Surprised? I’m not. (HT)
Like many evangelicals in Iowa, Steve Deace, an influential conservative radio host, is wrestling with the possibility that Newt Gingrich may be the most viable standard bearer for family-values voters in the next election. It’s a conundrum, he says, that many others are also grappling with. “Maybe the guy in the race that would make the best president is on his third marriage,” he says. “How do we reconcile that?”
One senses him trying. “I see a lot of parallels between King David and Newt Gingrich, two extraordinary men gifted by God, whose lives include very high highs and very low lows,” Deace says. David, after all, committed adultery with the ravishing Bathsheba, then had her husband killed, among other transgressions. The Bible makes room for complicated, morally compromised heroes. Now Christian conservatives, desperate for an alternative to Mitt Romney, are learning to do so as well.
“Under normal circumstances, Gingrich would have some real problems with the social-conservative community,” says Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council. “But these aren’t normal circumstances.”
After all, it’s not just that Gingrich is on his third marriage. He famously divorced his first wife while she was suffering from cancer—a cancer he’d previously used to garner sympathy in campaign speeches. He cheated on his second wife with congressional aide Callista Bisek, now his third wife, while leading the impeachment battle against Bill Clinton. Like Sen. Larry Craig, he of the attempted airport-bathroom tryst, Gingrich’s personal life has become a liberal punchline, proof of Republican hypocrisy on family values. How can voters whose main priority is the restoration of the traditional family rally around him?