The Hubris And Hypocrisy Of Newt Gingrich

Considering that he’s looking more and more likely to run for President in 2012, John Richardson’s Esquire profile of Newt Gingrich is a must read, but the headline grabbing parts are likely to be the excerpts from the interview with Gingrich’s second wife Marianne:

Early in May, she went out to Ohio for her mother’s birthday. A day and a half went by and Newt didn’t return her calls, which was strange. They always talked every day, often ten times a day, so she was frantic by the time he called to say he needed to talk to her.

“About what?”

He wanted to talk in person, he said.

“I said, ‘No, we need to talk now.’ ”

He went quiet.

“There’s somebody else, isn’t there?”

She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. ” ‘I can’t handle a Jaguar right now.’ He said that many times. ‘All I want is a Chevrolet.’ ”

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”

That’s a form of arrogance that strikes me as being rather dangerous in one who seeks great power.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Franklin says:

    Well, directly damning quotes like that are coming from a wife with an axe to grind.
    I’m not a fan of his style, and the rest of his behavior is pretty well documented, but I’m not 100% sure if he’s as consciously hypocritical as she makes him out to be.

  2. Dude, read the article. He asked his wife for permission to cheat on her her after she was diagnosed with MS. Coincidentally she being the wife he married after serving his first wife with divorce papers while she was in a hospital bed suffering through cancer.

    There’s something about this guy that just ain’t right.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    You are truely a piece of work Doug.  Wonder just how low Obama’s approval ratings have to get before they get some ink from you?  I give a sh*t what Gingrich’s ex-wife has to say about him.  You seem facinated by those who have the potential of unseating your hero.

  4. jim says:

    Let me get this straight…Newt?…Unseat…hahaahahahahahah…anybody?
    Tell me another one
    If his huge head doesn’t get in the way he’ll just trip over his d__k again

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Seriously, ex wives are not where we should be betting information.  We should also be sophisticated enough to understand how a person can be an advocate for something while falling short in their personal lives.  Remember the old casting the first stone bit?  If we apply such a standard who will be left to speak at all?
    I’m sorry Doug but your criticism is proving to be politically biased.

  6. Steve


    Were it not for the fact that Marianne Gingrich’s story is strikingly similar to that of his first ex-wife you’d have a point.

    Besides my concern isn’t so much with Newt’s private life as it is with the sheer arrogance of the highlighted statement.

  7. jim says:

    For those of you not from Ga. Sheer Arrogance is pretty much Newt’s reputation

  8. Trumwill says:

    Steve, I personally believe that the hypocrisy charge is overused. I would say, though, that there is a difference between falling short of one’s ideals and doing what Gingrich is doing. My main complaint with Doug’s post, though, is that hypocrisy is the least that Gingrich is guilty of. It’s not as though he could come across much better if he were more socially liberal.

  9. Alex Knapp says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but I rarely pull the lever for politicians who don’t keep their wedding vows.  The ability to honor one’s commitments rather than indulging in self-gratification is an important and valuable character trait.  This is not to say that an adulterer can’t accomplish good things in office, but all else being equal, I will definitely vote against the adulterer unless there has been evidence of sincere contrition on their part.

    And on a personal note, I despise Newt Gingrich in no small part due to his serial adultery and his serial divorces; and the heartless way that he treated his ex-wives.  In particular, I despise him because of his complete lack of contrition, humilty or regret over his past misdeeds. 

  10. grampagravy says:

    I am rooting for Newt…..and I’d like to nominate Zelsdork to be his campaign manager.
    After the election, in the event they win, we could have a Philanderer in Chief and a Court Jester without any new-hires.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Zelsdorf and Steve are being awfully magnanimous where Gingrich’s personal life is concerned…I doubt they were so generous towards, say, the personal life of Bill Clinton…

  12. Steve Plunk says:

    I consider Bill Clinton’s seduction of a much younger subordinate a very different thing.  Lying about it later under oath made it worse.  There is no comparison.  I don’t condone Newt’s behavior but I can’t cast that stone myself.
    You’re far to progressive to be mistaken for old fashioned or traditional.  Wedding vows are typically religious in nature yet you have shown contempt for religious institutions and traditions.  I sense false outrage when convenient.
    It’s not so much I’m defending Newt as pointing out how others are using personal issues in a political fashion.  Funny, it’s those who usually say that’s off limits.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    You generally say rather silly things, but this is a new one:

    You’re far to progressive to be mistaken for old fashioned or traditional.  Wedding vows are typically religious in nature yet you have shown contempt for religious institutions and traditions.  I sense false outrage when convenient.

    Wedding vows are typically religious, therefore a non-religious person can’t be genuinely turned off by vows that are traduced?

    a) A promise is a promise, a vow is a vow.
    b) The person making the vow is the one being judged, and he should be judged first by his own professed standards of behavior.
    c) I’m an atheist.  I’m also a husband — 33 years.  And if you’ll sh-t on your wife, you’ll sh-t on anyone, and that is exactly what Gingrich has done.  So shove your evasions and rationalizations where the sun don’t shine, pal, because real men, decent men, honorable men of whatever religious or political persuasion, do not betray and humiliate their wives.

    Newt Gingrich is a creep.  He’s also a liar, a low-rent panderer, and an intellectual fraud.   Gingrich is the embodiment of the concept of “yuck.”

  14. Alex Knapp says:


    You’re far to progressive to be mistaken for old fashioned or traditional.

    First off, one’s personal politics isn’t necessarily reflective of their opinions on culture.  Secondly, most of my political opinions are rooted in my personal ethical and religious beliefs, many of which are quite ancient.

    Wedding vows are typically religious in nature yet you have shown contempt for religious institutions and traditions.

    Wedding vows don’t have to be religious, as Michael rightly notes. 

    And contrary to your opinion, I take religion very seriously.  There’s a reason why my Ancient Wisdom series here draws a lot from religious sources.  However, I admit that I do frequently have contempt for religious institutions and traditions, but this is not because of a contempt for religion per se, but rather my contempt for the all-too-human tendency for religion to be used as a cover for oppressive and self-serving ends.  I’ve heard sermons at so-called “Christian” Churches that would make Ayn Rand blush and say, “Wow, those guys are SELFISH.”  I’m annoyed by the trendy upper-class limousine liberals who think that a few candles in their house and a yoga class or two makes them a Buddhist when they know nothing of the eightfold path and their lives are evidence of attachment to material goods.  I think it’s disgusting the way Muslim fundamendalists have perverted the noble traditions of Averroes and Avicenna–not to mention the teachings of the Prophet himself. 

    Believe me, I can keep going.  But suffice to say that my contempt for religion as identity politics is not the same thing as contempt for religion.

    And getting back to the subject at hand, I can’t think of a single ethical or moral percept in which Newt Gingrich can be judged as anything but a scumbag for the way he violated his marital vows and showed nothing but contempt for his wives as he pursued his own selfish desires. To my knowledge, he has shown no contrition or regret over his actions, which makes him all the more contemptible.

  15. Steve Plunk says:

    I love it when rational debate from the liberal side slides into ‘So shove your evasions and rationalizations where the sun don’t shine”.  That’s some high brow intellect.  Of course being a real man means talking tough and checking your brain at the door.  People divorce across this country every day and I’m sure each party feels aggrieved by the other.  The thing is Newt probably is paying both of these women for their trouble.  Maybe most people don’t live up to your 33 year standard but who are you to judge others?
    So you want contrition from Newt?  Just because he has not made a public display of it for you to see doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.  Wouldn’t that be something private perhaps?  Maybe between a man and his minister or god?  Your standards of judgment, like Michael’s, seem high and mighty.  Liberals for years have called this sort of thing personal and none of our business so why is it now?  Politics.

  16. Alex Knapp says:


    Judging by interviews with his children and ex-wives, not to mention Gingrich’s own words, the available evidence indicates that he has not shown any contrition over the matter of his adultery.  Perhaps he has, and certainly I wouldn’t demand any kind of public apology.  However, I can only go by the evidence made available to me, which supports the hubris that Doug notes in the post.

    And I don’t really care what some liberals say about adultery not being relevant in judging a politican.  I think it’s relevant, and always have.

  17. wr says:

    I don’t think adultery should rule out a candidate for higher office. As much as we’d like our leaders to be pure, there’s obviously a strong connection between the urge for power and the urge for sex, and it’s naive to think that men (particularly) who are driven to seek higher office won’t also seek sex.

    But I think adultery from someone who claims to lecture us on our own morality is a dealbreaker. To insist on a higher moral code, but only for other people, and then to try to pass laws enforcing it, while all the time violating it, shows a dangerous lack of self-knowledge or understanding of human behavior, or a sociopathic indifference to truth.

    And I believe that someone who dumps his wife while she’s dying of cancer so he can marry the tootsie he’s been sleeping with during her illness has so little regard for anyone’s life besides his own that he should never be allowed in any kind of leadership position.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    The thing is Newt probably is paying both of these women for their trouble.

    Okay, now Plunk, you embody the concept of “yuck.”

  19. An Interested Party says:

    How noble Steve Plunk is towards Newt Gingrich…he accusses others of playing politics, yet I wonder if he would be so generous if Gingrich was a liberal Democrat from California….concerning Clinton, he wants to hide behind the lying under oath trap…so I guess Clinton’s other affairs were just fine and off limits to talk about, eh?  Actually, a politician who has affairs but doesn’t go around telling other people how to live is better than someone like Gingrich…he, of all people, has no business doing that…i realize that politicians seem almost hypocritical by default, but he is the textbook case of hypocrisy…