Newt Gingrich’s “Love Affair With America”

Newt Gingrich at CPAC, Feb. 20, 2010

Last week Newt Gingrich, the conservative who pilloried Bill Clinton for having an affair with Monica Lewinsky while he was conducting his own extramarital affair, announced he might make a run for the presidency.

The background: Gingrich trumpets “family values” and roundly denounces extramarital sex. For other people, presumably. He left his wife of 19 years while she was battling cancer and remarried a few months later. He divorced the second wife after learning she had multiple sclerosis and married a woman 20 years his junior with whom he’d been having a long-standing adulterous affair.

In an interview yesterday with the Christian Broadcast Network, Gingrich implied that his patriotism was somehow responsible for his infidelities:

There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

Jeffrey Goldberg takes it from there:

My Love Affair With America

I didn’t want it to happen, of course. No one does. When you take the marriage vows, you take them for life, right? So at first, I suppressed those unwanted feelings. Sure, I noticed her purple mountain majesties as soon as she walked in the room. I mean, who didn’t? Believe me, in a sweater, those purple mountains sure were majestic. And her amber waves of grain? I couldn’t pry my eyes away. So lush and, well, ambery. What was I to do? Maybe it’s because my defenses were down — I was working so hard at the time — that my mind soon wandered to her fruited plains. Bad, bad thoughts! But I just couldn’t help myself.

At first, of course, I didn’t say a word. I tried to confirm my soul in self-control. Oh, how I tried! And she played it straight, even when she caught me staring at her alabaster cities. But then I succumbed. I succumbed to sin. It was a business trip, of course. What a trip! It took us from the redwood forests all the way to the gulf stream waters. I was working so hard! Did I mention that I was working so very hard?

On that perilous night, when I first lifted my lamp by her golden door, she was dressed in broad stripes and bright stars. I was always a sucker for broad stripes and bright stars. It happened after a long day of exceedingly hard work. Boy, was I tired from all that hard work! She knew I wanted her. And I knew she wanted me. In a flash, our clothes fell to the floor, and she whispered huskily in my ear, “Give me your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,” and before I knew it, I saw that golden valley. Oh, the rockets’ red glare! The bombs bursting in air!  In that moment of indivisible union, I screamed out, “America, America! God shed His grace on thee!”

I was hopelessly, irretrievably in love. I guess that makes me a sinner. But it also makes me a patriot.

Brilliant.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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