“I am ashamed of the negativity and the dishonesty that has characterized this campaign,” he said. “America deserves leaders who care enough to tell the truth. They deserve leaders who don’t shave corners, don’t play games, don’t take things out of context.” Newt Gingrich (quoted while in the International Church of Las Vegas)
After reading the above gem — delivered by Newt Gingrich inside a church in Las Vegas Friday night — I would have expected to read this morning that the former Speaker of the House had been struck by lightning. We know that some (many) politicians are fond of stretching the truth from time to time, but telling a whopper as big as this one — while standing in church no less — is almost too much for even Newt Gingrich. I say almost because it is abundantly clear that the man has no shame. No shame over committing adultery, no shame over acting arrogantly (and petulantly), no shame over violating ethics rules which cost him his Speakership, no shame over running slanderous ads accusing his opponent of abusing Holocaust survivors, and no shame over using the church as a campaign tool for his own deluded ambitions.
Mr. Gingrich was certainly right about one thing — Americans “deserve leaders who don’t shave corners, don’t play games, and don’t take things out of context.” Using his own criteria — which he is very careful not to apply to himself — Newt Gingrich has to be one of the most unqualified men to ever run for office of President of the United States. As National Review’s Rich Lowry wrote:
“Newt is the Republican Clinton — shameless, needy, hopelessly egotistical. The two former adversaries and tentative partners have largely the same set of faults and talents. They are self-indulgent, prone to disregard rules inconvenient to them, and consumed by ambition. They are glib, knowledgeable, and imaginative. They are baby boomers who hadn’t fully grown up even when they occupied two of the most powerful offices in the land.”
We didn’t need Bill Clinton when he was in office. We certainly don’t need a Republican version of Clinton today. Which begs the question: Why are so many Evangelical Christians enamored with Newt Gingrich’s candidacy? Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. However, if we truly believe that character matters — yes, even for conservative Republicans and not just for liberal Democrats — then conservative Evangelicals, particularly of the Southern Baptist variety, will conclude that they cannot support Newt Gingrich for the most powerful office in the world. He has already shown us in the past and continues to show us in the present that he lacks the character and moral integrity to be Commander-in-Chief. To continue with this charade — no matter how much one might be uncomfortable with Mitt Romney nor how badly one wants to see the current President defeated in November — is to be accused, rightly so, of hypocrisy of the highest order.
As fellow blogger William Thornton (SBCPlodder) offered on my recent post about Gingrich: “The Evangelical church in America today is much like Esau, selling our birthright for a mess of pottage.” Before diving into the food that Gingrich keeps serving, Evangelicals would do well to take a closer look. The closer they look, the more they will realize that the red meat that Gingrich dangles is nothing more than rancid meat that’s not even fit for pottage!