Former Congressman Newt Gingrich, who lead the Republican revolution of the 1990s, seems to be positioning himself for a possible White House bid. Evangelicals on the far right are not generally happy with the major figures currently vying for the Republican nomination and could welcome a figure whose positions are more in line with their beliefs.
Of course, there is a problem. Gingrich is currently married to his third wife, harmless enough on its surface but the fact that the woman he is married to he met through an affair. She was an aide at the time, and Gingrich was married to his second wife. The problematic part of the drama is that while he was having the affair, he was leading the charge against President Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky debacle.
The matter came up when Gingrich was asked by evangelical leader James Dobson, leader of the group Focus on the Family to respond to rumors that have floated around for years. Most pundits think the question was pre-arranged in what Pat Buchanan describes as a “controlled burn” put out to jump ahead of a story that was sure to come out anyway. Buchanan continued “you put it out first, in the expectation you won’t have a firestorm – say in Iowa in January. Mr. Gingrich is known as a very smart politician who is thought to be considering jumping into the race in the fall.
Conservative Christian leaders have been expressing disappointment with the leading candidates and are shopping around for someone to fully support. When Pat Buchanan was asked if conservatives might have to concede some ground on family values issues, He laughed and then said “Unless we are gonna nominate Brownback. Look, there’s no doubt about it, we have three top candidates who have eight wives among them and we’re the family values party. So it is a little ridiculous.” he goes on to say “We’re gonna have to turn into a very forgiving party, and we’re not known for that.”
So conservatives may have to choose the least offending among several offenders. In a move that shows they might already be willing to forgive Gingrich, he was invited to speak at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.
In contrast to Gingrich and other Republican hopefuls, the top three Democratic candidates have three spouses between them. What conservative candidates know is that to their base that doesn’t matter. There is no way that base would swing over en masse to a Democratic choice. What the Republicans running have to do is fight it out to get the nomination.