Newt Gingrich's best value among 'values voters'? Beating Obama
In fact, I believe that the "values voter" is practically extinct. Either that, or he/she is a figment of the imagination, sort of like Bigfoot.
My proof? Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich stood on stage Thursday night at the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina and denounced the media for asking him about his ex-wife's claim that he sought an open marriage. And the audience stood and cheered.
They cheered a man who has been married three times; one who reportedly cheated on wife No. 1 with wife No. 2, and then cheated on wife No. 2 with his current wife.
Not only that, Gingrich is reportedly gaining ground in South Carolina against front-runner Mitt Romney, who may not want to talk about his taxes and his finances but certainly doesn't have a multiple-wife problem.
And what do South Carolina's "values voters" think about Newt of the wandering eye?
Here's The Times' Alana Semuels, writing Thursday about a group of retirees who meet often in a coffee shop in Mt. Pleasant:
The B.S. Club's chosen candidate, this morning at least, is Gingrich (though Kirkland says Gingrich, like most older men, has too much baggage). They like Gingrich's forceful manner and his debate skills, and say he could go up against President Obama and win….
"We want anybody but Obama," says Jimmy Sinkler, 63, a retired telecommunications worker with a thick Southern accent, sipping a mug of coffee at the B.S. Club's table. "He's destroyed the country. We've all become socialists under Obama. He's not done anything except destroy us."
Which says it all, doesn't it? "He could go up against President Obama and win," and "We want anybody but Obama."
Values are fine, it seems, but in presidential politics at least, winning is finer.
-- Paul Whitefield
Photo: Retirees arguing about how to vote in Saturday's Republican presidential primary are a familiar scene in South Carolina diners these days. Credit: Ariana Lindquist / Bloomberg