It isn’t very often that one happens upon a politician as delightfull y sleazy as Newt Gingrich. The man is a walking, talking caricature. Thomas Nast – the legendary nineteenth-century political cartoonist most famous for his drawings of New York’s corrupt Boss Tweed – would have loved the Newtster! This is the same guy who had 84 ethics charges filed against him during the four years he served as speaker of the House of Representatives.
Now our man Newt is attempting to pass himself off as a model of religious virtue. Isn’t that a scream? It’s amazing how quickly some politicians not previously known for their religiosity are so eager to embrace the religious right with both arms when it suits their purposes. Ronald Reagan is a great example of this. In 1968 as governor of California, he signed into being what up to that moment was the most Liberal abortion law in the nation’s history. When he sought the White House a few years later, Reagan, who never belonged to any church and rarely attended services, was transformed into the Almighty’s very own representative on earth.
Newt Gingrich is now undergoing a metamorphosis very similar to the Gipper’s. After all, this is the guy who served his first wife with divorce papers as she was lying in the hospital, recovering from cancer surgery. You would think that anyone with half a conscience would have waited until the poor woman was at least back in the comfort of her home before doing something like that. For all he knew she could have literally been lying on her death bed at the time. One never knows after cancer surgery. No doubt about it, old Newt is one mean son-of-a-bitch!
And hypocrite? Let us not forget that while leading the effort to remove Bill Clinton from office for lying about an affair with a half-witted intern, Newt was having an extramarital affair with a member of his staff whom he would eventually marry after divorcing his second wife. In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcasting Network he blamed his philandering on his patriotism. The man is just so amusing.
To John Edwards’ credit, when he was busted having an affair behind the back of his cancer-stricken wife, he at least had the decency to slither away into obscurity, eternally shamed. Newt Gingrich, by contrast, is not ashamed. He’s patriotic. As Jack Parr used to say, “I kid you not”
It’s also amusing to listen him out on the talk show circuit as he cynically clouds the waters regarding the nationality of Barack Obama. He has cheerfully placed himself in the middle of the Birther movement by saying that the prez was raised in Kenya by a Kenyan father and was taught from his earliest days to despise the British. The fact that Obama was not raised in Kenya and only met his father once doesn’t mean a thing to Newt. Let’s face it: The truth is just too inconvenient. Why bother with fact when there are volumes of lies waiting to be exploited? Newt fancies himself an historian. His specialty seems to be historical fiction. My advice to him would be to find another line of work. Gore Vidal he ain’t.