My Patriotism Made Me Do It
Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the presidency has long since ended and is no longer in issue, but his infidelity is entirely relevant to this site’s interest so I have resurrected it for inclusion as a snippet.
Gingrich’s second ex-wife, famously claimed that he advocated for, and sought, an open marriage when he was having an affair so that he could have both a wife and a mistress.
Gingrich married his second wife, Marianne Ginther, months after he divorced his first wife in 1981. Gingrich went on to marry Callista Gingrich, the other woman during his marriage to Marianne.
The Brody File inerview
Gingrich gave an interview in early 2011, where he was (obliquely) asked about his infidelity.
There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.
Well, I’ve heard some excuses for affairs in my time, but the ‘I love my country’ one is a new one for me.
Gingrich also said during the interview,
There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them. I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I’m not only not proud of, but I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps.
It saddens me that Marianne Gingrich was painted by Gingrich’s supporters and campaign managers as an emotionally unstable woman out for vengeance. Marianne Gingrich deserved some respect from Gingrich, particularly over his infidelity, and it’s not acceptable in my view to then characterize her entirely as emotionally unstable.
To be approached with this after 18 years of marriage and to listen to his promises not to cheat on the other-woman-turned-third-wife when you know his history of infidelity … well … had she interviewed like a screaming banshee, I would have understood.
Gingrich went on to say,
… it may make me more normal than somebody who wanders around seeming perfect and maybe not understanding the human condition, and the challenges of life for normal people.
- to the inference that hard work and patriotism made Gingrich do it
- to Gingrich claiming how blessed he is in his life and in his wonderful marriage, and then piously discouraging his children and grandchildren from following his example
- to the inference that anyone devastated by their spouse’s infidelity is reacting in response to their inherent instability not their enforced emotional turmoil
And I strenuously object to the inference that infidelity is a normal choice for the imperfect person.