published Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Newt Gingrich's false lead in the 2012 presidential race

  • photo
    Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the River Church on Monday in Tampa, Fla.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Who do you support for president?

The good thing, perhaps the only good thing, about Newt Gingrich's victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary Saturday is that it is bound to bring more skeptical scrutiny to the candidate's remarkable range of hypocrisy.

Now that he's won a primary -- the largest so far, and one so studded with conservative wrath and evangelical disillusion -- it's time for voters to pin him down about his irreconcilable conflicts. He needs to be held accountable for the yawning gaps between his pulpit moralizing and his private philandering, his rich insider's perch among the Washington lobbyists and elites whom he suddenly finds so odious, his illusory righteousness and his blatant racism.

If South Carolina is a reliable measure, Republican primary voters themselves are not likely to demand a fair accounting of Gingrich's legendary discrepancies. Efforts by Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul -- or the super PACS that favor each of Gingrich's competitors -- are unlikely to be considered impartial critics, moreover. That leaves accountability up to reporting by the media and a fair-minded public.

There's plenty to consider, starting with Gingrich's unenviable record of three marriages and various affairs. He left his first wife, Jackie -- who had put him through college and graduate school, had borne his children and had helped him get elected to Congress -- after 18 years of marriage, while she was in a hospital struggling with cancer. A year later, he married the paramour he had been seeing, Marianne Ginther, when he divorced. She was his political adviser and co-author until the early 1990s.

By her account last week, Gingrich divorced her after she rejected his request for an "open marriage" so he could continue to see his new paramour, Callista, with whom he had had an affair for six years. That was the period in which he led the Republican charge for impeachment against President Bill Clinton for lying about an affair. Gingrich divorced Marianne for Callista soon after Marianne received a diagnosis of muscular sclerosis.

Against this background, Gingrich recently opposed gay marriage on the grounds that it violates "the sanctity of marriage," as if that was something that truly concerned him.

His philandering past is not a rarity in politics, of course, but it certainly begs the question of his sincerity and moral authority about fidelity, as well as his personal credibility. Gingrich, to be sure, seems to relish jolting conflicts. After preaching in favor of free enterprise and capitalism, he's lately sounded like a bona fide socialist in excoriating Romney's past as a venture capitalist.

To win the tea party vote, Gingrich has also begun describing himself as an outsider to Washington's establishment, never mind that he ended his congressional career as Speaker of the House. He lost that post and left Congress only after his fellow Republicans reprimanded him for ethics violations.

He continued to do well in Washington, however. He was a lobbyist for the giant federal mortgage underwriter, Freddie Mac, which paid him $1.7 million over eight years. He also became a special national adviser to companies in the health care industry, which he milked for $37 million.

If enriching himself as a philandering politician-turned-lobbyist doesn't knock down the self-aggrandizing monument he's built for himself, his racist taunts should do the trick. He's been warming up revanchist conservatives and invoking racial prejudices by attacking President Obama as the "food-stamp king," reviling people on food-stamps for their dependency, and preaching the need to teach poor black children to be part-time school janitors so they can learn a trade and a work ethic.

The nation's food-stamp use has risen to record levels, but only because of the deep aftershocks of joblessness from a Great Recession rooted in the last Bush administration's negligent fiscal policies. To demonize Obama and the nation's safety net as a racial problem is to malignantly spread pure political poison.

Voters in Florida's GOP primary a week from today would serve well to reject Gingrich's misguided distortions and blatant hypocrisy. South Carolinians missed the call, but there's still time for more informed voters to defuse the Gingrich surge.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
sandyonsignal said...

Agree with everything in the article, except for the timing of pinning him down on Newt's conflicts. Let's wait 8 more months then ask him about his hypocrisy. These issues will be brought up, but can wait until the end of August.

January 24, 2012 at 7:03 a.m.
Jack_Dennis said...

If EVER there was a Washington insider, it's Newton. BARRY OBAMA would beat him like a rented mule.

January 24, 2012 at 9:03 a.m.
timbo said...

I didn't read much of this tripe because I just had to know one thing...if Harry Austin is against it, then I'm for it.

Are we supposed to think that the two writers above and Austin are doing us a favor because they are concerned about the Republican nominee. Sure these people want Romney to win. I would be tweedle dee, liberal and tweedle dumb, more liberal. Romney has no chance against Obama because the people who matter, the conservatives, DON'T WANT HIM!!!!

The reason for these attacks on Newt are because they know that he would slaughter the first dumb ass in a debate and that he will go for the jugular. He will call Obama what he is. A community organizing joke who just spent $6 trillion more on the deficit. We don't need socialists or establishment Republican elitists like Romney running this country anymore.

Yea, Newt has his flaws but we need someone to stir it up and call it like it is. We don't need some namby pamby liberal or a robot like Romney.

You smug, uninformed, liberal piss ants are shaking in you boots that Newt might get the nomination. That's why Harry wrote this thing. If you want Newt so bad, why are you attacking him? Simple, you are afraid that someone will finally tell the American people how much trouble we are really in.

January 24, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
ibshame said...

Sooner rather than later Mitt Romney and his Super Pac are going to hit "ole Newton Leroy" so hard he won't see it coming. It's not going to be pretty. There was a little bit of it shown last night in Florida. It's only going to get worse and there is NOTHING Newton LeeRoy is going to be able to do to stop it. His attacks on the media won't get it this time because he will have way too much to answer for.
Mitt Romney has no intention of allowing Newt Gingrich to walk away with the nomination. If Romney doesn't get the nomination, then he's going to make sure if Gingrich gets it, he'll be so beat up until he won't win in the Fall among independents no matter what. Gingrich has so much more that the public is not even aware of just yet and so as they say GAME ON!! Gingrich is the bully who wants to take everyone's lunch money - Obama is the kid who will hit Gingrich in the nose, take his Cookies and then smile at him as he sings an Al Green tune. LOL.

January 24, 2012 at 9:59 a.m.
timbo said...

ibshame...blah, blah, blah... The independents went for Bush for 8 years. The last election was close, a larger percentage of independents went for Obama than they did for McCain, but not a wide margin. Obama was elected for three reasons, a huge black turn-out of that had 97% of blacks voting for Obama when it is usually 90%, young voters being hoodwinked by Obama, and a large segment of conservative voters like me that wanted to pay the Republican party back for big-spending, moderate Bush.

As far a skeletons in closets, Obama's buddies are going to be vetted by someone like Gingrich. You and the rest of you liberal weenies are afraid of Newt and that is becoming painfully obvious.

The bully here is Obama and you liberals. You want the government to dictate every facet of my life. That is what a bully is. Gingrich has no power over anyone yet.

So, keep blabbering about Newt. You liberals have no control over who is the Republican nominee. By the way, be careful what you wish for.

January 24, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.
acerigger said...

I believe everyone would do well to remember the saying about "the rooster that crows at midnight,,he's probably blind!"

Me,I'm buying stock in Orville Redenbacher! lol

January 24, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
HighFastHard said...

Newt Gingrich is a giant, steaming pile of pig manure covered by a suit with a human head propped on top. His mouth opens and verbal diarrhea comes spewing forth. I don't know how they airbrush out the big green flies buzzing all around him in photos and on TV. He stinks so bad I can smell him through the TV. He is a visually, morally and politically REPULSIVE, repugnant, misogynistic, race baiting, hypocritical PILE. He represents EVERYTHING that is wrong with Washington politics. Plus, that whiny voice of Newt sounds EXACTLY LIKE serial killer and sex pervert John Wayne Gacy ... Google him on the Internet and listen to an audio interview with him ... you won't believe how unreal it is that their voices sound just like each others. You'd think they're brothers and, in fact comes to think of it, they DO look a lot like each other.

January 24, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
timbo said...

HighFastHard...That's about the dumbest thing I have ever read on this site. You have just proven every bad cliche about liberals. Congratulations.

January 24, 2012 at 2:55 p.m.
HighFastHard said...

Yeah, I know ... having voted a straight conservative Republican ticket for the last 5 election cycles make me a liberal.

Timbo the Timid: Read through your self aggrandizing posts above ... you are a pontificating gaseous bag of rhetoric which, come to think of it, means you have a lot in common with Newt "the Pig" Gingrich.

January 24, 2012 at 5:09 p.m.
HighFastHard said...

And and one other thing ... here is a link to an interview with John Wayne Gacy ... listen to his voice with your eyes closed and you'll swear it's Newt Gingrich yammering on. And they bear a striking resemblance as well. See

January 24, 2012 at 5:16 p.m.
tipper said...

Leave poor timbo alone. He can't help it. He's imploding. Just stay out of the way so you don't get any on you.

January 24, 2012 at 5:18 p.m.
LibDem said...

timbo and HighFastHard bring subtlety and nuance to political discourse.

January 24, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.
HighFastHard said...

Yes, thank you. Above all, be entertaining. And flame whenever possible....

January 24, 2012 at 5:52 p.m.
potcat said...

Timmy as usual is a delusionl liar.

Timmy said, the Independents went for Bush for 8 yrs. Are you Timmy an indepentdent? You were up Bushies murderous arse so far the sun did'nt shine for 8yrs.

We all know how you hehe haha " independents want to now claim you never were a bush boy, nice try!!!

So if now the Newster is your man, so was the appointed manufactured cowboy Bushie!

January 24, 2012 at 6:36 p.m.
timbo said...

I'm driving in the car so forgive the grammar . I am an independent who never votd for bush . I think he's an idiot who ran up the deficit 5,000,000,000,000 dollars . obama is worse having ran up the deficit another 6,000,000,000,000 dollars in half the time . by the way , I'm not voting for newt gingrich . I'm voting for ron paul. Iwill never vote for the republican nominee unless it's ron paul . I'm not voting 4 Obama either. there is no difference between the parties . they are both corrupt , they both spend too much money, and they are both run by the elites. so you right wing sheep and left wing sheep can go to hell . the problem is you're taking the rest of us with you. Weneed a true conservative third party badly .

January 24, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.
ceeweed said...

Opining while driving...Be afraid, be very afraid!

January 24, 2012 at 7:41 p.m.
potcat said...

Timmys 9.22am post says exactly what he thinks the Newsteris so capable of doing.Timmy said, Newtie will tell it like it is and wipe the floor in a debate with Obama.That timboo we shall see. Sounds to me in your posting on other threads that the Newt is your boy, Paul was'nt even mention.

You said we need Newtie to stir it up and tell it like it is.

Just read your comments, what do you think anyone would come away with your ignorant glowing admiration for Newt.

I don't believe you on Paul or Bush. Your posting just don't back up your namby pamby tripe.

January 24, 2012 at 8:41 p.m.
fairmon said...

Ron Paul is the right choice but he is not flamboyant, he doesn't have charisma, the wealthy attack him and the media keeps trying to ignore him. People locked in on their party don't listen or try to understand what he is saying. Republican candidates and others are fearful his ideas may get some traction while the democrats are confident he won't be a factor.

January 25, 2012 at 6 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Harp339, Ron Paul said he is skipping Florida. I have to question how serious is his campaign? The only Republican bumper stickers I saw while in Florida over the holidays were Paul stickers and Paul yard signs. He has a passionate following in Florida, so I don't get why he didn't campaign there. Only reason I can think of is he is dropping out. Even if he hinted at 3rd Party, his followers would be out for him 110%.

January 25, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.