The Truly Wrong Presidential Stuff

By: Daniel Nardini

Former U.S. House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich has announced that he is making a run for the presidency of the United States in 2012. He will run as a Republican. His chances against Barack Obama do not look too good given Obama’s success against Osama bin Laden and a somewhat improvement in the U.S. economy. Of course, 18 months is a long ways away and the whole political landscape could change within a very short time. Is it conceivable that Gingrich could stand a real chance becoming President of the United States? In 1991 almost nobody believed that then U.S. President George H.W. Bush could be beaten after his phenomenal success in the Gulf War, but within months a virtual unknown Democratic candidate named Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election. So things are quite possible.

But in my book Gingrich is a person unworthy of becoming President of the United States. As Speaker of the House from 1995-1999 he nearly shut down the U.S. government and tried to get then U.S. President Bill Clinton impeached for having an affair with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. The brief but painful U.S. government shutdown meant no social services for millions of people, no pay for the soldiers and their families, the closure of federally-run parks, and of course the closure of all government offices. There is no question who was responsible for this. As for Gingrich trying to portray himself as “moral and Godly,” he could not have been more of a hypocrite. He was cited for ethic violations in the U.S. House of Representatives—the only case of ethics violations by a U.S. House speaker in American history.

But his offensive behavior was not confined to his time in public office. In 1981, Gingrich divorced his wife Jackie Battley, who was at the time sick with breast cancer, and married a lady named Marianne Ginther whom he had met at a campaign fundraiser. In 2000, Gingrich called his second wife (on Mother’s Day no less!) to inform her he was divorcing her and marrying a U.S. House intern named Ballista Bisek—who was 22 years his junior. At the time Ginther was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 2009, Gingrich would later express regret for his actions. Well Mr. Gingrich, regret does not alter the harm done nor justify immoral behavior.

His current political views are not exactly savory. He believes in school prayer (i.e. Christian school prayer. Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists watch out!), using certain forms of torture (as he said in “extreme cases of national emergency”), making English the official and only language of government, and also some form of immigration reform. The last point is highly ambiguous. Gingrich believes in “securing the border” and allowing some of the undocumented to be allowed to live in this country (his support of the Dream Act is one example). However, Gingrich does not believe in “amnesty,” and he has stated that he believes in a guest worker program whereby all those undocumented living in the United States who qualify can legally apply for the program by “going back to their country of origin to apply.” Gingrich seems to have missed the whole point of why the undocumented are here in the first place. At any rate, one only needs to look at the above to realize that Newt Gingrich is the wrong stuff for the highest office in the land.

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