The GOP's strange new forgiveness
The forgiveness factor appears to have become a major issue in the GOP nomination race. And the attitudes of social conservatives who support Newt puzzles me. I think I understand forgiveness and forgive Newt. He has publicly stated that he has made his peace with G-d, asked for forgiveness, learned from his mistakes and is a new man. But we don't know for a fact that the change has occurred any more than we know if Bill Clinton is a new man and has overcome the personality flaws that lead to his repeat cheats.
We can only take our fellow human beings at their word. Only time will tell. But we have to be consistent.
If we take Newt at his word, then we have to take others in the race at their word as well. If Mitt Romney says he changed his views on abortion, then we must accept that as well.
If we don't take either man at his word, and that is a choice each of us makes, then we can judge their past behavior as we wish: irrelevant or predictive.
Moreover, you can forgive someone for their past transgressions but that doesn't mean their past behavior has no weight. Once you walk down that slippery slope of lying, cheating and underhandedness that hurts people you took a vow to love, honor and respect, and you do it repeatedly and are caught, then there are long-term consequences. Granted, it's much more difficult to catch a serial cheater than an alcoholic who is trying to reform. But the point here is that our transgressions will often come back to bite us. People are less reluctant to trust someone who has repeatedly displayed that he/she cannot be trusted. That is a legitimate issue for voters to be concerned with.
What I hear people saying who aren't happy with Newt right now is this: It takes a great deal of hubris to think you can be President with so much baggage, ask for forgiveness on national TV, say you found G-d and are a new man (which no one can authenticate) and then actually run for President after having lead the charge against Bill Clinton (skewering him not just for his lies but his infidelities).
We call out the left for their double standards. Believe me, if you are worried about voting for Romney because the left is champing at the bit to attack his double standard vis-a-vis RomneyCare, then wait until you see what they do with something as salacious and titillating as this.
One more thing: we claim to be the party of family values and the sanctity of marriage. Be prepared to be relentlessly and, I'd say at this point, justifiably, called out on this OR it's time we abandoned all talk of that as Republicans and conservatives.
Forgiveness: Yes. Hairsplitting: No.