Demographics are changing. Angry old white men are dying. Since they were the base of the Republican Party and younger voters tend to be more liberal on social and other issues, how should the Republican Party adapt? Party stalwarts worry that the GOP might sell out its long-held cherished principles just in order to win elections. On the other hand, the Democrats did that years ago.
Sympathy for Newt and Open Marriage
You know the narrative. Right-wing family-values Republican gets caught doing secular-liberal totally-not-family-values stuff, usually involving sex:
Cruising for manlove in an airport men’s room.
Knocking up the maid.
Sending dirty emails to young male pages.
Hiring male hookers and smoking meth.
Asking wife #2 for an open marriage.
This kind of thing happens all the time. And it’s always red meat for leftie media commentators.
Liberal pundits love to call fallen Republicans hypocrites. They point out that liberal politicians are often more heterosexual and monogamous than many so-called conservatives—and remain married to the same spouse for life.
Now it’s Newt Gingrich’s turn.
In her divorce filing Ms. Gingrich the Second claims that Mr. Gingrich asked her for an open marriage so he could stay with her while carrying on with Callista, who became Ms. Gingrich the Third after Ms. Gingrich the Second refused said request. (You may need to re-read the previous sentence.)
Cue the holier-than-thou liberals.
CNN reporter John King opened a presidential debate with an assault on Newt’s alleged yearning for sexual freedom. A New York Times editorial called this “a perfectly reasonable question.”
Across the vertical seam in the op-ed graveyard Gail Collins could barely contain herself. “Beyond the hypocrisy of this sort of behavior from a guy who wants to protect the sanctity of holy matrimony from gay couples, there also seems to be a streak of almost crazed self-absorption that runs through the Newt saga,” Collins gloated. “Who would ditch a spouse of 18 years in a phone call? Shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? And, of course, he broke up with his first wife while she was battling cancer.”
That Newt Gingrich is pompous, nasty and one of the most hideous members of that physically repugnant tribe known as politicians can be stipulated by all but those blinded by hatred of Mormons and Kenyan-born socialists. Still, I think we on the Left are missing an opportunity for a teachable moment.
Progressives are fighting for human emancipation. The right to engage in sex with any consensual adult in any form is integral to this struggle to liberate ourselves from patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia and capitalism. How, then, can we justify mocking anyone—even a hypocritical Christian conservative—for expressing their sexuality?
When Senator Larry Craig was arrested, essentially for the crime of being a closeted gay or bisexual male, in that Minneapolis-St. Paul airport restroom, he needed our support, not our ridicule.
Imagine if supporters of gay rights from across the spectrum had refused to get sucked into stupid D-vs-R theatrics. Remember, the cops weren’t trying to catch a right-wing gay-bashing closeted senator. Craig was ensnared by one of countless sting operations conducted by police departments across the United States designed to harass all gays and lesbians. We should oppose such tactics forcefully and consistently. Defending Craig’s right to hit on other guys would have served the cause better than scoring cheap partisan points.
As for Newt’s alleged—divorce allegations ought to be swallowed with a massive dollop of sodium chloride—request for an open marriage, well, so what if he did?
When 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce it’s clear that state-enforced monogamy for life isn’t working for everyone. Researchers estimate that up to six percent of American couples are in open marriages. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their decision. It’s their choice. Asked privately, most liberals would agree.
Millions of Americans prefer alternative arrangements for their sex lives—open marriages, swinging, etc. Yet they are forced to sneak around. They’re not hiding from their lovers, but from their friends and neighbors and colleagues lest they be shamed and shunned. Unlike conventionally married couples (who cheat on one another in significant numbers), people in open relationships know exactly what their partners are up to.
Moreover, there are a lot of open relationships that no one thinks about. Does anyone doubt, for example, that the Clintons had a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy that essentially amounted to a license to cheat?
You shouldn’t have to hide or lie when you’re doing nothing wrong. Yet so-called “liberals” join their rightist counterparts in snickering about Craig’s “wide stance” and Gingrich’s request for an open marriage. The effect is to denigrate gays, lesbians and other sexually marginalized and oppressed people.
Nona Willis Aronowitz calls Gingrich “the poster child for the messy, miserable life people can have if they’re stuffed into rules they weren’t built to follow. He’s the poster child for how our sexist and repressive culture can hurt relationships. Gingrich was raised in, and now advocates for, a world that sets up incredibly narrow parameters for sex and love, and shames people who don’t adhere to those standards.”
We should tell right-wingers like Newt Gingrich: you’re one of us. You always were. The fact that you can’t live by your own supposed rules proves it.
Quit living a lie, Newt. More importantly, quit asking everyone else to live the stupid lie that defines your stupid out-of-date politics.
Hey Republicans! Are you a maid-knocking-up, men’s-room-trolling, sexting, bondage-loving, gay-bi-trans-whatever?
The Right’s not that into you. Join us.
COPYRIGHT 2012 TED RALL
President’s Right-Wing Policies Revealed Years Ago
We used to love Obama. Now we don’t. What a difference two years makes!
But not really. We may have changed. But Obama hasn’t. It was obvious from the beginning that Mr. Hopey Changey was devoid of character, deploying a toxic blend of liberal rhetoric and right-wing realpolitik. We were in denial.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Obama made a name for himself by speaking out against the Iraq war. “I am certain that I would have voted to oppose this war,” he said in 2007. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, he voted to fund it. Repeatedly. Aye. Aye. Aye. Never voted no. Tens of billions of dollars down the rat hole. Thousands of dead U.S. troops. Hundreds of thousands of murdered Iraqis.
Asked to explain his hypocrisy on Iraq, Obama replied: “I have been very clear even as a candidate that, once we were in [office], that we were going to have some responsibility to make [the Iraq war] work as best we could, and more importantly that our troops had the best resources they needed to get home safely,” Obama explained. “So I don’t think there is any contradiction there.”
Who are you going to believe? Me or my lying voting record?
That was back in 2007. We knew Obama was a weasel. We knew before the first presidential primary.
After he won, we learned he was at least as much of a right-winger as Bush.
Within days of his November 2008 election victory Obama backed away from his campaign pledge to close Guantánamo and restore due process to kidnapped and tortured Muslim detainees. Instead, he announced, he would create extralegal “national security courts.” Even Bush didn’t dare stray that far from the rule of law.
Obama didn’t appoint a single liberal to his cabinet. Against good sense and common ndecency, in the midst of the worst financial crisis since 1929, he hired pro-business hacks Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geitner to lead his economic team. Fighting proposals to create jobs programs, they expanded Bush’s bank bailouts instead.
Obama asked Bush’s defense secretary to stay on because, you know, he was doing such an awesome job with the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I suppose it could have been worse: Obama’s first choice to run the CIA was John Brennan, a pro-torture Bushist.
As Inauguration Day approached the hits kept coming.
Obama claimed to be against the Iraq War. “Unlike Senator John McCain,” Obama wrote in June 2008, “I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president.”
By December, however, the Weasel-Elect had re-revealed his pro-war stripes. “Even though the [U.S.] agreement with the Iraq government calls for all American combat troops to be out of the cities by the end of June ,” reported the Times on December 22nd, military planners are “now quietly acknowledging that many will stay behind as renamed ‘trainers’ and ‘adviser’ in what are effectively combat roles. In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else.”
When Obama announced his choice to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, it was yet another unpleasant surprise: Rick Warren, the right-wing, gay-bashing pastor of the Saddleback megachurch. Gay leaders were annoyed. And did nothing.
The indignities continued a day or two after the new prez moved into 1600 Penn.
Liberals hoped for accountability. Obama had promised it. Once in the Oval Office, however, Obama said America needed “to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” He ordered his Justice Department not to investigate Bush Administration war crimes. No one would be prosecuted—not even the military psychos who anally raped Afghan children at Gitmo with flashlights. Obama traveled to CIA HQ to tell the spooks to keep on torturin’: “I don’t want [CIA agents] to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.”
So it went.
Obama expanded Bush’s domestic spying program. He sent 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He allowed torture to continue in CIA prisons and signed an executive order granting him the right to assassinate anyone, including a U.S. citizen, on his say-so alone.
Six days into the Obama presidency, I’d seen enough.
“Give the man a chance?” I asked on January 26, 2009. “Not me. I’ve sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting. It won’t take long, as Obama’s failures prove the foolishness of Americans’ blind trust in him. Obama isn’t our FDR. He’s our Mikhail Gorbachev: likeable, intelligent, well-meaning, and ultimately doomed by his insistence on being reasonable during unreasonable times.”
I was mistaken. Two years is too long for people to figure out what Obama is all about.
(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.)
COPYRIGHT 2010 TED RALL
Gotta love how the left gets its back.
When right-wingers like Ann Coulter get attacked in the media, right-wing bloggers defend her. Even moderate Republicans watch her back.
As I read today’s blogs, 100% of the action is criticism from the right. From the leftie bloggers: crickets.
OK, so maybe you don’t agree with everything I have to say. But really, it’s pretty lame not to defend your own side. This is, after all, a culture war.
But I can’t say it’s surprising.