One Area Obama Holds An Insurmountable Advantage Over Gingrich
Here are some thoughts I recently had about the electability of Newt Gingrich. Don't get me wrong--I think Gingrich is a very smart man and if he were to win the Republican nomination, I'd probably vote for him.
That being said, for Republicans interested in nominating a candidate who can beat Obama in 2012, there is one area where Obama has an insurmountable advantage, and that's the much-vaunted area of family values.
Barack Obama's personal life.
Newt Gingrich's personal life.
It would be very hard for Newt Gingrich to run as a candidate strong on family values with a personal life this...complex. Especially since it's more than just adultery-divorce-remarriage-repeat--in a book I bought when I was in school entitled Inside Congress, on page 133 of the 1997 Pocket Books edition, it describes how poorly Gingrich provided for his then-wife and two daughters while they were legally separated. A local church had to start a collection to pay for the family's utility bills. Gingrich was paying $700 per month to support his family and $400 per month on his food and dry cleaning alone.
All Obama needs to do is show he has been married to and remained faithful to one woman since 1992 and there have never been any problems providing for the children and Gingrich will take a major hit. Especially since Obama has not come from an especially stable family himself--see this article by none other than Bill O'Reilly--and yet he has managed to avoid perpetuating the cycle of dysfunction that often plagues unhappy families.
Now, as a consequence of my religious views I'm a big believer that even the most evil people can change. Gingrich has, among other things, converted to Catholicism, which is a fairly big break from his earlier religious background and something that likely cost him political support. If this represents a genuine change of heart, God bless him.
However, though God will forgive a sinner who repents, actions still have consequences, and his prior behavior has made him very vulnerable in certain areas. Gingrich might make a better Cabinet official or chief of staff or general purpose eminence grise for whoever ends up winning the GOP 2012 nod rather than as the candidate himself.