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Tilting at Windmills

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August 10, 2010

MARIANNE GINGRICH HAS SOMETHING TO SAY.... Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has a special kind of appreciation for marriage. Gingrich, for example, haggled over the terms of his divorce from his first wife while she was in the hospital, recovering from uterine cancer surgery. He had already proposed to his second wife before he was divorced from his first.

In the '90s, this happened again. Gingrich had an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide -- while spearheading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton -- and asked his third wife to marry him before he was divorced from his second.

All of this, of course, would be easier to overlook if (a) Gingrich didn't seem entirely serious about running for president in 2012; and (b) Gingrich weren't running around saying things like, "The Democratic Party has been the active instrument of breaking down traditional marriage."

The middle wife -- the one between Newt's first and third marriages -- is Marianne, who once boasted she could end Gingrich's career with a single interview. Marianne has shown remarkable restraint for over a decade, but appears to have given that interview to Esquire.

It's a very lengthy piece, but the anecdote that's likely to generate the most attention comes in her telling of the point in May 1999, soon after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, when Gingrich confessed to one of his affairs -- with a woman who was in Marianne's "apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed."

[Marianne] called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. " 'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.' "

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

Speaking to how the former Speaker sees the world, Marianne said Gingrich "believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected." As for his presidential aspirations, she added, "There's no way."

Steve Benen 1:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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How surprising. Not.

Whatever you do don't read the full article, I needed an anti-emetic afterwards. No joke.

Posted by: JCT on August 10, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

This interview won't have any impact within the GOP. Anybody who has been paying attention over the past 20 years or so already knows that Gingrich is a total hypocrite.

Posted by: Kris on August 10, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

So McCain and Gingrich's idea of traditional marriage is abandoning one's wife when she becomes ill. Any other Republicans going in for this particular brand of "family values" that we know of?

Posted by: Nothing But the Ruth on August 10, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

He's loathsome in every way. How on earth did he manage to find one woman to marry him, much less three?!

Posted by: SaintZak on August 10, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad she kept her powder dry until now, it might have been even better if she waited longer still. The electorate in general and the wingnuts in particular have a very short memory for the sins of pols, I'd have prefered she drop this one during the early primary season.

Posted by: BillFromPA on August 10, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sure hope Marianne is ready to handle the onslaught from the Right Wing Noise Machine. Hannity, Malkin, Coulter, O'Reilly and all the rest will dig up all kinds of people who will swear they saw her fucking goats in junior high. And selling dope to high school kids in DC.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on August 10, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Guess he missed the "in sickness or in health" part....

Posted by: whichwitch on August 10, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"pwnage"; I'll have to read it later when I get the image of Newt having sex with a human being out of my mind.

Posted by: Trollop on August 10, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this third marriage is for keeps. Unless she gets sick...

Posted by: schwag of tulsa on August 10, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

As grotesque and hypocritical as the right wing is, even Fox will have trouble spinning this story. Summary: Newt is toast.

Posted by: walt on August 10, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"This interview won't have any impact within the GOP"

I have a friend who is arch conservative. When Jack Ryan was running for the Senate against Obama in Illinois she got furious when the sex club scandal broke...how dare they invade his private life! this is a witch hunt! I tried to explain to her that Ryan was running a "family values" campaign and his private life was fair game especially since it ran counter to his political stance. She didn't care about his private life. So I told her, "But HE cares about YOUR private life and MY private life." Still nothing but blind rage over what she called a smear campaign.

There is no reasoning with those people. They're irrational and in many ways divorced from reality.

Posted by: SaintZak on August 10, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, please! This happened long, long ago; besides, who among us hasn't had a youthful indiscretion or two. Or three.

We must put the past behind us, look forward to a future that is front of us. We must turn in this dire time of crisis to an experienced politician, who knows how to cut taxes, and create jobs, and shut down the government.

Posted by: DAY on August 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

If Gingrich wants to be President of the US, he has to overcome the biggest obstacle by far in his political career. American Women, in pretty much all the age ranges, hate his guts. He is going to have something like 70 percent of all women vote against him in a general election. He may even polled even worse than that. The antipathy toward him by Americans, but especially American women is huge. Hillary Clinton had high negative ratings that were dangerous for any politician, but it isn't anything compare to Gingrich. He will probably lose primaries because of Republican women in 2012.

He had problems with women when he was Speaker of the House, and he just compounded it, by divorcing his second wife, getting married to his third wife and trying to annul his two other marriages.

His only chance in my opinion is try cool down some of his reactionary rhetoric but that is not going to happened. If he thinks he can talk his way out of his choices in his life, just expect him to be fodder for late night TV comics...

Posted by: ted on August 10, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

SaintZak: Hence the need to keep women economically and socially dependent on male partners. aka the patriarchy. Because without it, these guys WOULDN'T find willing partners.

Posted by: Betsy on August 10, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

"They're irrational and in many ways divorced from reality." yes, but are they thrice divorced from reality?

Posted by: eric on August 10, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

IF the Republican party nominates this guy it will just confirm their total moral and intellectual decline forewarned by 2000 and 2008.

Posted by: Lance on August 10, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives clearly believe in marriage more than liberals -- so many liberal politicians only cared enough to get married once, whereas lots of prominent conservatives have done it three or four times!

Posted by: Redshift on August 10, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

John Heilemann from New York magazine on Sunday’s Chris Matthews Show:

With all this talk about 2012 … Newt Gingrich, I think is gonna run for president in 2012, and I think people underestimate him at their peril


These are the same people that have been telling us for years that we have been underestimating Newtie’s brilliant mind and policy gravitas.

Sure.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 10, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

All apologies to John Heilemann, but he overestimates Newt, because he forgets to take into account Newt's ability to shoot himself in the foot over and over again. And the Esquire profile shows he apparently hasn't learned anything from his past mistakes. He runs and is the GOP nominee, it would be a disaster for the GOP. He's got more skeletons in his closet than Bluebeard and the mere fact that he's an asshole will turn a lot of people off.

Marianne Gingrich's comment about how he "believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected" is nothing new (David Brock talked about Gingrich along similar lines in "Blinded By the Right"), but it always helps to be reminded of it. There are few politicians now or previous who are as shamelessly hypocritical as Gingrich.

Posted by: gf120581 on August 10, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Palin Gingrich in 2012... As Co-presidents... With Huckabee and McConnell as Co-vp

Not in the constitution?

Yes, but the Constitution is only for little people, mere mortals. Real men and Momma Grizzles do not bother with such trivia.

Posted by: kurtRex1453 on August 10, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Palin Gingrich in 2012... As Co-presidents... With Huckabee and McConnell as Co-vp

Not in the constitution?

Yes, but the Constitution is only for little people, mere mortals. Real men and Momma Grizzles do not bother with such trivia.

Posted by: kurtRex1453 on August 10, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

If you read "The Family" by Jeff Sharlet, you'll see that these conservative family-values types really don't see any connection between their private lives and public values. The Family's ideology, in fact, is that God chooses certain men to carry out his doings on earth (Mark Sanford, Zach Wamp, Jim DeMint, John Ensign) -- and that, like King David in the Old Testament, these chosen men of God are effectively above the law and the moral codes that apply to the rest of us mere mortals.

It's a terribly dangerous ideology, but it's common currency on the far right.

Posted by: jvwalt on August 10, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

This guy is a repulsive piece of shit.

Posted by: Gandalf on August 10, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Even Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston took their marriages more seriously than Newt.

Posted by: The Sandtress on August 10, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a plus for Gingrich?

It seems like a section of the GOP base feels empowered when they do things that exasperate mainstream sensibilities.

Posted by: Animals of the Fo'c'sle on August 10, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

There is one thing-- just one, and only one thing-- that matters to Newt Gingrich, and that is Newt Gingrich. He's attractive because he has a wider emotional repertoire than most politicians, but it's nothing good-- by turns sly, coy, angry, manipulative. But in the end, it's all about Newt, Newt and nothing but Newt.

Posted by: MattF on August 10, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

All apologies to John Heilemann, but he overestimates Newt, because he forgets to take into account Newt's ability to shoot himself in the foot over and over again.

Newt is only shooting himself in the foot over and over again if you assume he actually wants to be President.

Newt is a huckster of the highest order and his personal gravy train is a small group of devoted followers who lap up his wisdom, pay him for speaking engagements and buy his books. He keeps those followers by contemplating running for the President periodically - and ever so co-incidentally always has a book ready just when it comes time to contemplate his Presidential aspirations and go visit all those ego-stroking talk shows.

Newt is all about Newt - if he thought he could run for president, win, and not humiliate himself in the process he might go for it - or he might not since it would probably mean taking a pay cut and taking on a lot of responsibility. Why actually be the President when you can get so much money and ego stroking just by being critical of whoever has the job at the moment?

If he were to actually run for President he'd be out of the race by New Hampshire at the latest - and possibly Iowa. Why threaten the gravy train when he'll be pushing 70 by that time anyway? Better to just lead the rubes on for a while more, build up some more bank, and keep living that dream on the backs of the suckers.

Posted by: NonyNony on August 10, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think I'll become a family-values conservative. That way I get to cheat on my wife, go on wild booze and meth binges, collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from gullible nitwits under the guise of religion-informed politics, and still be worshipped by Steve Doucey and Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg.

Posted by: bluestatedon on August 10, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich reminds me of the time Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden had an affair. They went to their spouses and said, in effect, we are superior people it is right we be together so suck it up and don't whine.

You can read about it in Branden's book: Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on August 10, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Even as stupid as most Americans are, I can't believe they would vote this pudgy, philandering piece of smelly dog shit into the White House. Even knuckle-dragging,toothless retards have to draw the line somewhere!

Posted by: Sam Simple on August 10, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Years ago, King Kaufman in Salon stated "Good Lord, [Joe Theismann] makes Newt Gingrich look like Hume Cronyn." This was in the context of a discussion Joe's dumping of wives and girlfriends when they became incovenient because, as Joe said, "God wants Joe Theismann to be happy."

After reading this all I can do is say, "Gord Lord, Newt Gingrich makes Joe Theismann look like Tim Tebow."

Posted by: howie on August 10, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

CORRECTION

In my previous post, I mistakenly attributed a quote to writer King Kaufman.

The quote actually belongs to a Salon letter writer named Buffalonian in criticism of Kaufman.

Howie regrets the error.

Posted by: howie on August 10, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich/Palin 2012

The Gingrich/Palin administration steals two terms in officwe and totally fuck up the country. Ecomomic depression, de-regulation, massive umemployment, racism, religious intolerance, and third world levels of education and healthcare become synonymous with "Real America."

Then with the nation slowly dying, in the middle of their second term, rebuked by voters in the midterm congressional elections, Gingrich resigns and runs for president of Italy.

Palin resigns and becomes the President of FoxNews so she can burnish their legacy and make Murdoch money.

The dude publishes a tell all book and accuses Newtie of screwing Palin.

Posted by: Winkandanod on August 10, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Are there limits to IOKIYAR? I'm not sure there are.

Are there any signs that this "career-ending" interview is being reported on except on liberal blogs?

Posted by: mcc on August 10, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Running and living off the campaign funds just gives him a chance to live like a rock star.

Posted by: Just Some Guy on August 10, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Sure hope Marianne is ready to handle the onslaught from the Right Wing Noise Machine.

No, you know what? I bet they're ready to abandon Newtie, at least for Presidential aspirations. He's yesterdays news. They don't mind giving him a soapbox, but I really doubt the right really wants him to run. They'd much prefer the nut-cases like Palin.

Posted by: g on August 10, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yah, Newt is serious about running for president, but then so was Harold Stassen. The question is, why is anyone else serious about Newt running?

Not to dump on Marianne, but she knew exactly what she was marring: a man who cheats on his wife.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on August 10, 2010 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

He asked her to just tolerate the affair

Wow. What a jerk.

Posted by: Gregory on August 10, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

"...but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. 'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.' "

So is Newt saying that his current wife is less of a woman than his former wife? That'll go over well at the dinner table tonight, I'm sure.

Plus, what's wrong with the Chevy brand? Is Newt saying that British cars are better than American cars?

What an un-American, two-timing douchebag.

Posted by: 2Manchu on August 10, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else up for making loads of copies of this, and dropping them off at St. Joe's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill on Sunday?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/gingrich-gets-a-new-religion/

Posted by: John Dillinger on August 10, 2010 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

There's a neat, short way to sum this guy up: sociopath.

Posted by: jrosen on August 10, 2010 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Marianne--she's one Newt married after he served his first wife divorce papers while she was recovering from cancer surgery/treatment, isn't she?

So she knew there was a body in the trunk when she bought the car. Bit late to be complaining about the smell.

As for the Sabbath Gasbag gig, George Will's morning homecoming to his clothes in the front yard was described by Eric Alterman 18 years ago in "Sound and Fury". HE can't complain about the company he's forced to keep.

God wants (a lot of people) to be happy.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Newt Gingrich will never be president. Not because of his execrable character or track record. He will never be elected because his voice sounds like he has inhaled a helium balloon. We had several years during the 90's of his daily hectoring, all delivered in that tiny, not-precisely-masculine voice.

Posted by: Karen on August 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

And this was another workshop of our series 'Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold'.

Posted by: eserwe on August 10, 2010 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "... if (a) Gingrich didn't seem entirely serious about running for president in 2012 ..."

Gingrich is in it for the money, just like Sarah Palin.

"Seeming" to be "serious about running" for president is just a ploy to sell more books full of drivel to gullible Ditto-Heads ... and of course, it gets liberal bloggers to write about him, which helps to sell even more books.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 10, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Not to worry about Newt, he always finds a way to self destruct.

Posted by: Don Lowell on August 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think the important interview is with wife #3. If he or she allow it. I wonder how she rationalizes his history? OTOH, if she married him, then what does that say about her character. She is the potential First Lady, so it seems her character and political chops are also relevant.

Posted by: st john on August 10, 2010 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies for linking to the once-readable Salon, but occasionally they still post something relevant. To wit: who's exactly funding Gingrich's sleazy political committee.

Posted by: electrolite on August 10, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

"This interview won't have any impact within the GOP." Kris @ 1:47 PM.

Sure, the GOP knows that Newtie is an SOB, a serial adulterer and, no doubt, kicks puppies and little children. Quite possibly he could even make it through the primaries and get the nomination. In a national election, however, the GOP couldn't elect a dog-catcher relying solely on its base, let alone a President of the USA.
How many of those absolutely vital independent voters will see this, and all the other stuff that will be aired during the primaries, and STILL vote for His Pudginess?

Posted by: Doug on August 10, 2010 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

One thing some women never learn..if he cheated on her with you then he will cheat on you with a new her.

Posted by: mishanti on August 10, 2010 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

I drive a Chevy... I now feel so DIRTY.

Posted by: Moxo on August 10, 2010 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Just out of curiosity, can someone explain that metaphor to me? I'm having trouble mapping my ideas of the cars onto women, and grasping why it would be an excuse for an affair. He didn't want to be driving a high-performance luxury car, and just wanted to leave it in the garage while he went around town in a cheap generic car? Is he making some connection between traditionally bad Jaguar electricals and the multiple sclerosis? Is he saying that Marianne requires expensive mechanics and foreign parts?

Just what the hell does that "I can't handle a Jaguar right now, all I want is a Chevrolet" even mean?

Posted by: biggerbox on August 10, 2010 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Newt is a turd.

(Which reminds me of the joke in the late 70's, the previous time the auto industry was in the crapper, that Toyota was going to buy up GM and produce a Toyota-Chevrolet hybrid that would be called the Toylet.)

Gingrich was known to be scum before this: the details of his divorce from his first wife were well known, and long before he went after Clinton over Lewinski people had already quoted him as claiming he preferred getting blowjobs because they supposedly don't count as extramarital sex. His supporters didn't care about any of that then, and this is just more of the same now. And as others have remarked, Marianne is not exactly a faultless and innocent victim here given that she (a) had the bad judgment to marry Newt, and (b) got engaged to him before he had actually disengaged himself from his previous marriage.

I have no idea whether he'll actually run for president, but I'm becoming sufficiently disenchanted about American voters that I'm sure he could get at least 40% of the vote, and that we'd be hearing from the "anti-Obamabot contingent" on leftist blogs that there's no significant difference between him and Obama and that people were therefore planning on staying home or protesting by writing in Nader.

Posted by: N.Wells on August 11, 2010 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

"The Democratic Party has been the active instrument of breaking down traditional marriage."

Looks like he was the active instrument for breaking down at least two of them.

Posted by: Kevin Carson on August 11, 2010 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Newt's third wife is supposedly a devout Catholic, but managed to reconcile her religious faith with being one of Newt's mistresses during his second marriage. Now that she is wife #3, she has lured Newt into the Catholic Church, where the former House speaker is treated with unctuous respect as a trophy conversion. (And his previous marriages have magically vanished!)

Posted by: Zeno on August 11, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

America will never vote for a man with a fat butt. Not being sarcastic at all. Nothing is more "feminizing" and therefore distasteful to the general electorate than a man with childbearing hips.

Posted by: ed on August 11, 2010 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Wonder how wife number three feels about being outed as a 'Chevrolet' in comparison to 'Jaguar' wife number two and about that fact that Newt apparently planned to just have an ongoing affair with her if wife number two would have agreed to that? Must make her feel very special right about now.

Posted by: Mickey7 on August 11, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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