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“Serial Husbands”: A Trump-Gingrich Ticket Would Make A Mockery Of Family Values

If, as some pundits are speculating, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald John Trump picks Newton Leroy Gingrich as his running mate, the two will go down in history as a presidential ticket unrivaled in its mockery of this country’s most traditional and honored symbol of commitment: holy matrimony. Trump and Gingrich, two standard-bearers of family values, are serial husbands. Between them, the two have had six wives.

Let us count the ways.

Fifty-four years ago, at age 19, Gingrich married his 26-year-old former high school geometry teacher. He left her in the spring of 1980. However, he did return to see her. Gingrich dropped by the hospital where she was getting treatment for cancer to discuss divorce terms. Formally divorced in 1981, Gingrich got married six months later.

That marriage lasted until 2000. By his own admission, Gingrich started an affair with a woman 23 years his junior during his second marriage. Incidentally, it was around the time Gingrich was taking Bill Clinton to task over Monica Lewinsky.

Gingrich’s second marriage ended in 2000, and he married his then-girlfriend, the current Mrs. Gingrich, the same year.

Trump had to play catch-up to Gingrich.

The real estate mogul didn’t land his first wife until 1977. A few years later, however, 40-year-old Trump started dating a 23-year-old beauty pageant winner. That little affair on the side apparently went swimmingly until girlfriend and wife No. 1 ran into each other on the ski slopes in Aspen. That didn’t go so well.

The angry wife filed for divorce, which reportedly was quite messy. Trump married girlfriend, and went on to run up boodles of debt. By 1999 and with hard work, however, Trump wiped out his financial misfortune, and shed his second wife.

He continued dating the woman he was seeing while married to wife No. 2. In 2005, Trump made that girlfriend wife No. 3, about five years after Gingrich married for the third time.

Both men are now tied for the lead.

And, if a Trump-Gingrich ticket is successful in November, could we witness a tiebreaker and fourth nuptial in the White House?

What, in the name of the nuclear family and a moral society, will Donald Trump do next?

Afraid to ask.

 

By: Colbert I. King, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, July 1, 2016

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Family Values, Newt Gingrich | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Appalling Message To Women”: Stop Second-Guessing Hillary About Her Marriage

Ruth Marcus is a respected journalist, who has achieved an extremely privileged position in a male-dominated industry. More power to her! I’d be the last person to say she didn’t work hard to get where she is. Good on her.

But I am troubled by her recent over-the-top screed attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which sends an appalling message to women: Ladies, if you have a messy personal life, stay the hell off the public stage! Be forever shamed by your total humiliation! A respectable woman whose husband cheats on her must leave him — indeed, leaving him is the only way for her to regain her respectability, after an acceptable period of being ashamed of him, and ashamed of herself for ever having been with him. Darn that Hillary Clinton, she is not acting respectable! How dare she go out in public with that man!? How dare she run for U.S. Senate, serve with distinction, then go on to reshape the U.S. State Department as Secretary of State — all without leaving that no-good husband of hers. She was a shamed woman! How. Dare. She.

Ruth Marcus has been on the receiving end of media attention for her column, from this on MSNBC to this in the New York Times. Now, I know that columnists are often deliberately provocative, and I don’t expect to agree with everything that even a favorite opinion writer publishes. But I have a particularly personal reaction to this column.

Reading Marcus, I can be reminded what a loser I am. My life has been messy with many personal failures. My first husband beat the crap out of me. That was humiliating. I knew it was something that did not happen to respectable young women. I was extremely fortunate, however, as with the help and support of my parents I regained respectability by leaving my batterer. My mother and father breathed a sigh of relief and hoped I would stay on the right path. I went to law school, got good jobs and performed well. But my life kept being messy. I married again, not once but twice. Not respectable. My mother was bitterly disappointed. Ms. Marcus reminds me of her.

When my third marriage was breaking up, a friend of mine told me she believed marriage failures were always the woman’s fault. I laughed, but stopped when she said she was serious. This individual truly considered herself a friend, and so did I. I still do. I just don’t share her archaic view of women’s place in the world. Ruth Marcus’s narrow conception of what wives must and must not do is outdated in the same way.

All of which brings me round to why I admire Hillary Clinton as a woman, and why I am supporting her to be the next president of the United States. For most women, whose lives have not been perfect, Sec. Clinton’s career path — which has been marked by persistence and resilience in the face of extraordinary barriers — is cause for celebration and inspiration. When she ran for president in 2008, she was subjected to vicious forms of misogyny, but she didn’t let that chase her out of the public square. As a result, today, other women know that they don’t have to be chased out either.

The good news is that the vast majority of women aren’t interested in second-guessing Sec. Clinton’s decisions about her marriage. To paraphrase Sen. Bernie Sanders, the public has no interest in that ancient history. Most people consider former President Bill Clinton to be more than the personal actions he regrets and has apologized for. As adults living in the 21st century, we are able to agree or disagree with him on policy without clutching our pearls and fantasizing about some dress.

What women voters do care about is whether our next president will enact policies we need more than ever — a higher minimum wage, an expanded Social Security system, paid family leave, racial justice initiatives that include girls and women of color, access to safe, legal abortion care and birth control, and recognition of civil and human rights of LGBTQIA people. I don’t agree with Sec. Clinton on everything, but I do know that she listens and responds to people who disagree with her. And I especially admire her strength in the face of the hate and nasty attacks that come at her from all angles.

Thanks to Ruth Marcus, we have been schooled once again in the old rules of how wives are supposed to behave. But thanks to Hillary Clinton, there is a brighter future for women leaders.

 

By: Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women, The Blog, The Huffington Post, January 6, 2016

January 10, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Violence, Hillary Clinton, Women | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Conservatives Wrapping Noxious Notions In Code”: ‘Religious Liberty’ Looks A Lot Like Intolerance From Here

To me,” she said in a statement, “this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word. It is a matter of religious liberty.”

It’s telling that Kim Davis chose those words to defend herself last week. Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, a rural, impoverished, and previously obscure patch of northeastern Kentucky, made international headlines for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She had, should it need saying, not a legal leg to stand on, the Supreme Court having ruled in June that states may not bar such couples from marrying. On Thursday, Davis was jailed for contempt. The thrice-divorced clerk had said she was acting upon “God’s authority” and fighting for “religious liberty.”

The political right has long had a genius for wrapping noxious notions in code that sounds benign and even noble. The “Patriot Act,” “family values,” and “right to work.” are fruits of that genius. “Religious liberty” is poised to become their latest masterpiece, the “states’ rights” of the battle for a more homophobic America.

A few months ago, you will recall, “religious liberty” was claimed as the rationale for failed laws in Indiana and Arkansas that would have empowered businesses to refuse service to gay people. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Georgia lawmakers will introduce a new “religious liberty” bill there next year. Last week, Mike Huckabee praised Davis for “standing strong for religious liberty.” Chris Christie, while conceding the need to obey the law, spoke of the need to “protect religious liberty,” as if religious liberty were seriously in danger in one of the most religiously tolerant nations on Earth.

Of course, like all good code, this one hides its true meaning in the banality of its words. Most of us would likely support the right of Native Americans to ingest peyote in their religious rituals, or Jewish or Muslim inmates to grow beards. Some of us even believe no religious order can be required to ordain a woman, admit a congregant of a proscribed race or, yes, perform a same-sex marriage. We understand a core American principle that, within certain broad parameters, one’s right to practice one’s faith as one pleases is inviolable.

But “religious liberty” as defined by Davis and her supporters is about what happens in the wide world beyond those parameters, about whether there exists a right to deny ordinary, customary service and claim a religious basis for doing so. And there does not.

Davis is wrong for the same reasons Muslim cabbies in Minneapolis-St. Paul were wrong some years ago when they claimed a right to not carry passengers who had alcohol on them and Christian pharmacists were wrong when they claimed a right not to fill birth control prescriptions. You have a right to your religious conscience. You do not have a right to impose your conscience upon other people.

And if conscience impinges that heavily upon your business or your job, the solution is simple: Sell the business or quit the job. Otherwise, serve your customers and keep your conscience out of their affairs.

Taken to its logical conclusion, it is not just gay men and lesbians who are threatened by the “religious liberty” movement, but all of us. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that most of us probably run afoul of somebody’s reading of their religion in some way or another? Who would welcome a future where you couldn’t just enter a place and expect service but, rather, must read the signs to determine if it caters to people of your sexual orientation, marital status, religion or race?

We tried something like that once. It didn’t work.

Sadly, if people like Kim Davis have their way, we may be required to try it again. They call it “religious liberty.”

It looks like intolerance from here.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, September 7, 2015

 

September 8, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, Kim Davis, Religious Liberty | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Three Legs Of The Conservative Stool”: The ‘War On Women’ Is The Latest War That Republicans At CPAC Want To Win

All political movements, to some extent, sound nonsensical to outsiders because groupthink elides the needs for certain connective thoughts to be voiced aloud. CPAC, a celebration of orthodoxy among a bullet-point-equipped faithful who all try to sound more stridently like everyone else than anyone else, magnifies this tendency to maddening degrees. Two separate subjects are mentioned with the causal relationship omitted. Facts appear without context; good things are named as though good outcomes inevitably eventuate. When cause-and-effect statements appear, they aren’t much better.

By this process, you can arrive at a conclusion like this: To win the War on Women, you better put a ring on it.

At CPAC, conservatives dedicated an entire panel to “The Future of Marriage.” One could be forgiven for assuming it tackled the issue via the sub-topic “Gays, and the Ickiness Thereof,” because that was the default assumption among those attending CPAC as part of an ongoing More Jaded Than Thou contest. Instead, the panel bypassed halting marriage equality and went straight for a return to celebrating a time when women had few stable life opportunities outside of marriage.

Heritage Foundation vice-president Jennifer Marshall signaled the need for conservative candidates to “be indivisible” on the matter of the “very interrelated” three legs of the conservative stool – marriage, small government and a stable economy. What a weird stool. Why these three things? Why not neighborhood bowling leagues, usury and the gibbet?

Marshall answered that question by explaining that “the sexual revolution has made relationships between men and women much more challenging”. Naturally, as polyamory and bed hopping have had very little effect on bowling or usury. Still, it was an important statement to make, because it implied that women had been complicit in the destabilization of their economic security.

Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute – employer of such luminaries as Iraq War stooge Judith Miller, invariably wrong William Kristol and racist hack Charles Murray – was willing to go even further than Marshall in placing the blame for women’s economic travails on alienation from “the family” and then further blaming women’s thoughts for turning women against where they belong.

“Feminists have taken over college campuses. They run the bureaucracy. People are losing the vocabulary to say fathers are essential,” she said. “I predict there’s going to come a time when Father’s Day is hate speech because you’re dissing a lesbian couple.” Piles of unsold real, comfortable Wrangler Jeans clogging up landfills. Tasteful Methodist sex harnesses going unsold at tasteful Methodist sex harness shops. Ships teeming with rear spoilers for family sedans being turned away from the nation’s harbors. A chilling vision of dadless things to come.

Nonetheless, vague problems demand vague solutions. Thus MacDonald advised 2016 Republican candidates: “If you want to eliminate poverty overnight, you can wipe it out by having stable, two-parent households.” (Note the weaseling inclusion of “stable.”) After all, we determine income inequality by households, so take two people living together in poverty, marry ‘em, and presto! No more poverty. Statistical problems go away if you stop gathering statistics. That only sounds nutty if you don’t already know that global warming isn’t real because thermometers lie.

That more or less made sense if you’d listened to the previous hour’s explanations that everything is bad in the inner city, and too many urban folks don’t get married, so, like, the two things are connected, man. Meanwhile, according to MacDonald, “The most affluent members of American society are still getting married.”

Shortly after this, Wade Horn, former assistant secretary for children and families, weighed in with the observation that marriages save money and diversify productivity because “marriages allow for economies of scale and specialization” within the household. (For those scoring economies of scale at home, presumably because specialization has made one of you an actuary: economies of scale good when you are married to someone; bad when buying prescription drugs for nations.) When your bridesmaids give you bewildered looks at the altar, point at your groom and cross their eyes while miming throwing up, just hold your hands apart to show how much he scales your economy.

To a cynic, that might read like a heartless thought. But do you know what’s really heartless? Government. “Children need their mothers and fathers. There is no government program that can possibly substitute for the love and guidance and sense of place in the world that parents provide,” MacDonald explained. “What we’re seeing now in the inner city is catastrophic. Marriage has all but disappeared. When young boys are growing up, they grow up without any expectation that they will marry the mothers of their children.” And she’s right; people who think government will love you or your abandoned children are idiots. The Department of Love has been a failure since 1967, and large faceless institutions will never care for human beings no matter how well they claim to mean. Those “inner city” people shouldn’t have been trying to hug America. They should have hugged something more practical like each other and that smiley face from Wal-Mart.

But if these problems and solutions got too specific for you, there was always Kate Bryan of the American Principles Project and moderator of “The Future of Marriage in America” panel. Sometimes it’s all just The Culture. The Culture — the Great Silent Chobani — depicts marriage as negative. Example: “The old ball and chain.” Why, if we could just get rid of this expression that zero non-horrible people have used unironically for at least a generation, we could have this thing licked in no-time. Women, inequality, stability, stools, the Whole Chobani. Good talk, everyone.

 

By: Jeb Lund, The Guardian, February 28, 2015

March 2, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, CPAC, War On Women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Faith, Family And Libido”: Louisiana’s McAllister Says He’s ‘Fallen Short’

When politicians get caught in extra-marital dalliances, there’s usually a controversy that follows a predictable trajectory. There are the allegations, followed by denials, then apologies, all wrapped up in humiliation. These messes usually last several days, if not weeks.

Rep. Vance McAllister, a Louisiana Republican who’s only been in office for about five months, truncated the lifecycle considerably yesterday, going from revelation to contrition over the course of an afternoon.

A married House Republican, who ran on a devout Christian conservative platform, apologized Monday after a video surfaced that reportedly shows him kissing an aide.

“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness. I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve,” said Rep. Vance McAllister in a statement. “Trust is something I know has to be earned.” He added, “I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.”

The extra-marital romance was first uncovered by a local outlet, the Ouachita Citizen, which obtained a video of McAllister kissing an aide in his district office in late December – about a month after the congressman won a special election in his Louisiana district.

The exact nature of the relationship is unclear, but it’s worth noting that the aide was reportedly removed from the congressman’s payroll “during the past 24 hours.”

Complicating matters a little more, it appears the aide and her husband were generous McAllister campaign contributors.

As a general rule, I tend to believe these incidents are private matters, but the standards for scrutiny change when hypocrisy is involved.

For example, when Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was caught hiring prostitutes, the political problem had less to do with his behavior and more to do with the fact that Vitter ran as a “family values” conservative, urging voters to elect him in part so he could champion traditional morality.

Personal mistakes are one thing; hypocrisy is something else.

McAllister, a married father of five, has a similar problem: “McAllister cited his faith, family and hard work in ads run during the campaign last year. His wife and kids were featured prominently in the ads as well.”

On his campaign issues page, the Republican puts “Faith and Family” on top, touting his family’s membership in a local Baptist church, and citing his values as an explanation for why he “opposes President Obama’s policies of bigger government.”

Looking ahead, the congressman will reportedly seek re-election. In the interim, it’s unclear if McAllister’s personal missteps will run afoul of the House GOP leadership’s “zero tolerance” policy on lawmakers and ethical lapses.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 8, 2014

April 9, 2014 Posted by | Conservatives, Family Values | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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