Here’s the Nonsense: Newt Gingrich can’t possibly sustain the scrutiny and criticism about his past. That will surely be his undoing.
Here’s the Horse Sense: Newt Gingrich is maintaining his lead in the polls, in spite of all the problems from his past that everyone keeps resurrecting. He might have found success through an age old formula that makes those criticisms run off him like water off a duck’s back.
The fire has long been out. The ashes are no longer smoldering and the smoke is gone. The fire fighters have long since gone back to the firehouse. They've probably even given the fire dog, Spot, a bone. But somehow the media and establishment Republicans are screaming “fire” when it comes to Newt Gingrich’s past mistakes of many years ago.
With all the talk of Newt’s candidacy being short-lived, he sure is hanging on to the lead in the polls. Even when the media decided to strike at the core conservative value of marital fidelity in Saturday night’s debate, Newt walked through it like a soldier with a map to the minefield that was laid for him. Nothing brought up again about his past seems to be of concern to American voters.
Of all the GOP candidates, only Newt that we know of has had failure in this area of his life. Yet he still came through the scrutiny with flying colors. The audacity and hypocrisy that a “journalist” like George Stephanopoulos would even allow himself to be the one to raise such questions is remarkable. After all, Mr. Stephanopoulos was working for Bill Clinton during the very time efforts were being made to diffuse the impact of the sexual escapades of which President Clinton was accused. But somehow in today’s media the only standards that exist are double standards.
When questions of the trustworthiness of a candidate who has been guilty of marital infidelity were raised at the debate, every candidate there, except Newt, was able to say that they are still married to their first spouse and all claimed faithfulness in those relationships. The finger was pointed directly at Newt for his infidelity in the past. Now let me say here that NO ONE is tougher on the issue of infidelity than I am. Ask anyone who knows me very well and they will tell you that I accept no excuse to justify infidelity. I believe that if a person cannot be trusted in the most sacred commitment they make in their life, their marital vows, then they cannot be trusted in anything else. Very simply, if you’ll cheat on the most important promise you ever make, then there is no reason you wouldn’t cheat on something of lesser importance. HOWEVER, I also believe that people make mistakes. I believe that if they admit their guilt, truly seek forgiveness from God for their actions, and work hard to live a redeemed life, then over time, they can prove themselves trustworthy again. Without this hope of redemption we might as well all give up in life.
So Saturday night at the debate when the
hypocrites media asked whether a person guilty of infidelity could be trusted to be president, it was no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that Newt owned up to his faults. He openly admitted he’d made mistakes and then went on to say that he’d sought forgiveness from God. If you’ve been paying attention to this campaign for any period of time you already know that he’s addressed this more than once. He’s been an open book and without any defensiveness he’s welcomed questions about his past. He’s even put a page on his website to deal with questions about his past and openly offered for anyone who didn’t find answers to questions they had about his past to contact his campaign. By doing so he is finding out most Americans are willing to move on. That is exactly what I predicted would happen in an earlier post I wrote a few weeks ago.
Now I doubt Newt has ever read my blog and even if he had, I doubt he’d care what I have to say. But for those of you paying attention to my commentary, you will note that I had said that I believed that if Newt were to continue being open about his past and the forgiveness he’s sought, that the American people would be willing to move on. It is old news for Newt. People have brought up the issues of his past many times in years gone by. And the American people are tired of it. Newt just reinforces their desire to move on by doing the right thing and turning his life around. He has over a decade in a good marriage with Callista to back up his claims that he’s changed. Those are the things that are making Newt succeed in spite of the continued resurrection of old issues.
You’ve heard it said that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It seems that the media and establishment GOP can’t find any smoke but they’re determined to find fire anyway. But the media doesn’t want to forget it. The establishment GOP doesn’t want to forget it. They all want Mitt Romney as the GOP candidate. And the Democrats do, too, in addition to probably wanting some payback for the huge success Newt had in Congress promoting conservative causes. He may not be the most conservative of candidates, but he has a record promoting many conservative causes successfully.
So, when the debate rolled around Saturday night and the media decided to try to raise issues to undermine Newt’s candidacy he stuck to his plan to be open and honest. The result was that it worked. The American people showed no interest in it. They showed support for his admission of fault and effort to turn his life around, much to the bewilderment of the media (and the establishment GOP, too, I’m sure).
His continued strong showing in this debate along with his willingness to show strength of conviction and stand alone against the onslaught about his comment regarding the Palestinians and Israel were reinforced by the support the audience and American public are showing for him on those issues. Even when other GOP candidates were wanting to maintain political correctness about such a hot button issue as the Middle East, Newt didn’t back down. He stood his ground, spoke historical truth and showed support for one of America’s most loyal and important allies. And the real irony was as the debate about that particular issue raged on, the audience supported Newt with applause and cheers. He stood his ground seemingly alone in that auditorium and when it looked like no one would agree with him the crowd backed him.
Now whether you like Newt or not doesn’t matter. That openness to criticism and judgment was Newt showing one of the characteristic traits of a leader. And that willingness to stand alone against the pressure of political correctness and support Israel is another sign of a leader.
There are still some positions I do not agree with Newt Gingrich on, but just those two characteristics he showed Saturday night said a lot to me about his ability to lead. I realize that I’m not going to find the perfect candidate. But I do know that sometimes people who've learned from their mistakes have learned wisdom that others who only have knowledge can't even understand. Wisdom comes from experience, not knowledge or intellect. Most people, even those with great knowledge and great intellect do not have wisdom. Our leadership in Washington has proved that for many decades. And wisdom is the stuff that solves the toughest problems in life.
Newt Gingrich is far from the perfect candidate. I haven't fully gotten behind anyone yet. In fact, I'm still open to the "right" conservative candidate if he or she rises up. But if I am to do proper due diligence in considering candidates, then I have to admit that Newt is doing a lot of things that should be serious food for thought for those seeking a candidate who can best lead our nation out of the mess we’re in.