My friend sent me the invitation by email. They wanted to campaign for Mitt. They decided on South Carolina over New Hampshire because it was warmer. They were driving through the night starting late Thursday to arrive at a campaign spot in the morning. Then they’d go to work, probably knocking doors, some of were well familiar with that, or waving signs at passing cars.
I don't care that much for politics.
In college while at BYU, I helped campaign for Senator Orrin Hatch's reelection. It wasn't what I was expecting. I just thought it'd be more....more...meaty. I thought we'd be talking to people about Senator Hatch's record and discussing policy directions while on good ol' Americans' doorsteps. Not so, "getting out the vote" felt like being a cheerleader. There were a few rah-rahs and some smiling and waving, but that was about it. No offense to the cheerleaders of the world, but I just wasn't interested. Plus, Hatch was a well established incumbent. It wasn't that exciting to advocate for him.
Even though I'm in the civic education field, I don't follow Congress' actions that closely. My friend, a consistent Fox News consumer, who knows me well enough to call me out would often question my lack of interest. It's not that I'm not interested, I would tell him, it's just exhausting to sift for the truth; everything has a spin in politics. I at least make an effort to resist intellectual dishonesty by reading the news more often than I view it, but because this takes lots of time, I usually only read a few lead articles a day. I'd occasionally watch the Republican debates, but not on a Saturday night, are you kidding? Not at least early on when Herman Cain was still in the running.
But Newt Gingrich has moved me to act.
How is anyone taking this guy seriously?
I identify as a moderate conservative. I didn't vote for change. With that said, I just assumed that the steady polling of "generic Republican" beating Obama would play out to mean the best candidate, clearly Mitt Romney, would get the Republican nomination.
Not so. By the time South Carolina came around Newt Gingrich was polling well.
I may not care that much for politics, but I care about my country and therefore I care about politics.
"I'm in" was my emailed response.
Newt has cheated extensively in both his professional and personal life. He may appeal to ultra conservatives with his rants against the elite media, but he doesn't stand a chance in a general election against President Obama.
As speaker, 80% of his Republican colleagues voted him out of leadership and fined him $300,000 for ethics violations. After which, he left Congress to be what he calls a "historian" for Freddie Mac which is the institution that caused the biggest financial crisis of our time. Freddie compensated him $25,000 a month. Really? When did historians begin seeking to influence legislation, which is exactly what he was doing. Toast against Obama--the anti-lobbiest standard bearer these days.
He's also cheated in his personal life. This isn't just a question of who he chooses to have sex with, like we'd have to worry who he would be doing in the Oval office, or who would be doing him, it's that he's willing to betray a person he at one time promised before God to love and care for when she develops cancer in preference for another woman. Then he did it again with the next woman when she contracted MS. Callista, girl, red flags are waving around your perfectly sculpted helmet of a hair do. This guy is a slime ball. You’re next. How someone treats the people closest to them overwhelmingly who they are as a person–slime ball.
Compare Newt's family life to President Obama's and then imagine a general presidential election. The president is obviously interested in his kids and cares for his wife. They actually like each other. He may not share my vision for America, but President Obama is a descent man. The public perception of his family life alone would demolish Newt in a general election.
Not Newt. Not Obama.
However, South Carolina voters wanted Newt–40% of them at least. It turns out the state with a strong evangelical presence would prefer a man like Newt Gingrich to a Mormon–This article is worth your time to help gain some insight on that: Better to be an adulterer than a Mormon?: Evangelicals, Gingrich, and Romney.
That’s all for now.
I'm off for the night to hear Matt Bowman talk about his new book The Mormon People: The Making of an American Religion. The WSJ called it one of the five best on Mormonism. I don't know if that’s true, I haven't read it. My copy just arrived last night. I just know that Matt's brilliant. Anytime we have a conversation on any Mormon topic, he unfolds so much depth that hours later when I’m trying to sleep, I keep thinking about what he shared.