YOU SAY "HORNDOGGERY AND BOMBAST" LIKE THEY'RE BAD THINGS!
Kathleen Parker thinks multiple marriages are helping Newt Gingrich with Republican voters:
... Most important, he has done the single thing that transcends sin. He has confessed and repented.
If Christian Americans hate a sin, they love a sinner. Let's face it: Forgiveness feels good. Gingrich ... has been forthright in admitting his flaws....
Bottom line: Most Americans would rather embrace a man who has fallen and climbed back to his feet than one who has never stubbed his toe on temptation. The successful protagonist is always flawed....
To put it mildly, I'd question whether Gingrich has been "forthright" or merely opportunistic with regard to his love life and his latter-day expressions of faith. And I'm not sure that I agree with Parker that the response to Gingrich is just generosity of heart on the part of Christians. But I think she's right that Christians, especially right-wing evangelicals, like the way Gingrich talks about his marital failings.
I think right-wing Christians like this talk from Gingrich because it tells them that he accepts their belief system. He defers to their moral worldview. He accepts that they're entitled to judge him. That's what makes them feel good about themselves.
Parker sees Gingrich's sin-and-redemption talk as a reason that Republican voters prefer him to Romney -- but maybe it's also a reason they prefer Gingrich to the utterly sanctimonious Rick Santorum. He'd probably be doing better if, somewhere along the line, he got nasty with an aide, then wept as he told us how horrible the memory of that makes him feel.
Elsewhere, via Joe Gandelman, I see that Politico has this anonymous quote from a Republican insider who's wary of Gingrich:
Gingrich "only has two modes -- attack and brag," explained one veteran GOP strategist.
Yeah? And you're surprised that that's playing well with the GOP base?
Who's been the most enduringly popular living figure on the right for more than twenty years? Rush Limbaugh. What does Rush Limbaugh do for a living? Well, he does exactly what Unammed Veteran GOP Strategist says Gingrich does -- attack and brag. That's Limbaugh's entire schtick.
That's what Republican voters like. That's what they've been primed to like for decades, with the assent, probably, of this very strategist and the strategist's insider pals.
You folks made a world in which egocentric partisan bombast is valorized -- that means you made a world in which, sooner or later, the rise of a candidate like Gingrich was inevitable.