With Newt Gingrich seemingly laying the groundwork for a presidential run or at least pretending to it’s about time to reexamine the life and philosophy of this fascinating figure in American politics. Thankfully, Esquire is out with a revelatory, engaging profile of the former speaker of the House and his position as the”philosopher king” of the Republican Party, a man who vacillates between anti-Obama hysteria (“The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did”) and principled disagreements with tea partiers over immigration (“People who come here overwhelmingly come to work”) and income taxes (“None of the Founding Fathers would have said that George Washington, owning Mount Vernon as the largest landowner, should pay the same tax as somebody who was a cobbler”). While the article definitely gives Gingrich credit — for his intellectualism, for his success at balancing the budget — there’s plenty in there that won’t help his image. Herewith, the ten most unflattering things in the profile.
10. He lives his life based on weird metaphors about cookies:
9. Nobody buys the movies he releases through the group Citizens United.
8. His health-care group doesn’t do what it claims it does:
7. He started to act crazy after being fined $300,000 by the House Ethics Committee — “yelling at people,” “slurping his food” during meetings, and just not “functioning.”
6. He steals lines from his ex-wife and passes them off as his own:
“[Current wife] Callista and I kid that I’m four and she’s five and therefore she gets to be in charge, because the difference between four and five is a lot.”….
[Ex-wife Marriane’s] eyes go wide when she hears his line about being four to Callista’s five. “You know where that line came from? Me. That’s my line. That’s what I told him.”
5. He has no “real principles” except the “pursuit of power,” according to former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards, who’s known Newt for 30 years.
4. He doesn’t care about being a hypocrite: After Marianne questioned how he could give a speech on family values while carrying on an affair with his decades-younger aide (who became his third wife), Newt replied, “It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
3. He wanted Marianne to just “tolerate” his affair, “an offer she refused.”
2. Regardless, he then announced that, though he’d been having an affair for six years, “he and Marianne had an understanding,” a claim Marianne denies. “Of course not,” she says. “It’s silly.”
1. He delivered divorce papers to his first wife — his former high-school teacher — while she was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer. He broke things off with his second wife
seven eight months after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.