever. It’s just unseemly to actively trade on your Catholic creds if you are one.

#24 Comment By Red Emma On November 30, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

Newt is a flake, but he’s a smart flake, and sometimes I kind of enjoy listening to him natter on. If he were giving a course at any school where I have auditing privileges, I would enjoy sitting in. OTOH, I would cross the street to avoid shaking hands with him, as with any serial wife-dumper. Is that a good reason not to vote for him? Well, I’m not voting in the GOP primary anyway, but if I were, I wouldn’t vote for him because I think he simply couldn’t govern, because he couldn’t keep the rest of the government (legislative or judicial) behind him. I suspect Romney is inevitable, possibly even in the general election, simply because there is a significant chance that he WOULD be allowed to govern.

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 30, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

Strike a nerve Stephen? Your penchant for modest sarcasm far exceeds your grasp on either data or history. Funny, for example, that you should mention Rockefeller. The dynasty was founded by ruthlessly running small, family-oriented, local, businesses out of the oil industry, or making them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Anti-trust laws have been much less than they should have been, because as soon as they were established, the trusts started putting their men in to administer them. Thus, the laws were used far more to make it prohibitively expensive for smaller businesses to compete, than to restrain large businesses from crushing competition. In fact, the first targets of anti-trust enforcement were not corporations, but unions. Then, the big boys use the legitimate complaints of small, local businesses to whip fervor against ANY government regulation. They are wolves, and you offer yourself as sheep’s clothing for their little game.

Your faith in the “free market” and the ability of any citizenry to control any corporate bully by virtuously refusing to buy their product is touching… but unreal.

If you are too enamoured with fantasy capitalism to grasp the dangers to personal liberty, look at what happens when police protection is more or less withdrawn from an area: gangs and gang federations take over. As you would know if you had ever studied the origins of war and states, the earliest states emerged precisely from the strongest gang putting itself over on all its rivals within a community, then marching on the next community over. Read: Sumeria, Mesoamerica, Visigoths…