GINGRICH ISN'T A PHILANDERER -- HE'S A BORN-AGAIN MONOGAMIST!
Mitt Romney clearly thinks this ad will be devastating to the multiply married Newt Gingrich among Iowa evangelicals, but I don't think so:
...With soft music and gauzy shots of Mr. Romney with his wife and children over the years, it features Mr. Romney speaking at the CNBC debate in November: "I've been married to the same woman for 25 -- excuse me, I'll get in trouble -- for 42 years. I've been in the same church my entire life.
I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years," he says. "And I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games. If I'm President of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith, and to our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America." ...
But if Gingrich has bamboozled these voters into believing that his ramblin' days are over -- and it's quite possible that they are, at least for the time being -- then he may be in better shape on this question than the dull-but-faithful Romney. Remember, religious conservatives are the people who brought you the concept of the "born-again virgin" -- a formerly sexually active person who now refrains from non-marital sex, and is thus just as pure as a real virgin. They're the folks who love hearing about any woman who regrets having had an abortion, starting with the woman who was Roe of Roe v. Wade, who now fights against abortion rights. In the secular realm, these folks love "Fox News Democrats" such as Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller (who wrote a foreword to one of Herman Cain's books).
And, well, you could say this kind of thinking is biblical:
And [Jesus] spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
So, if Newt has the religious righties thinking that he was a lost sheep and now he's found, that's better for him than never being lost at all.
And, of course, there's the question of the two candidates' respective churches. Alas for Romney, this debate clip twice reminds people who are extremely wary of Mormonism that he's a Mormon (the references to "the same church my entire life" and "my faith").
Ah, but isn't Gingrich both inconstant and a member of a suspect faith? After all, he is a fairly recent convert to Catholicism, a religion that historically has been viewed with distrust among American Protestants.
Yeah, but Catholics have been at the forefront of the fights against both abortion and gay rights. John Paul II gets props as a commie-fighter, and Benedict is admired for harsh words about Islam. So right-wingers like Catholics these days.
And besides, Gingrich can use his own faith to launch attacks on objects of wingnut hatred:
Newt Gingrich: 'Coercive Secularism' Spurred Conversion to Catholicism
... Gingrich also attributed [his conversion] to the "crisis of secularism" that the Catholic Church had fought against in Europe, and which he said is now creeping across the U.S.
"The American elites are guided by their desire to emulate the European elites, and as a result, anti-religious values and principles are coming to dominate the academic, news media and judicial class in America," he said....
"The more I looked at this historic phenomenon, the more I had to come to grips with my own beliefs and my own tolerance of the increasingly aggressive secularization of our country," he said....
Maybe this is just a testament to Gingrich's bullshitting ability (why couldn't he fight secularism as a Southern Baptist?), but regardless, I don't think Romney can use his Mormonism this way. Not if he wants to win Iowa.