Back in the year 1980 when I was not yet born, Newt Gingrich was a young member of congress married to his wife, Jackie. Jackie had uterine cancer and because of the cancer had surgery. Because of the surgery she was recuperating in the hospital when her husband Newt showed up with a yellow legal pad outlining the terms of their divorce. He was dumping her for Marianne Ginther, a woman 15 years younger to whom he was married within the year. Jackie was left nearly destitute and had to get a court order to pay her medical bills. Flash forward to the 1990s and:
Callista Bisek, Gingrich’s current wife, became his mistress first and his wife second (really third, if one is counting wives), while Marianne was home visiting her mother. In 1999, Marianne had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Newt asked Callista to marry him before he and Marianne had agreed to divorce. The affair had been going on for years. Newt compared Marianne to a “Jaguar” and Callista to a “Chevrolet” and said he needed a Chevrolet, not a Jaguar, according to the Esquire story. In 2000 the couple wed.
Now who’s to say. Some of America’s favorite presidents were bad husbands. But Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports for The New York Times that “in a curious tale of Washington reinvention, the onetime congressman from Georgia is counting on the third Mrs. Gingrich for his political redemption.” It’s an audacious plan, I’ll grant you that. Maybe Callista will share with us stories about how they met and the romance of conduct a secret years-long affair with an older married man? It’s got drama, at least. Or maybe Newt himself will note that his declining standards of fidelity have played out against a backdrop of steadily growing equality for gays and lesbians. Did the gays make him doing it? Always undermining the sanctity of this and that. Should be interesting.
The suggested slogan, “Gingrich 2012: He will always love America. Unless it gets cancer” is funny. That said, Gingrich’s second divorce makes it clear that mere lack of cancer is no guarantee that he won’t dump us for a younger nation. Slovakia, perhaps?