In a sign of just how desperate Republicans are for someone other than Romney to win the nomination, Newton “Newt” Gingrich has emerged from the pack as the new frontrunner. What with Cain suffering yet another bimbo eruption – and how can the party that claimed to restore dignity to the White House endorse such a man – and Huntsman being simply ignored, Newt is all that’s left in the cupboard. But is he really electable?
Newt has had a checkered past in many ways. While a member of the House of Representatives he was charged with eighty-four violations by the Ethics Committee, and paid a $300,000 fine, the largest in House history. He was charged with misuse of donations and lying to hinder an investigation, amongst other things.
Also, in a display of hubris worthy of a Roman Emperor, he famously shut down the federal government in 1995-1996. Unable to reach agreement with then President Clinton on a budget deal, and feeling snubbed during a trip on Air Force One, he decided to take his ball and go home. He shut it all down. This caused a massive backlash from his own party, and led directly to his resignation from the House in 1997, just days after winning reelection to another term.
His personal life has also been a problem. Married three times, he left his first wife after an affair with the woman who would become wife number two, and left wife number two after an affair with the woman who would become wife number three, a House staffer twenty-three years his junior. To call him a serial philanderer would be an understatement. But the kicker is that he was carrying on with the staffer while calling for the impeachment of Clinton on what were basically morals charges. Remember Monica Lewinsky and the blue dress? I have to admit, it takes balls to chastise someone for doing the exact same thing you are doing.
After leaving office Newt went into business for himself, and became a consultant. And though he has advised many different clients through the years, his most famous employer has to be Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant. Newt’s business reported income of $1.6 million from Freddie Mac over the last decade, surely not chump change. Yet he has felt free to criticize Barney Frank and Chris Dodd as the main culprits behind the banking crisis, and chief enablers of Freddie Mac and Franny Mae. Again, Newt seems to embrace a double standard where politics are concerned.
Since deciding to run for President, Newt has worked for Fox News, and is currently listed as a contributor for that fair and balanced network. He no longer advises Freddie Mac, as he took his money and ran like the rat he is from a sinking ship. He is a politician first and foremost, and knows when to cut and run, to borrow a Rove colloquialism. But back to my question, is he electable?
In my opinion, his nomination would delight President Obama and the Democratic faithful. Women will not vote for Newt because of his numerous affairs, especially when one of the affairs was with a woman twenty-three years younger than him. His history of ethics violations will scare off independents, and his background of hard-core Republicanism will frighten off minorities. Throw in Democrats who would never vote Republican, even if the Democrats nominated Mickey Mouse, and you have the makings of a toxic brew sure to sicken all conservatives.
Despite being viewed as too moderate, Mitt Romney is all they have. Instead of the flavor of the month, Republicans should rally around Romney and concentrate their efforts on getting him elected. If they don’t, they face another four years of Obama. And I don’t think Obama will be quite as willing to work with Republicans as he has been, not facing the prospect of another election down the road. Maybe then we will see the man we elected back in 2008. One can only hope.