Gene Lyons explains how Newt Gingrich winning the Republican nomination would be a disaster for Gingrich but a good thing for the rest of us, in his column, “Why Gingrich Might Be Good For America:”
Look, nobody’s third wife is going to be First Lady. In the privacy of the voting booth, American women won’t stand for it. Regardless of how flawlessly the bejeweled Callista enacts the role of pious matron, she remains the embodiment of the Trophy Wife—younger, more adoring, unencumbered by children, a climber on the make. In effect, a successful Monica Lewinsky, although unlike Bill Clinton’s paramour, Callista was no kid.
Even Ann Coulter knows that. Having placed an early bet on Mitt Romney, the GOP’s vestal virgin pronounced herself shocked to hear South Carolina Republicans accepting “Democratic” arguments excusing Newt Gingrich’s serial adultery. On “Fox & Friends,” Coulter said, “I promise you, if Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum had cheated on two wives—that we know, the ‘open marriage’ thing is the only thing he contests, we know he cheated on two wives—I wouldn’t support Mitt Romney.”
Ah, but there were deeper passions at play in South Carolina. So let’s switch metaphors. Judging by the whooping and hollering of the CNN debate audience, the GOP’s neo-Confederate wing wishes for nothing less than an electoral replay of Pickett’s charge—the doomed infantry attack at Gettysburg most historians believe marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War. A sizeable proportion of South Carolinians have yearned for a rematch ever since.
And they don’t think they’re going to get it with Mitt Romney, a Yankee’s Yankee who goes around babbling passionless truisms like this gem unearthed from his standard stump speech by the National Review’s Mark Steyn:
“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”
Do what? (That’s Southern for what the hell?)