Oh… the hypocrisy:
WASHINGTON – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.
Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton’s infidelity.
No — of course not. Why, it really has no bearing whatsoever… as long as you’re willing to skate right past the question Clinton was being asked.
“The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge,” the former Georgia congressman said of Clinton’s 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. “I drew a line in my mind that said, ‘Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept … perjury in your highest officials.”
That ability to compartmentalize and draw mental lines is a handy technique for someone considering a run for the presidency, eh? He must have quite a number of air-tight rooms in there by now:
Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly.
Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich’s relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is.
His first marriage, to his former high school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn’t remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery.
Bah. I’d forgotten all about that last little tidbit. No doubt, evidence of emotional toughness — another important qualification. [/snark]
Clinton’s impeachment will always stand in my memory as the smarmiest pursuit of partisan ends possible. The repulsive sanctimonious high-ground taken by the Republicans exposed the incredibly petty nature of our national politics, and the lengths to which people will go to attack the opposition — and Newt Gingrich was the howling standard-bearer in the bloody battle.
Evidently, he checked his battle-flag at the door at the end of the workday, along with his own respect for marital fidelity.
Am I the only one getting a mental image of Newt snorting and chuckling throughout the proceedings because nobody was asking him any of those problematic questions? But of course, given his obvious disdain for his wives and his vows, he’d doubtless have stepped right up to the plate and told the truth….
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Dr. Steven Taylor — a blogger I greatly admire — notes that Gingrich is no doubt clearing the decks in preparation for a run at the White House. He also writes:
And while I understand that the impeachment process aimed at President Clinton was itself about perjury and so forth, the underlying context was that of an extramarital affair. For Gingrich to see no hypocrisy in this over all situation is to be engaging in self-delusion and serious rationalization.
Obviously, I agree with him. Just as obviously (as he notes in his updates), others do not.