Serial presidential campaign flirter Newt Gingrich doesn't just have problems -- dating back 16 years -- committing to a run for the White House. For even longer, Gingrich has basically been thinking about forming an exploratory committee into monogamy, a situation that has now left him in the position where his potential first lady would actually be his third.
Today, Maggie Haberman details Gingrich's interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, where he admits that he was doing "things that were wrong," in his married life. And yet he makes it sound like he was doing those things because of forces well beyond his control!
"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," Gingrich told CBN's David Brody, in an interview taped at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition and posted online Tuesday night.
"And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them," Gingrich said. "I found that I felt compelled to seek God's forgiveness. Not God's understanding, but God's forgiveness.
I think it's absolutely first-rate that Gingrich didn't demand understanding from God, given that this is all very hard to understand. All Gingrich can tell you, about that time he left his cancer-stricken wife for another lady who became the multiple sclerosis-stricken wife he left for his current mistress-turned-wife is that he "was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them," possibly because he "worked too hard" because he felt "passionately ... about this country."
Think about that, America: Newt Gingrich did all of those things because he loved you so very much! And when things got tough for America, he didn't leave us for New Zealand or Ecuador or Portugal, as if we were some woman. Gingrich stuck by America, and if the pressure of our demands got to be so great that it forced him to philander from time to time, then maybe we need to take responsibility for that.
When Gingrich left Marianne for his current wife, Callista, here's how he explained the situation to his second wife:
She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. "'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.'"
He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.
Even in his tortured love life, all Gingrich wanted to do was support the American automobile industry!
Newt is pretty sure that he'll keep Callista because he's finally "truly enjoying the depths of my life in ways that I never dreamed it was possible to have a life that was that nice." Callista has helped Gingrich embrace Catholicism -- a religion whose attraction, for Gingrich, managed to fully bloom after she introduced him to the concept of annulment. As Christopher Buckley joked, "Mother Church can be rigid, but at times--bless her--she can think like a $700-an-hour K Street lawyer." Also thinking like a K Streeter? Newt's pal, Ralph Reed:
"I think as long as he's prepared to confront those challenges and he can do so in an authentic way, people's (inclination) will be to be forgiving. Who wants to be judged on their past? Everybody has had issues."
Yes, that's Ralph Reed saying, "Who wants to be judged on their past?" As Alex Pareene wryly observed: "Ralph Reed has become so ... morally laissez faire." Gingrich's embrace of Catholicism calls to mind the teachings of 15th-century Dominican Johann Tetzel, who famously remarked, "As soon as money in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory's fire springs."
At any rate, Newt Gingrich is facing some tough decisions about how he's going to serve the country he's so passionate about, so if there is a way that America could maybe stop breaking up his marriages for the time being, that would be really nice.