Why I'm Giving Newt a Pass on the Scarlet-A Factor
Newt Gingrich is an adulterer many times over, which is old news. The second Mrs. Gingrich, scorned in favor of the third Mrs. Gingrich, is in the process of spilling the sordid divorce beans in her long-stated goal of stopping Newt's climb to the presidency.
But I decided a couple of months ago to give Newt a pass on the Scarlet-A factor, and I seriously doubt there's a single thing an embittered ex-wife can say that will change my mind at this point. Yes, I empathize with the 2nd Mrs. Gingrich. Yes, I believe that adultery is a very serious offense. Yes, I wish the man I am supporting for president had a perfect track record in all aspects of his life, both public and private.
I'm putting my country over the matron's sisterhood here, and a couple of my friends have already stared at me incredulously as I've explained my reasons.
How could I, outspoken defender of monogamy and premarital chastity, so compromise my own principles to vote for a man who has trashed his own wedding vows and, if he wins the presidency, would ensconce his former mistress as first lady?
Well, it's complicated.
For one thing, I don't see red-blooded, healthy, high-testosterone men through a set of 1950s June-Cleaver glasses. Newt's a Boomer, for crying out loud. He's a Boomer through and through, down to every one of his adulterous acts.
We Boomers honestly did believe that sexual morality could be separated from all other spheres. We heralded cohabitation as the commonsense precursor to healthy marriage. We pushed the bounds of every sexual prohibition to its furthermost limits and insisted on the right to exterminate our young in the womb to offset female disadvantage. We've embraced serial monogamy so enthusiastically that we've made it mainstream. Kids from our broken families are everywhere now, and bonded step-families are now as commonplace as they were rare in June Cleaver's America.
In many ways, Newt Gingrich is us. He is us in ways Mitt Romney doesn't even seem to know exist in the real world.
Not all Boomers bought into this now-quite-blemished idea of separating our sex lives from all the rest in terms of morality, but more of us did than didn't. And pretending that's not the case isn't going to put this Boomer-released genie back into its bottle. America will have to depend upon the new generations' learning from our mistakes to even come close to doing that. And I doubt seriously whether these young libertarians want to go back to straight-laced, Christian sexual morality enforced by law anyhow.
The point is this. Newt Gingrich, like Bill Clinton, is a Boomer in this sexually liberated regard. And right this very minute, there are as many women who identify with Callista Gingrich, the mistress who became a wife, as will identify with the formerly scorned ex. In my own circle of close female friends, two of them were former mistresses.
As Boomers, we would have to do a whole lot of Scarlet-A shunning to keep the marriage vow-breakers out of our midst. Unfortunately, that would mean most of us Boomers would have fewer friends than we could count on one hand. Amongst the younger generations, the only place where one can beam solidly on the side of chastity is at church on Sunday.
At any rate, fair is fair, and since the 2nd Mrs. Gingrich is now nursing her divorce-grudge in public, the public needs to remember just how it was that Marianne came to be the second wife of Newt Gingrich. She had an affair with him while he was still married to wife #1. Exactly so, dear readers. The second wife, now running to the press crying foul over Newt's adultery, was his mistress (in an adulterous affair) before she became his wife.
Wife #1 was Newt's former high school math teacher, with whom he was having backseat sexual dalliances by the time he was only 16 years old. When Newt was of age, he married his teacher, and they had two children. Newt's only daughters have both defended their father in public, and it was their mother who was scorned for wife #2, Marianne, who is now doing all she can to turn a long-lost grudge match into the death knell for Newt's presidential aspirations. A man who is able to keep the high regard of his daughters under such circumstance is a man worthy of second and third and fourth chances, in my opinion.
Let's not forget that Newt Gingrich is a Southerner. And Southern men have long, long, long, long been known for their randy ways, which a great many of us women find as attractive as we find it nettlesome when we are ourselves scorned for more verdant female pastures.
Whether South Carolina women will give Newt a pass on his hound-dog history is up in the air, but knowing Southern women as well as I do, I will bet that they will. Many are thinking right this minute along the lines of Sarah Palin. We've got bigger fish to fry at the moment, and when one's Country is on the line, it's no time to be indulging puritan fantasies about men. Many women are thinking that we've got a once-married, publicly chaste president in the White House now, and it's not working out so well for America.
Southern women are not idealists wearing rose-colored glasses, especially when it comes to men. Even the most religious among us tend to see men as they are and not as we would wish them to be. Even in the Antebellum South, women turned a willfully blind eye to a husband's sexual romps in favor of financial security and the social status of marriage. Then, Civil War and Reconstruction deprivations only reinforced this already-strong survival instinct among Southern women, who quite often will put up with a mistress on the side and only get vengeful when the husband takes that mistress for his new wife. Southern women tend to believe that it's as much a woman's duty to keep her man as it is a man's duty to remain in marital fealty.
So, I'm getting pretty darned fed up with men running around screaming that Newt will cause a gender gap so huge that it simply can't be ameliorated by other factors more important. I'm planning to vote for Newt myself. And I can guarantee you we women are a heck of a lot more complicated than this anyhow.
Actually, c-o-m-p-l-i-c-a-t-e-d doesn't even spell the half of it when it comes to women.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and PJ Media. She welcomes your comments at www.kyleanneshiver.com.