The discreet charm of Newt Gingrich

You may have heard that Newt Gingrich is becoming a Catholic this weekend.  I’ll let Chris Buckley do the honors on the absurdity of all this:

He and Mother Church—from whose tender embrace I myself have regrettably lapsed—will both be made out to be appalling hypocrites. Who among us should throw stones? But Mr. Gingrich’s marital history is a matter of public record, and it is not tidy. He first married at age 19, to his 26-year-old former high-school geometry teacher and then, so the story goes, presented her with divorce terms after she was wheeled out of cancer surgery.

Mrs. Gingrich #2 was dumped after her husband had carried on an extramarital affair with a fetching, blond congressional staffer named Callista Bisek, who went on to become the present Mrs. Gingrich #3. This Family Values paradigm was complicated by the fact that whilst Mr. Gingrich was filibustering Ms. Bisek over the Speaker’s desk, he was simultaneously leading the impeachment charge against a naughty president of the United States.

[….]

Mrs. Gingrich #2 publicly ventilated her displeasure back in 2000 after she received a letter from the Archdiocese of Atlanta informing her that her marriage was being annulled—that is, rendered ex post facto invalid—on the grounds of “ligamen.” She had been married previously, so in the eyes of the church her marriage to Mr. Gingrich simply did not take place.

But I don’t find any of this surprising. What does surprise me is that so many in the media regard Newt as some kind of serious intellectual. Here’s Joe Klein today (I cite Klein because I think he’s one of the more reasonable members of the punditocracy):

I’ve known Newt Gingrich for about 20 years now and I’ve always enjoyed him intellectually, but detested him politically. The reason for the latter is his now-anachronistic first resort to anger; again and again, he cheapens public discourse through exaggeration and wild claims. One imagines that if John McCain were President and Paul Krugman had said, out of the box, that he wanted McCain to fail, Gingrich would be leading the charge, calling Krugman “unpatriotic” and even, perhaps, traitorous.

I’m not sure where Klein’s love of Newt’s beautiful mind comes from but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably because Newt said something brilliantly nonsensical about the evil of teachers’ unions and the genius of school choice or Michelle Rhee. But maybe it was stuff like this:

#1 Repeal the gas tax for the summer, and pay for the repeal by cutting domestic discretionary spending so that the transportation infrastructure trust fund would not be hurt.

[….]

#2 Redirect the oil being put into the national petroleum reserve onto the open market. That oil would lower the price of gasoline an extra 5 to 6 cents per gallon, and its sale would lower the deficit.

[….]

#7. Declare English the official language of government.

Or maybe it’s Newt’s stellar academic career:

Gingrich taught history at University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, from 1970 to 1978, although he was untenured.[6] He also taught a class, Renewing American Civilization, at Kennesaw State University in 1993.[7]

Or maybe Klein and the rest of the Newt-lickers are just idiots.

Update. JenJen brings a good Max Blumenthal piece on Newt to my attention. Nut graf:

“From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson told me, “Newt’s sins no longer exist–they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”

That’s intellectual integrity I can believe in.

Update #2. The stuff about this Deal Hudson guy is just too much:

Upon receiving communion, Hudson received an annulment from his first wife, then divorced his second wife four years later. “It’s not unusual to do that in this day and age,” Hudson reflected, “so that sort of angle that Chris Buckley is taking to make fun of Newt is unfair.”

After entering the church, Hudson worked his way up the rungs of academia, eventually earning tenure as a philosophy professor at Fordham University. He was a charismatic figure in the classroom, casting a spell over his students with engaging lectures on natural law. But Hudson was not without his weaknesses. In 1994, after a night of drinking games at a West Village pub, during which he allegedly made out with two female students and took “body shots” with them, Hudson brought an extremely intoxicated 18-year-old student back to his office and compelled her to perform oral sex on him. When the student told school authorities about the incident, Hudson promptly resigned and moved to Washington to edit Crisis. Two years later, Hudson settled a sexual harassment lawsuit out of court with the student for $30,000. The incident remained unknown to everyone except the student’s and Hudson’s closest confidants.

At Crisis, Hudson railed against Clinton for his dalliances with Monica Lewinsky. “Over and over again, we hear on the talk shows that we shouldn’t hold the president to a ‘higher standard,’” Hudson wrote in 1996. “I would argue quite the opposite… Those who are not willing to bear the burden of these higher standards should not seek office… After we have stripped away all idealism from offices that bind our culture together — president, father, husband — what will be left for us to aspire to? Who will want to sacrifice personal desires for public responsibilities?”

You can’t make this stuff up.






68 replies
  1. 1
    JenJen says:

    Max Blumenthal has an interesting piece about Newt’s conversion, here.

    Money paragraph:

    “From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson told me, “Newt’s sins no longer exist–they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”

    Quite a convenient little racket they’ve got going there.

    EDIT: Deep Thought: Would this work for John Edwards, too?

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    EDIT: Deep Thought: Would this work for John Edwards, too?

    Very good question.

  3. 3
    bayville says:

    I’m not sure where Klein’s love of Newt’s beautiful mind comes from …

    Pete Hoekstra?

  4. 4
    par4 says:

    @DougJ: It only works for Republicans

  5. 5
    JenJen says:

    @par4: Yep. Kind of like how you only see the Magic Ponies and Talking Dolphins if you’re a Republican, too. :-)

  6. 6
    scarpy says:

    The Newt-is-brilliant meme is easily explained. He worked alongside people of the same caliber as Michelle Bachmann, Mike Pence, Pete Sessions, Steve King, Patrick McHenry, Jim DeMint, Jim Inhofe, Virgil Goode. . . .

    Everything’s relative.

  7. 7
    Damned at Random says:

    Compared to Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, Newt probably is "some kind of serious intellectual"

    Pickings are pretty slim these days in the Republican Party

  8. 8
    JL says:

    Newt was the representative in the area that I reside. Family and moral values only count for the democratic heathens down here. While campaigning for his opponent one time, Newt’s goons thought it necessary to toss eggs at us. His supporters are angry old white men.
    OT how do I cross out a word?

  9. 9
    Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist says:

    Buckley really is one of the most cloying writers I’ve ever read – happily, I haven’t read him much. At least he used the phrase "Mother Church" and not "Mumsy-Wumsy Churchy-boo" or something like that.

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    I’m willing to accept the premise that Newt intellectually outclasses the rest of the Republican Caucus. But he’s not much of a human being, truth to tell.

    An old friend of mine who’s in the DC restaurant biz tells the story that she went to a steakhouse near the Capitol that’s owned by a friend. Naturally, she got VIP treatment. Newt was dining at a nearby table, and got very upset– Someone was getting more attention than he was.

  11. 11
    JL says:

    Newt’s second wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly before he asked her for a divorce. May his third wife stay healthy.

  12. 12
    Gus says:

    “From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson told me, “Newt’s sins no longer exist–they’ve been absolved.

    That’s the best part of Catholicism. You can drink and whore and have all kinds of fun. You go to confession, and you’re pure as the driven snow. That’s why Catholics tend to be such epic sinners.

  13. 13
    Incertus says:

    @JL: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a good exit strategy. If I were married to Newt, I’d look for an easily misdiagnosed illness, get out, get a good settlement in the divorce, and then be mysteriously "cured" right after.

  14. 14
    Ash Can says:

    “From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson told me, “Newt’s sins no longer exist–they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”

    "From a Catholic point of view," this is complete and utter bullshit. In order for absolution to happen, the person confessing must genuinely regret committing the sin, and genuinely resolve to try to avoid committing the same sin in the future. Easier said than done, of course, and the Church recognizes this, so the same sin can be absolved over and over again. But to blithely point to the Sacrament of Penance as a get-out-of-jail-free card or carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want shows Hudson to be thoroughly ignorant on the subject, besides being a hypocritical asshole.

  15. 15
    NonyNony says:

    @Gus:

    That’s the best part of Catholicism. You can drink and whore and have all kinds of fun. You go to confession, and you’re pure as the driven snow. That’s why Catholics tend to be such epic sinners.

    Normally I’d leap to the defense of the Church of my birth and point out that absolution of sins isn’t supposed to be a revolving door license to sin, and that the absolution only "sticks" if you’re actually penitent and not just faking it.

    But after the last few months where we find out that if you help a nine-year-old girl abort a pregnancy caused by her rapist stepfather, you get excommunicated, but the rapist stepfather gets to confess and repent and not worry about it? Yeah fuck it – I’m ready to call the Church of my birth the Whore of Babylon and let the cultural misunderstandings stand as is. Except maybe to point out that if Newt had been "Born Again" his slate would have been wiped clean of sins too – so the hypocrisy isn’t limited to Catholicism.

    And my parents keep wondering why younger people have been leaving the Catholic Church in droves these days.

  16. 16
    Incertus says:

    @Ash Can: Well, it makes him a modified once-saved-always-saved Christian, which is awfully convenient. He’s also hardly the first–Dante’s got tons of those sorts of people in Purgatorio, especially of the deathbed confession type, which strikes me as even more absurd than this sort of thing.

  17. 17
    Leelee for Obama says:

    This is the best reason I have for never being a Catholic again. It reminds one of the 95 reasons Martin Luther tacked his little missive on the Church door. Not that his hands were clean later, either, but the indulgence business was a major money maker for Il Papa. My Dad was a receiver of an annulment before he married my Mom, so the nuns at my school informed me that my Brother and Sister were illegimate! In third grade! If there is a God, he should spend lots of time being nauseous.

    The fact that Newt Gingrich EVAH had the nerve to lecture me, or anyone else, about family values is one of those imponderables best left to Plato and Aristotle, also.

  18. 18
    Silver says:

    At the end of the day, you’re talking about an organized crime ring that protects pedophiles when you’re talking about the Catholic Church.

    I could give a fuck about what kind of "rules" they have about marriage that they bend here. I stopped asking Nazi virgins for advice on that kind of thing a long time ago.

  19. 19
    mellowjohn says:

    gus @ #12 –
    one of the saints – i forget which – supposedly prayed, "god grant me chastity. just not yet."
    as i’ve said elsewhere, i gave up going to mass about 40 years ago for lent, and never went back. like a good lapse catholic, tho, i do perform my easter duty every year by watching monty python’s "life of brian."

  20. 20
    JL says:

    absolution of sins isn’t supposed to be a revolving door license to sin, and that the absolution only "sticks" if you’re actually penitent and not just faking it.

    Newt’s been faking it for years.

  21. 21
    Leelee for Obama says:

    But to blithely point to the Sacrament of Penance as a get-out-of-jail-free card or carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want shows Hudson to be thoroughly ignorant on the subject, besides being a hypocritical asshole.

    Well, his name is Deal, amirite?

  22. 22
    Nutella says:

    re: Newt as an intellectual

    When I first heard that he had a PhD from Tulane, I lost all respect for Tulane.

  23. 23
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    From the Daily Beast:

    Hudson brought an extremely intoxicated 18-year-old student back to his office and compelled her to perform oral sex on him.

    From The Real Deal:

    "As we grew more and more drunk, stranger and stranger things began to occur," wrote Poppas. Hudson had his arms around two NYU students, said Poppas. "Dr. Hudson was heavily French kissing both girls, alternating from one to the other… ." … Arms locked, drunk and staggering, they dispersed. Hudson and Poppas took a cab to the Metro North train station, headed, she thought, back to Fordham. "I was completely in Dr. Hudson’s hands," recalled Poppas. "Not only was I unable to stand up, I had no idea as to how to get home." In the taxi "Dr. Hudson began pulling me close," according to Poppas. "On the train, he began to feel my breasts outside my sweater and coat. We missed the Fordham stop (I’m not sure whether on purpose or not). We went to his house, he put me in his car, and he went up to tell his wife he was bringing a student back to Fordham." Once in the car, said Poppas, "Dr. Hudson told me to lay my head on his lap, suggesting fellatio when he unzipped his zipper. I did both. I sat up and said ‘Hold on a second, wait just a minute…’ He replied ‘Yes, let’s wait till we get to my office.’" At Fordham, "He took me into his office, laid his long coat down, and laid me down on top of it. He began touching me, unzipping my jeans and pulling up my shirt. I was just glad to be laying down, I could barely feel my body." Hudson performed a sexual act on Poppas. He asked her to reciprocate, which she did. "Then he took me to Sesqui, my dorm," recalled Poppas.

    The word "compel" doesn’t appear in this report. She doesn’t fight, she doesn’t say no, except implicitly in the car. So if you think a woman has to say no to sex or fight back to get raped, she wasn’t raped, she was just "sexually harrassed" by a much older married man in a position of trust and authority who had encouraged a troubled and underage woman to join him in a bar and drink until she could "barely feel her body."

    If you think a woman can’t give true consent when she’s that drunk, she was raped.

    Either way, I don’t see how this shitstain was given the chance to resign instead of facing criminal charges or how he deserves any respect whatsoever.

  24. 24
    sgwhiteinfla says:

    DougJ

    I had to take up for Joe Klein on that thread and I will again take up for him here. If you look at that post in its totality Joe Klein was KILLING Newt. He of course started off with the common Villager meme that Newt is smart but he pretty much evicerated him after that. Over this past week something has gotten into Joe and there has been a noticeable change in his tone. Now I don’t know if it is here to stay but I gotta give him props for it so far.

    The highlights of the post.

    As it is, I won’t call Newt–or the other conservative hyperbolic baloney slicers–unpatriotic. Just graceless, boorish. And completely, demagogically out of touch with the national mood–which is concerned, serious and resistant to right-wing bullpucky

    Gingrich et al will remain banished somewhere in the outer darkness–and the Fox News cave-ghetto–until they realize that the Obama Administration’s economic plans are not at all extreme, but a reflection of the broad American middle.

    Now ask yourself a question, the comment about Newt’s intellect aside, what other accepted member of the Village has EVER hit Newt like this? And isn’t it kinda what we have been asking Villagers to say for a long long time?

  25. 25

    When you consider all the things you either have to swallow or ignore in order to take religions seriously these layers of extra hypocrisy seem pretty small. Given the Salamander’s intellectual level I’m pretty sure it doesn’t actually occur to him.

    I have yet to see anything real come out of Newt’s little mind, noise and sophistries to be sure, but concretely realistic ideas, not so much.

  26. 26
    dmsilev says:

    @JenJen:

    “From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson told me, “Newt’s sins no longer exist–they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”

    Quite a convenient little racket they’ve got going there.

    The sort of thing that, back in the day, ended up with people nailing a bunch of theses to the door of a church.

    The more things change…

    -dms

  27. 27
    Mike in NC says:

    Dante’s got tons of those sorts of people in Purgatorio, especially of the deathbed confession type, which strikes me as even more absurd than this sort of thing.

    So is there a special Circle of Hell reserved exclusively for these right-wing GOP hypocrites? How about draft dodging war lovers like Cheney?

  28. 28
    Jackmormon says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. His first wife had been his seven-years-older High School geometry teacher? That is a detail I did not know.

    Damn, I bet there’s quite a story there.

  29. 29
    JenJen says:

    @Mike in NC: Deep Thought about Deathbed Confessions: Didn’t Lee Atwater convert to Catholicism at the very end, too?

  30. 30
    dmsilev says:

    Speaking of the intersection of Catholicism and BatShitCrazyism, (a) Alan Keyes has a blog and (b) he’s not happy that Notre Dame invited Obama to be the commencement speaker:

    Apparently the Catholic folks at Notre Dame University have no more respect for the Baptismal vows they renew every Easter than their invited Commencement Speaker this year has for the Presidential Oath of Office. At this moment in time, Barack Obama is the living incarnation of the glamour of evil. His smiley tones and non-threatening manner mask a studied commitment to the promotion of the most deadly form of evil in the world today- the cult of abortion centered on the ritual of child sacrifice. Obama has moved with impetuous determination to prove his claim to the mantle of High Priest of the Worldwide Abortion cult. With Executive orders he has shifted the resources of the U.S. government behind the global implementation of abortion. He has declared open season on embryonic human life. He has appointed enthusiastic political and judicial acolytes of this cult of death to high positions in the Executive and Judicial branches.

    That’s only the first paragraph. There’s some real weapons-grade crazy there.

    -dms

  31. 31
    JL says:

    @JenJen: Deep thought, Bill O’Reilly spends a lot of time in the confessional, not much time with penance though.

  32. 32
    Alexis Arquette says:

    “She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer.”

    – Newt

  33. 33
    C Nelson Reilly says:

    @Jackmormon: the angle of the dangle is inversely proportional to the glute of the Newt (or something like that)

  34. 34
    valdivia says:

    @dmsilev:

    After reading that I have come to the conclusion I have been underestimating Teh Crazy. Just wow.

  35. 35
    gocart mozart says:

    Despite all the above negatives and more, I predict that Newt will be the Republican nominee in 2012 only to be crushed by Obama in the general. He is best positioned to win mainly because all likely alternatives are even more pathetic: Romney, Huckabee, Palin, Jindal, Sam the not Plumber, a warm bucket of piss, and so on.

    Remember, you heard it here first.

  36. 36
    gocart mozart says:

    I also predict that "a warm bucket of piss" has a lock on the V.P. nomination.

  37. 37
    JL says:

    @gocart mozart: Don’t forget about Rudy.

  38. 38
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    How about a chorus of The Vatican Rag?

  39. 39
    liberal says:

    @mellowjohn:

    one of the saints – i forget which – supposedly prayed, "god grant me chastity. just not yet."

    IIRC Augustine.

  40. 40
    liberal says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I have yet to see anything real come out of Newt’s little mind, noise and sophistries to be sure, but concretely realistic ideas, not so much.

    IIRC he once proposed to light up cities at night using huge orbiting mirrors.

    Concrete, yes; realistic, no.

    IMHO the best way to sum him up, intellectually, is "pseudointellectual." He’s got all the trappings.

  41. 41
    JL says:

    The discreet charm of Newt Gingrich

    Doug, What exactly does "discreet charm" mean? There’s not much about Newt that you could label discreet.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary
    I didn’t see anything posted as a follow up to you @ 23.
    WoW.

    If you think a woman can’t give true consent when she’s that drunk, she was raped.

    Consent does not exist in that state of inebriation.

  43. 43
    JenJen says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t think Mary was arguing that consent existed in that state of inebriation. I didn’t read it that way at all. I think she was arguing that the word "NO" as a legal test is absurd and tragic.

  44. 44
    lightsleeper says:

    The headline, I believe, is:

    "Newt Gingrich Joins Pedophile Support Group"

  45. 45
    valdivia says:

    @JL:

    I thought is was a reference to this. But maybe I was wrong.

  46. 46
    Svensker says:

    @JL:

    He’s just referring to Newt’s bourgeoisnitude.

  47. 47
    Joey Maloney says:

    @JL:

    Perhaps Doug meant "discrete", i.e., Newt’s charm is distinct and separate from everything else about him.

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    @JenJen
    Oh, I agree completely. Not arguing with anyone on that point or anything.
    Just stating that I am of the male persuasion and think consent is not possible after someone’s had more than a few too many.
    It was just a horrifying extra news nugget Comrade Mary shared and it looked like others didn’t want to touch the grenade the girl’s story revealed. If you believe the girl’s story, and I for one do absent more information, then this looks like rape.

  49. 49
    JenJen says:

    @Corner Stone: It was a grenade; that was a rather shocking addendum to the Max Blumenthal piece, which made it sound, oh, I don’t know, not quite as horribly evil as it did when the victim told her own story.

    I’ll wager that more than a few of us women who frequent this site are uncomfortably familiar with her story, unfortunately… I know it made me wince.

  50. 50
    JL says:

    @Svensker: We don’t do that in the south.

  51. 51
    JL says:

    @JenJen: Seconded.

  52. 52
    Anoniminous says:

    @liberal:

    Re: Augustine

    Following his "Born Again, for the First Time" experience he left his common law wife and baby to run away from getting cooties … or something.

    Wingnuttery: Not Just a Modern Phenom.

    BTW, if that kid next door had been singing "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us" the RCC would be passing out cheeseburgers instead of wafers.

  53. 53
    Anoniminous says:

    @JL:

    What exactly does "discreet charm" mean? There’s not much about Newt that you could label discreet.

    Undetectable.

  54. 54
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    You interpreted my grenade correctly, Corner Stone and JenJen. I phrased the no/fight/drunken lack of consent issue as I did because I thought this could turn into the usual online endless debate over the nature of consent and rape. Though all three of us seem to agree that she was apparently too drunk to give consent, other might disagree, and rather than have things spin off into the ether, I wanted to point out that at the very least, the man is a shitstain.

    I got the source name wrong, though: it was an article called The Real Deal from the National Catholic Reporter, which looks to be a pretty liberal and ecumenical site. The reporter’s backgrounder on his story is here.

  55. 55
    Tony J says:

    Family and moral values only count for the democratic heathens down here.

    That’s the Way of the Gooper in a nutshell.

    Since everyone knows that Democrats are a bunch of immoral, family-hating perverts, when they pretend to care about some minor indiscretions that may or may not have been committed by otherwise fine and upstanding Republican types in a moment of weakness, the Democrats are just being hypocritical. And since everyone knows that the only way to deal with hypocrites is to ignore them, it’s the duty of every right-thinking Merkin to tune them out. At which point they can carry on supporting their guy or girl, confident in their own moral rectitude and grasp of what really matters.

    Shorter Way of the Gooper – "If it wasn’t Democrats calling you a lying, cheating sonofabitch, I confess I might think the same, based on the evidence. But as they are Democrats, heh, Go You, Sir!"

  56. 56
    Josh Hueco says:

    If nobody else has said it yet, I love the title, DougJ. Poor Newt, continually and futilely seeking for a marriage that works, just like some would a meal.

  57. 57
    someguy says:

    Chris Buckley’s right at least in part, for the second time in six months and probably his life. They are all hypocrites. Once you’ve sinned, you don’t have any right to try to hold anybody to any standards and the rest of us are correct to point out the, well, pointlessness, of people who profess a particular moral viewpoint then sin, or who first get their sinning out of the way then "reform." While many of you criticize the Republicans for being Christofascists, I think it’s actually good to see the GOPpers being open and honest about their diseased status. We’ll all be better off once they find a psychotropic drug to treat religion. Of course then homeless people will be walking around asking if you’ve been saved but that will beat elected leaders doing it.

  58. 58
    bob h says:

    Is there anything in the Catholic catechism about serving your wife a divorce summons in her cancer ward?

  59. 59
    JenJen says:

    @Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse: It touched a nerve, for sure.

    I certainly had my own run-ins with creepy, gropey college professors back in the day. What makes me so disgusted about what the piece you posted is that, I don’t know, am I nuts to think that college professors have a responsibility to their students? It’s just infuriating to read, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s all that uncommon, what the victim experienced.

    And what’s most horrific about it is that, trust me here, she’ll never forget it until the end of her days. The professor? Probably blocked that out years ago, or else uses it as shower nozzle masturbation material to this day. Fuckers.

    Mary, that really struck a chord with me, and I thank you for posting it, I really do.

  60. 60
    Calouste says:

    So let me get the Catholic doctrine about divorce correctly:
    – If you are a Catholic, you can’t divorce
    – If you have been divorced before when you were not a Catholic, you can still become a Catholic

    So if you are a Catholic and you want to divorce, you just leave the church, get divorced and then join the church again and everything is hunky-dory?

  61. 61

    @Jackmormon

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. His first wife had been his seven-years-older High School geometry teacher? That is a detail I did not know.
    .
    Damn, I bet there’s quite a story there.

    Damnit. Now I’ve got Van Halen’s "Hot for Teacher" stuck in my head.
    Do you know how hard it is to keep that song out of your head when you live right around the corner from the school where Mary Kay LeTourneau used to teach?

  62. 62
    DougJ says:

    Yes, the title was a reference to the Bunuel movie.

  63. 63
    Hail to the Chief says:

    If Newt was a woman, she would be called a slut and banished from the Church and the Rethuglican party.

  64. 64
    JenJen says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Do you know how hard it is to keep that song out of your head when you live right around the corner from the school where Mary Kay LeTourneau used to teach?

    Yeah, but at least that one had a happy ending. Ummm, if you’re into Teh Weird, that is.

  65. 65

    Brilliant. Your average Talevangical thinks the average Catholic is one step above (or maybe below) the average Satanist.

  66. 66
    AnneLaurie says:

    Well, if Sarah ‘Bible Spice’ Palin is actually going to defect to the shiny new 20th-century authoritarian cult of Scientology, obviously Newt has to defect to the burnished old 4th-century authoritarian cult — since Huckabee has the lock on the Evangelicals (as an actual *minister*) and Romney has the patent on the Mormons. Gingrich v. Palin… the only tragedy is that they can’t *both* lose…

  67. 67
    Ash Can says:

    @Calouste: The Catholic version of divorce is annulment, in which a Church tribunal declares that the marriage in question, for any of several reasons, never really existed in the first place. (The Wikipedia entry on annulment of marriage, e.g., can give you all the details.) If the tribunal decides that the conditions for annulment aren’t met, there’s nothing stopping people from getting divorced anyway, of course. It’s just not recognized by the Church. For this reason, leaving the Church, getting a divorce, and returning to the Church doesn’t work because the Church doesn’t recognize the divorce.

    In Newt’s case, in order for him to have his current marriage recognized by the Church, he needs to obtain annulments for his two previous marriages. If Newt in fact is joining the Church this weekend (a peculiar time to do it, since the traditional time for catechumens to join the Church, Holy Saturday, which is just a couple of weeks away), this presumably has already happened.

    And BTW, I agree with everyone who says this whole thing smells funny. I have a hard time believing that Gingrich could be sincere about anything spiritual, and I have a hard time believing that his conversion wasn’t inappropriately fast-tracked by Church officials who were all excited about having a right-wing political celebrity join their parish. Of course, technically, I’m not supposed to be judgmental like this either, but sheesh. ::fans air and wrinkles nose::

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    someguy says:

    @Ash Can – In the absence of an armored division comprised of angels or maybe a magical unicorn brigade, I guess they’re getting ready to fire a bunch of washed up Republican politicians at the WH over the stem cell issue.

    This should work out about as well as siding with the Germans did for them. Um, Catholics, not the Republicans, though the Republicans (Taft, Lindbergh and Bush The Elder) appear to have been on the wrong side in WWII until it became clear they were on the wrong side, and come to think of it the guy running Rome has some inconvenient history there too. Who’s running the personnel departments at these places?

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