Friday, January 20, 2012

Gingrich's Great Gimmicks

Newt Gingrich defined his superpower in moving from self-indulgence to self-forgiveness. His outraged victimhood played at peak yesterday in South (by God) Carolina.

The pale, corpulent roué married most recently to the highly angular former mistress with the Bachmann-style just-been-shocked eyes has his appetites...and his alibis. Sure it's astonishing that such an ugly, amoral beast found, used and discarded multiple women. More so is that he uses those superpowers to sway the Southern voters.

Putatively at least, GOP sandlappers are highly credal Christians, literal fundamentalists who know the commandments in Exodus by number as well as content. Gingrich's flagrant, repeated, seemingly non-stop fornication and adultery should bring him ye olde shunning.

Amusing to someone who lived some years in South (by God) Carolina, I note that many locals have long distrusted Roman Catholics, including converted ones like him. Perhaps having two Mormons, a rarer rara avis, took the edge off of that. More likely though, Gingrich's brash posturing suits the coarseness of the audience. They'd rather elect a whoremaster than reelect an African American as POTUS.

Last night, we heard his superpower in its fullest throat. The debate moderator asked whether he'd comment on his second wife's story that he had been shtupping an employee for six years before asking her to approve theirs as an open marriage. Unbelievably, he got a standing O from the crowd with a double assault in return.

  1. How dare anyone ask about this!?
  2. He's already been forgiven for his sins.

His response started with outrage and played on paranoia and persecution. The lead was, "I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that."

Note there that this is a version of the big lie from corporate boards. They pay outrageous packages to top managers who drastically decrease company value and profits, under the ruse that you have to pay for the best talent.

To many of us without such ego and id-based superpowers, long-term adultery and abandonment of one wife after another when each was seriously ill would be humbling. Instead, he shifted the onus to abuse of him by an elite media. That played fine among those who came to the debate, although whether they can actually vote for someone who makes fidelity pledges and speaks of the sanctity of marriage while rutting extramaritally we'll know tomorrow night.

All the more amusing is his repeated declarations that he'd sinned, but found forgiveness in his church through his priests under Christ. He simultaneously repeatedly refers to the wife who was his long-term adulterous mistress as a devout Catholic. One doubts this expresses the stated values of the typical South (by God) Carolina voter.

Of course, Roman Catholics aren't the only religious sorts who confess and receive group or individual absolution. There are substantial differences among the practices of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic versions, as well as Anglican/Episcopal and some Protestant churches. Yet the gist is that whether you atone directly in prayer to your God or through a cleric personally, you are supposed get a clean slate and, as the New Testament cliché runs, go and sin no more.

Well, Gingrich is clearly very good at the getting forgiveness part. He does not have a solid history of the sinning no more follow-up though. Yet, pollsters among evangelicals have claimed in numerous results that Gingrich used his atonement superpower to great effect. At least for this campaign, he has done well with the I'm-a-changed-man routine.

As that same New Testament reads, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He claims now to be an example for the religious instead of an admonition. Those gullible enough and eager to defeat the POTUS seem to respond favorably. (May the good Lord increase their insight immediately.)

Small bands of fierce roving ego-beasts rouse and terrify the populace for a year at a time every four years. Gingrich is a rouser. While hypocrisy in pols is common, the superpower to transform it to primal virtue is a wonder.



Bill Baar said...

Are you a former Catholic?

massmarrier said...

While I've studied religion, I was not raised Catholic. I've been a UU for three decades.

I was a devote Christian as a child. I was Wesley Methodist, a.k.a. high-church, long before there was that watered down United Methodism. Southerners considered us almost Roman Catholic in a spectrum from RC to Episcopal to Wesley Methodist. We had bishops and no congregational form of polity. We used incense on some occasions, but did not have personal confession individually with a minister.

Bill Baar said...

My religous upbringing sort of thin, and a lot of it from TV and Hollywood..

So Newt's got plenty of baggage but when I watched him, The film Raging Bull came to mind and the closing words on the screen,

So, for the second time, [the Pharisees] summoned the man who had been blind and said: 'Speak the truth before God. We know this fellow is a sinner.' 'Whether or not he is a sinner, I do not know,' the man replied. 'All I know is this: once I was blind and now I can see.'

Yesterday I was a Young Socialist, but today I can see... speaking as a fellow who carry's Marxist rather than Methodist bagagge from his youth. Today I can see...Newt's helped.

JMP said...

"The pale, corpulent roué..."
" ugly, amoral beast..."
"...a whoremaster..."
Have you been taking name-calling lessons from right-wing talk radio? So much for the inherent worth and dignity of Newt, I guess. That's just for those sufficiently to the left of center. The focus on a candidates personal, moral (dare I say sexual) life used to be the habit of the conservatives, but I see that liberals can jump on the judgmental band wagon also. I am increasingly disappointed to find out that we (liberal UU's) are just a mirror image of right-wing fundamentalism. We have a sinking economy, are still mired in war, have record amounts of unemployment, and the big issue being argued is moral deficiencies. I'm not even interested.

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Gingrich. I will not be voting in the primaries. I am not a Republican. I will not be voting for a Republican for president, but neither will I be voting for a Democrat. Both parties have lost my favor.

massmarrier said...

Haar. JMP, a roué who has made other's morality a huge issue since he led the impeachment of President Clinton for lying about receiving adulterous fellatio, and then repeatedly in his campaigns and PAC ads has no dignity nor does he deserve respect. He is one of many on the right who try to control what others can do sexually and otherwise. His repeated outrageous behavior and lame defenses of it should get called out by citizens as well as media.