Saturday, December 03, 2011


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.


Kathy said...

I think many right-wing evangelicals are okay with Newt's marital history because it reflects their own. They've convinced themselves that repenting of previous infidelity makes it okay to continue their second, third, fourth...marriages to much younger trophy wives.

Ten Bears said...

There is no actual evidence backing up the assumption that atheism somehow leads to a decline in morality. In a 2009 study, sociologist Phil Zuckerman argued that “a strong case could be made that atheists and secular people actually possess a stronger or more ethical sense of social justice than their religious peers,” adding that they, on average, have “lower levels of prejudice, ethnocentrism, racism and homophobia” than the much larger population.

It's really rather simple: we (atheists) do not have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, so we have to subscribe to a stricter moral standard than our counter-parts in La-La Land. The "Christians" do have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card... their precious Jesus forgives them whatever they do: rape a little boy, it's OK, Jesus forgives you. Engage in Wars and Genocide, it's OK, Jesus forgives them. Lie, cheat (bear false witness), steal, covet thy neighbor's cow, it's OK, they've got a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. We don't enjoy that luxury, we have to be better.

That and, of course, we're a lot smarter than they are. Don't need crutches.

c u n d gulag said...

I suspect that when he looks at Newt, Jerry Sandusky wishes he'd become a Republican politician instead of an assistant football coach.

If they can forgive Newt, what's a little ass-raping of underaged boys - as long as you can say that Jesus forgave you?

Sandusky could have been a Republican Presidential contender...