Yesterday’s headlines included a debate that stemmed from a comment made by Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife, Marianne, in an interview with ABC News. In the interview, as part of a discussion about Newt’s alleged affair with his current wife, Callista , Marianne alleged that Newt suggested an open marriage as an alternative to a divorce. That allegation was brought into the political forum at the South Carolina debates and Newt responded with outrage that this issue, brought forward by an ex-wife, would be brought into the discussion.
This one’s a toughie for me. On one hand, I think a president’s character is important. What does it mean that Gingrich left his first wife after her diagnosis with cancer and his second after her diagnosis with MS? It does not bother me as much that he started seeing Marianne while he was in divorce proceedings with Jackie or surprise me that he did not start divorce proceedings with Marianne until he had begun a relationship with Callista. Statistically, that’s not unusual. But what does it mean that he was conducting an affair with a staffer while he was seeking to impeach President Clinton for doing so?
Did Newt mean it when he suggested an open marriage or was it an off-hand comment in the midst of a difficult discussion where he was trying to say, this woman is in my life whether we stay married or not? How many of us would want anyone to take what our exes said about us as gospel?
Apparently those being polled don’t care about the open marriage allegations. Instead, it seems, they’re buying into the idea that the liberal media is out to get Newt. His numbers are booming. So I guess it’s ok to break your vow and display questionable ethics in your personal relationships, but not to admit to paying a lower percentage in taxes (by following the democratically created tax code) than the maddening crowd thinks appropriate.