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Newt, unfit

John Mark Reynolds, the conservative Christian philosopher who teaches at Biola, has a powerful column about marriage, civilization, and Newt Gingrich. Excerpt:

Newt Gingrich was disciplined and removed from his high office by conservatives for his grandiose personality. He was a political roué, unable to control his political urges or ideas. He was sent packing to the political morgue, but now the roué returns from the morgue to murder marriage.

Only a grandiose man who believes words are more important than deeds could think he would get away with that in the long term. His party is left defending him when it should be examining better people: the political roué does not care.

Perhaps marriage should be redefined or perhaps, as Pope Benedict claims, this will end civilization. In any case, the grandiose man is the last man we need leading the discussion.

Newt Gingrich is unfit for public office.

Note well that JMR is not so much declaring Gingrich unfit because he cheated multiple times on his wives, but rather because he is a staggeringly undisciplined hypocrite who will harm the cause of defending traditional marriage. It’s like asking Snoop Dogg to be a Just Say No avatar.

UPDATE: Good to see that NRO’s Rich Lowry and Mark Steyn are not impressed by Newt’s theatricality. Steyn calls Newt’s calculated debate outrage over John King’s question “cheap manipulative ersatz indignation.” I especially agree with NRO’s Mike Potemra. Mike credits the Gingrich surge in SC to:

…the strange and unhappy specific mix of intellect and emotion among those supporters. Their intellect tells them that Newt’s behavior was wrong, because it is in direct contradiction to their own values. But the subterfuge of turning it into a hate-the-media issue taps into a preexisting deep well of resentment, and encourages the emotions to override the intellect — the feel-good response defeating and drowning out the basic values that the same people would, in more sober moments, consider paramount. Does this embarrass the social-conservative cause, as Betsy Canfield Hart says? You bet.

And please, no tiresome nonsense about hardy-har-you-claim-to-be-a-Christian-but-you-hypocrite-you-don’t-forgive-Newt. Maggie Gallagher had the right idea on this: It’s not really about forgiveness, it’s about trust.



about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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