Saturday, December 10, 2011

Everywoman’s Ex-Husband

During the long battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2007-08, a popular conservative radio host—a thrice-divorced male—opined that Hillary Clinton reminded men of their ex-wives.  It was not a compliment.

Fast forward to 2011-12 and the Republican race for the same nomination.

When women see and hear Newt Gingrich, of whom are we reminded?
  • How about the ex-husband who traded you in at middle age for a newer model young enough to be his daughter?
  • How about the ex-husband who cheated on you with other women during your marriage and, in the end, ditched you to advance his career?
  •  How about the ex-husband with whom you shared marriage vows, bed, and years together, but who petitioned to have his newfound religion “annul” his marriage to you, as though you had never even been his wife?
  •  How about the ex-husband who, despite all this and much more, is today riding high in polls of vacillating Republicans, wavering Evangelicals, and erratic Tea Partiers for the GOP’s nomination to the highest elective office in the nation?
 What’s a woman to think?  What’s a discarded wife to believe about the ethical moorings of these brand-new Gingrich fans?  What are women voters to conclude about the authenticity and moral fiber of Republicans who vehemently “defend” marriage legislatively but are promoting a repeat adulterer to head the GOP ticket in 2012?

Recently Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, appeared on Laura Ingraham’s radio show to talk about Newt Gingrich.  Dr. Land reported that Evangelical men often support Newt under the theological auspices of his professed “repentance” for his past adulteries.  However, Evangelical women are not willing to fall in line.  In taking the measure of Newt’s character, Evangelical women cannot get beyond his history of marital infidelities. Virtually all the Evangelical women to whom Dr. Land had spoken said they would not vote for Gingrich.

To remedy this gender gap, Dr. Land suggested that Newt give a speech to reiterate his “repentance” and play up his role as a “grandfather.”  Maybe such a tactic will win over the grandkids vote, but it’s D.O.A. with wives and ex-wives.  Wives are partners—equal, vowed, monogamous sexual partners—not primarily grandmothers.  Wives have the right to expect fidelity from their husbands and not merely post-adultery, post-divorce attentiveness to their grandchildren.

I offer these observations as a woman, a lifelong Republican, and a concerned conservative who has been happily married to my first and only husband for nearly 25 years.  He is an extraordinary man, a beloved partner, and a transformative influence in my life.  That said, I’ve seen many a marriage fall apart because of selfishness, failure to cultivate shared values, and, most painful of all, infidelity.  The lies, double-life, and cruel rejections at the core of an extramarital affair leave permanent scars on the betrayed spouse and family.

Except for the “annulment” of Newt’s second marriage (to accommodate the religious qualms of his former mistress/third wife), his marital infidelities are not particularly unusual in the rarefied universe he inhabits.  Newt is a consummate Washington, D.C., insider operating in an elite political sphere where power, prestige, and money are the ultimate aphrodisiacs.

What is unusual—shocking, in fact—is that many Republicans seem to be embracing this self-serving cad as their presidential standard-bearer in 2012.

If the Republican Party wants to flush more than half the electorate’s votes down the drain in 2012, by all means pick Newt Gingrich as the nominee.  Newt will never be President of the United States.  But he may just ensure that legions of women vote against the GOP for years to come. 

Areté
10 December 2011

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10 comments:

Terrye said...

I am a woman and I will never vote for the self promoting bag of wind.

DanL said...

There are at least a few of us men who will be turned away from the GOP if Newt is the nominee.

Good points about women being turned off in droves by Newt.

leighrow said...

The GOP definitely has a death wish if they nominate Gingrich. Gingrich will lose the General election. Gingrich is too polarizing and corrupt to appeal to moderates,independents and Reagan Democrats as well as the women's vote.

The far right nutters better step out of there little isolated world and see that there is about 50% of the population that is not that opposed to Obamacare and Obama's personal likability is running at about 65%.

Gingrich on the other hand is very unliked by many people who remember his abuse of power,tantrums,lack of ethics,lack of character and they also remember his self implosion after the contract with America. They also remember how slick willy won the political game and floated to reelection in 1996.

People say Gingrich has changed...well personally, I like Congressman Peter King, would prefer not to test this theory by awarding him with the highest office in the land.

BOSMAN said...

Welcome To right Speak Areté.

I honestly don't understand how many woman are giving Newt a pass on this. One mistake I could see, but not a SERIES.

Has society and morals in America declined so much that activities like this don't matter that much any more? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

Cain drops in polls, numbers go to other man, both (shall I say three) of them experienced the same
thing in the nineties . An ex adulterer in the oval office and a first lady who had an affair with a married man. Is this the kind of role model that we want our children see? Hypocracy is the buzz word here.
Protect our children. They are not political ( pandering, expediency, etc), and they need a God fearing leader in the white house as their role model.

Alan said...

Areté, your last sentence in bold gets at the very core of the issue. (applause) I understand that your post is to highlight the viewpoint of women, but the same applies to any social conservative. How can a social conservative who preaches high moral values turn around and vote for Gingrich over a man who is highly devoted to his wife and family? Sure, we are not choosing a pastor here, but social conservatives have always claimed that character matters. What does it say about the character of social conservatives if they don't vote what they preach?

Alan said...

I might add that if social conservatives don't like Romney for whatever reason, there are other great candidates who preach and live high moral values (i.e., Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum). I will lose faith in social conservatives if they vote for Gingrich over Bachmann, Santorum, or Romney.

Anonymous said...

Arete, Great post!

That Land letter was something else, wasn't it? I thought maybe someone would post the whole thing here--it was such a gas.

Anyway, you are 100% correct. The way social cons are going for Newt is just mind-bogglingly hypocritical.

Welcome to RS!

-Martha

Anonymous said...

There are a couple of things women are suppose to believe in Newt's redeemption that are not going to work.

First, that all of Newt's dirty laundry is out and nobody cares. However, Americans have a short memory and need a refresher to remember why Newt became so hated just a few years back. The main stream media hasn't touched on Newt's treatment of his wives, and once that's out again, most women will think Newt is a creep.

Second, women are suppose to believe that both of Newt's affairs from both his marriages are isolated incidences and just bad luck at not finding the right spouse....No, no, no......For men like Gingrich, affairs are like potato chips. You can't just have one or two, in Newt's case. The same as with Herman Cain, there are more women out there waiting to step forward and tell their story.

The ABR crowd may not care about family values any more, but for other voters, among them women, it will solidify the hypocritical stereotype that Republicans just want to preach moral standards but not follow them themselves.

Let me put Newt's compulsive behavior towards women in another way. Suppose that Newt Gingrich had had Mitt Romney's good looks and wealth. I don't think Newt would've ever even gotten married. He'd be too buisy with woman after woman after woman...But, Newt is not really great looking, so you know he initiated his affairs.(poor women who fell for him and his way with words like a lot in the country are right now)

There are a couple of reasons Newt has kept his third marriage together. First, he's not gonna do any better than his current wife. The second is that he's too and ugly to instigate an affair, even with his powers of spoken word. You know if he were better and more youthful looking he'd still be looking around for his next woman. For an ego such as Newt's, there's no compultion control.

In actuallity, Mitt Romney has Mitt Romney's good looks and wealth. Yet, by all indications, he has been a faithful husband and family man. Mitt is somebody who can face temptation and do the right thing. He probably could've had many affairs but didn't. Mitt really is 50 times the man Newt is.

long island divorce lawyer said...

It has been quite the buzz at that time. Women groups also stated that Newt reminded them of their alcoholic ex-husbands.