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 June, 2009


 Newt Gingrich Slips in Republican Appeal

The Newt Republican Party?

They held that huge joint Senate and House Republican fundraising dinner last week. I wasn’t invited. I wouldn’t have gone anyway, since Newt Gingrich was their keynote speaker.

And judging from the underwhelming take at the door, ole Newt’s fundraising abilities have gone the way of his measurable impact on the serious issues of the day.

That night the Republicans raised $14.5 million. Last year the same event raked in $21.5 million. In 2006, $27 million found their way into G.O.P. coffers.

If Newt gets asked to speak at next year’s fundraiser, it’ll be held at Chuck E. Cheese.

Oh, Gingrich took his usual hyperbolic stabs at President Obama and most people who aren’t Newt Gingrich. He did, however, manage a few kind words for the two most recent Republican losers who happened to be at the dinner.

“I felt looking at John McCain and Sarah Palin this country would have been AMAZINGLY better off if they would have been in the White House,” Gingrich proclaimed.

Amazingly? There’s one hitch in Newt’s logic. If the Republicans think as highly of McCain and Palin as he does, then why didn’t those two speak at the dinner?

Oh sure, Sarah and Todd Palin walked quickly across the stage to loud applause, but McCain may well have been in Denmark.

It’s not the first time Gingrich has spouted his overheated rhetoric. He’s a master at it. Those Republicans who see Gingrich as a possible presidential candidate in 2012 should beware.

His public and personal histories overshadow his obvious speaking talents.

He was a Speaker of the House who stepped away from Congress in near shame after he’d been charged with ethics violations that resulted in him having to pay a $300,000 fine.

In 1998, he’d lost also lost faith within his own party, because Republicans suffered more midterm election losses in the U.S. House than any party had lost in more than six decades, when that party didn’t hold the presidency.

Newt’s charm just didn’t translate very well, except, perhaps to the women who helped him cheat on a couple of his three wives.

Even while he’d been among the congressional leaders who’d led the charge against Bill Clinton’s extra-marital activities, Gingrich had had the same (and maybe even worse) problems along those lines.

In the 1970’s, Gingrich was married to his high school geometry teacher - Jackie Battley.

She was recovering from a second operation for uterine cancer when Gingrich thought it would be a good idea to walk into her hospital room and set the terms for their divorce.

Six months later, he married Marianne Ginther. It’s been widely reported (although Gingrich denies it) that Ginther had told him she had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for eight months when he called her on Mother’s Day to announce his intentions to divorce her.

That marriage lasted from 1981 until 2000.

But soon after that divorce, he married his third wife - Callista Bisek. Gingrich had reportedly been having an extra-marital affair with her, while, at the same time, he was the lead Republican in the case against Bill Clinton.

This is the guy the Republicans have trotted out to fight their most important political battles?

Newt, as they say, is a Beaut. His ethical and moral problems speak louder than any of his well-crafted words. Although even that skill is arguable.

A couple of weeks ago, he called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a “racist.” He later offered a half-apology because after all he claimed the obvious. He doesn’t know Sotomayor, so he doesn’t know her feelings about race.

So, he appeared a few days later and claimed that only her statements are racist, and that she’s really a “racialist.”

Well, Mr. Gingrich, you still don’t know Sotomayor. How do you know if she’s a “racialist” (whatever that is) either?

If Gingrich has any designs on the presidency, there’s still a lot of time until 2012. He can brush up on his “charm” in the meantime.

And, oh, there’s also ample time to change wives, while he’s at it.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net