Even Newt has a shot at the "moral" crowd.
They're that desperate.
(Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
Best. Sentence. Ever
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Bowen said, as she set down a basket filled with fetus dolls.
The context was Iowa Right to Life director Jenifer Bowen speaking about the dreadful problem facing conservative evangelical voters in their struggle to decide which of the Republican presidential candidates they ought to support. Newt Gingrich? Adulterer. Mitt Romney? Mormon, which is probably one of the few things worse than being an adulterer, if you're evangelical. Ron Paul? Hates war; real Christians know war is a wonderful thing that purges those nasty non-Christians from wherever it is that needs purging. Santorum or Bachmann? C'mon, even far-right religious zealots have a hard time going there.
Bob Vander Plaats, who recently scored a solid win for the forces of irony when Newt signed on to his "defense of marriage" pledge, shows just how difficult it is for God-fearing folks to get behind any of these people, and just how far they might have to go to get there:
“If we are just going to beat up Newt for his past, then we should probably stop preaching about David,” he said, “because David slept with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. Even in some ways, Newt looks good compared to David.”
Well, sure, if you're going to put it like that. Newt looks good compared to Hannibal Lecter, too. If we're to the point where we're going to say, about Newt, "well, at least he didn't kill the husbands of the people he slept with" then maybe we need to revise that whole marriage pledge too.
More wisdom from Vander Platts in that interview: Ron Paul isn't pro-Israel enough, which is a real bummer because real Christians love Israel and want to see it, um, blown to bits for the sake of invoking the Second Coming (or something, I can't keep track). Also, Catholics are no longer evil incarnate, I guess because now it's more hipster to be freaked out by Mormonism.
Gingrich is getting help from other evangelical leaders as well:
On Saturday night, thousands of conservative Christian ministers in key states received an email from Jim Garlow, the pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif., who played a leading role in pushing in 2008 for passage of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry. [...]
“ ... Destroying the definition of marriage is not merely “left.” It is wrong. It is sin. Stealing funds from future generations and spending it so that they will be closer to slavery than freedom is not merely “left.” It is wrong. It is sin. Although Mr. Gingrich is not running for 'Theologian-in-Chief' but 'Commander-in-Chief,' he grasps these issues. He understands the moral component.”
Garlow has been backing Gingrich for the last few years and has served on the board of one of Gingrich nonprofit organizations, Renewing American Leadership, dedicated to "preserving America's Judeo-Christian heritage." Garlow's weekend letter went on to describe Gingrich’s positions on marriage (including his past transgressions and request for forgiveness), abortion and judicial activism.
The letter also supported a number of other candidates for their admirable qualities of being Not Mitt Romney, so it wasn't a total win for Newt, but it did highlight that evangelicals are willing to let Newt's ridiculous history slide if they think it gets them closer to the White House.
That may not be enough to reverse Gingrich's slide in the polls, but it's good to know that even a sanctimonious serial adulterer with the moral code slightly below that of a crocodile can lead the evangelical crowd, as long as he promises to hate the right people.