Monday, November 28, 2011
Newt in the ascendency
It's hard for most Americans not to see Newt Gingrich's sudden rise in the Republican Presidential sweepstakes as just another "flavor of the month," as pundits say. After all, most of the other candidates have had their 15-minutes of fame, why shouldn't he? He is, without a doubt, not going to create the embarrassing tongue-tied silences that Cane and Perry have made famous. Newt can talk. And talk and talk and talk. What's more, he has a penchant for saying delightfully surprising things. He makes great headlines.
But what some Washingtonians can't understand is how it is that the Ioway social conservatives can cozy-up to Newt the way they have. After all, the man is presently on his third wife, the one whom he was buzzing while leading the charge to impeach Clinton for Monica Lewinsky. Newt rather famously left his first wife for another woman when his wife was sick with cancer, while simultaneously using his wife's sad story to garner sympathy and voters. He was a cad, a worm, a jerk.
Even worse for some, he carried on a shadowy illicit relationship, a sinful relationship with Fannie Mae, an affair that made him millions of dollars.
Now Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa's conservative media darling these days, and a Siouxland Dutch Calvinist to boot, claims he's surprised that his voters have seemingly embraced him the way they have. After all, they're the ones who've sought to save marriage. They're pro-life. They're pro-family. They deliberately mess with the spelling of their group's name--"FAMiLY Leader"--to emphasize that I (or i) shouldn't count all that much and FAMILY should. That's right--FAMILY should. These folks are not shy about drawing lines in the sand between the good us and the bad them. And that line starts with the sacredness of family. I mean, FAMiLY.
And now they like Newt. Go figure.
Vander Plaats, according to Newsweek's Michele Goldberg, doesn't quite know what to make of his Christian conservatives anointing their mini-vans with Newt stickers. "I’m one of those who said Newt would have a large gender gap, and that even though men might be more willing to forgive and move on, quite frankly I thought the women would be less likely to do so," says Vander Plaats. I guess even righteous men understand philandering better than their loyal wives.
What people like Goldberg (she probably Jewish, you know!) don't really understand is a Christian's wholehearted commitment to the greatest Christ-like behavior of all--plain and simple forgiveness. Grace is amazing, after all, and what happened to Newt in years past is may well now be a part of the obituary of Newt's old man of sin. These days, the new man is in him, alive and kicking, the forgiven, the redeemed. There is, in the Christian community, no greater rejoicing that when the fallen return.
Why shouldn't they pin Newt buttons on their lapels? He's been forgiven.
And then there's this--all those disciples of Christ's love absolutely hate Obama.
There's that too. Throw that in the mix.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 5:40 AM