Yesterday, I got into a conversation with a female friend about the continuing Republican primary. As we were discussing the various candidates, we naturally touched on Newt Gingrich, with both of us agreeing that we don’t like him, largely because of his multiple marriages and at least one affair.
I have my political reasons for objecting to Gingrich’s presidential run as well, but I have to say that his lack of faithfulness really bothers me, as it does my friend.
It also really bothers me when I hear conservatives, who were more than willing to bash Bill Clinton for his lackadaisical views on marriage, turn around and defend Newt Gingrich for the same charge.
“Oh, it’s different,” they say. And to some degree, I suppose they can make a case that Newt Gingrich was never accused of rape and probably is an abysmal amateur in the infidelity category compared to Clinton.
But regardless of whether he batted in the big leagues or the minors, he still played ball. It’s the same game, and pretending that it isn’t makes conservatives look ignorant. It also makes us sound a heck of a lot like the liberals we complain about so much.
Liberals like President Obama’s Senior Advisor David Axelrod, who went on CNN’s “Out Front with Erin Burnett” to blather on about how Rush Limbaugh is an unusual breed of cretin compared to Bill Maher:
“Understand these words that uh uh Maher has used in his stand-up act uuuhhh are a lit bit different than uh – not excusable in any way – but uh different than a guy uh with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking uh her mind in the most uh in the most inappropriate, grotesque uh ways and uh and nor does Bill Maher play the role in the uh in the uh in the uh Democratic party that Rush Limbaugh plays in the Republican party, where he’s really the defacto boss of the party. Everybody responds to him.”
As with the Gingrich-Clinton comparison, there are differences. In fact, I’d argue that there are some very significant differences.
After all, Limbaugh didn’t use the level of “inappropriate, grotesque” words that Maher not infrequently resorts to. The conservative talk show host called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” And then he apologized for his inappropriate language.
The “stand-up” comedian, meanwhile, called Sarah Palin the C-word, which is a heck of a lot more demeaning than “slut.” And Maher still hasn’t retracted the vile, gender-based vilification.
The problem is that Axelrod, as a standard liberal, isn’t willing to either admit or care about those distinctions. As conservatives, we should be adhering to a higher standard. Support Gingrich if you want; just don’t excuse his bad behavior as something less than it was.