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Newt Confesses to Dobson

Somebody might have some doubts about both his contrition and his Christianity. Giuliani, of course, has also done some very bad things when it comes to wives and other women, but I guarantee he won’t use this venue or this approach to show us that he’s sorry and is living more responsibly now. I’m all for confessing sins and seeking forgiveness (mainly from God and those you’ve hurt!), but not this way.

Discussions - 21 Comments

Bill Clinton might have been able to get away with this from the religious folks with whom he consorted (though not all of them--some felt very badly used), but I can’t believe that traditional believers are willing to forgive and forget. This will, I hope, be a trial balloon that is quickly deflated.

Gingrich needs to remain an "elder statesman."

We agree completely with Peter, but also consider what this says about Dobson et al. Peter is a better theologian, and Giuliani is at least a better politician.

I do not concur. Newt anticipated what would be dredged up in the future, when he announces. So in a preemptive fashion, he took care of it before an audience he knew would be sympathetic. Later in the campaign Gingrich will be able to take advantage of this forthright admission by questioning why Giuliani hasn’t made such an admission himself. OF COURSE, Gingrich won’t do so baldly, so nakedly, he’ll simply allow a shadow to descend upon Giuliani for not being so open and forthright about his marital delinquencies. PETER said this wasn’t the way to do it. He’s wrong. This is a way of getting it out there, doing it in a controlled fashion, through a media that isn’t very well followed by the MSM, thus Gingrich’s gets it out there without it being widely circulated. It was proactive, Gingrich isn’t going to have to respond to it later, because by then, MONTHS FROM NOW, he’ll be able to repeat Clinton’s line that it’s "old news, and it’s time to move on." And rest assured, that line that Clinton used was EXTENSIVELY focus grouped. Gingrich will be able to take it off the shelf, as it were. Gingrich’s confession occurred while the pundits are zeroed in on Coulter. Again, he gets it out there, while much of the media is focused elsewhere.

Remember that creepy kiss the Goracle planted on his wife at the Dem Convention? Remember that. Everyone said it was creepy. BUT IT WORKED, it was a way of distancing himself from the philanderer in chief. It was a way of showing that he loved his wife, that he was committed to her, and that he wouldn’t throw himself on plump and ripe interns. The Goracle existed in the shadow of squalor of the Clinton Presidency. That kiss was a way to get out from under it. Everyone in the media laughed about it on the talk shows, but it worked.

This confession is Gingrich’s equivalent to that kiss. This is a way of reassuring the base that he’s aware of his marital shortcomings, and that he’s devoted to his present wife and that he’s determined to see out his marital vows.

Just like then with the Goracle, some, such as Peter here, find what Gingrich did a public spectacle. But spectacles can work. Gingrich isn’t about to repeat the blue blood errors, of affecting a stiff upper lip, and hoping that the great unwashed ultimately admire the blue blood for his pose, his demeanor, his "class." I too find what Gingrich did classless. But then again, I’m half WASP myself. But most Americans don’t share the blue blood ethos, and what’s more, don’t much admire it.

Gingrich made the right move, at the right time in the right forum. He’s way ahead of the curve. And wait and see, the media is soon going to start asking when Giuliani is going to make a similar pronouncement. The media isn’t going to allow Rudy to skate free and clear without making some sort of statement about his marriage. They need that to insulate Hillary from criticism for her very European open marriage. Hillary is in the midst of an "arrangement." What better way to isolate and minimize the damage from that than smearing Giuliani, and dredging up the past against him. Giuliani’s FAILURE to properly address that NOW, could easily come back to haunt him later, and haunt the entire GOP. But Giuliani is in something of a bind, the numbers are moving his way. He has a dominant position, he doesn’t want to risk it, and any such confession would result in his numbers falling, if not plummeting. So he’s in a bind, while Gingrich isn’t.

Gingrich’s negatives can’t go any higher, he’s reached his ceiling. But his favorability can improve, and WILL improve. But what of Giuliani?

I would be very wary before branding anything that Gingrich did politically foolish, especially from here on out.

Gingrich is so far ahead of the curve it’s scary.

I agree.

Bush would probably have won the popular vote in 2000 if he’d had the guts, or the wits, to disclose the DUI early in his campaign -- preferably at a rehab center.

And recall too which particular audience Clinton chose to make his pronouncement "that none of us are strangers to sin."

He said that line at Notre Dame, and it was probably the biggest applause line of the speech.

Notre Dame has a bad track record of such things. It was there that Carter made his statement that we’re over our "inordinate fear of the Soviet Union."

In fact, what GIULIANI should do RIGHT NOW IS USE what Gingrich did as a prompt, an excuse to appear before a similar audience, and make a similar statement.

His numbers would TEMPORARLY FALL.

And Romney’s would rise.

Discussion would IMMEDIATELY begin of Giuliani’s error, Rudy’s mistake, Rudy’s gaffe. For Rudy would be risking his lead, he would effectively be giving it up, when it looks like the race is his.

BUT IT WOULD PREMPTIVELY inoculate for the general campaign. McCain’s numbers can’t rise, he’s pissed off too many Republicans for his own good. He overplayed that Maverick card.

Romney is a Mormon, with a bad track record of allowing his political ambitions to dictate his political beliefs.

Which leaves the hero of 9/11, WHO CONFESSED his flaws, {in a humble way, in an Operaesque way..., which America seems to desire of late...} and bravely did so while he had the lead.

Just think about the momentum Rudy will have when his numbers fall after his confession, but through his innate character, strength and the people’s respect for him, he climbs back into the lead of the race for the nomination. JUST IMAGINE THAT.

But that would be a bold throw, a calculated risk, and a great risk. But ultimately, it’s going to have to be dared. For what the media did during the 2004 campaign will be NOTHING compared to what they will do to make sure the iconoclastic wonder Hillary, gets in.

They want her, they want her former dalliance with radicalism, they want her arrangement, they want her open marriage, they want the rumours, they want her. And they’ll do anything to get her.

Rudy’s personal flaws are cockiness and a roving eye. A confession like Gingrich just made is a way to ingratiate himself by displaying some, just some humility. And it’s a way of getting the Donna Hanover story off once and for all.

He can’t allow Donna Hanover and her Vagina Monologue ways to hang over this campaign. He has to get rid of it all. And this would be an excellent, but bold way of doing it.

"Faint heart never won fair lady."

This is no time for Giuliani to flinch from forthrightly and preemptive addressing his marital problems.

With all of the complaints from social conservatives that no candidate effectively expresses their concerns, Newt is, or is trying to, do so. A few weeks ago I came across this little book of his, Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in our Nation’s History and Future on my local library’s new book shelf. It’s not bad, and the cover art is very plain with GOD and AMERICA and Newt’s name out there, big and bold for all to see neatly packaged together.

Newt clearly sees the vacuum on the social right and, despite his sins, sees himself as prepared to fill that spot. Dan’s point, that this is political preemption is just the thing. I am fascinated to see if it will work.

Did anyone here see or hear the confession? I would be uncomfortable doing so, for the reasons Peter cites in the post. It is amazing to think that Dobson has taken on some kind of politically evangelical, father confessor’s role for the right. (Would Billy Graham have fit the bill in some previous time?) Who would Guiliani go to for a similar act of contrition? I ask, because if this works for Gingrich, as in he picks up support from the Christian Right as a result, what Dan suggests in comment 7 might actually happen. Otherwise, why would Giuliani bother?

Giuliani would need to go before a friendly audience, or a friendly talk radio host. Preferably, a small market one. He should do it when the news is getting swamped with other stories. Gingrich came clean when Coulter was getting blasted, Libby was being convicted, and March Madness was imminent.

Peter described it as a "confessing." I wouldn’t so describe it. It should be seen as a clearing of the decks, a readying for action.

Look at how the Democrats tried to use Cheney’s daughter against him, against Lynn and against the whole GOP. Kerry was nakedly GLEEFUL blurting out her lesbianism during that Presidential debate. How Cheney handled that issue ALLOWED Kerry and the Democrats opportunity to behave like despicable dirtballs. And if you think Kerry wanted, if you think the Democrats wanted it in ’04, wait for what you’ll see down the stretch in Autumn of ’08.

Steve Hayward in another post lamented the beginning of the Presidential campaign season. It’s really just a reflection of how many people are aware what the stakes are in ’08. Republicans are physically sick of this adrift Presidency. Democrats are in a frenzy unseen since the days of Nixon. The media is desperate to make sure that Iraq fails, lest their reportage come under historical scrutiny. The Dems have also staked all on defeat.

I don’t know if I can recall a President so hell bent on lame duck status as George Walker Bush.

Powerline today observes the incompetence of the Justice Department.

Just about every prominent Conservative publication deplored the conviction of Libby. It’s well to recall that Libby was pursued DURING A REPUBLICAN administration. What would our reactions have been had it been Janet Reno?

The administration’s incompetence extends all across the board. Just name the Department, and we can name the idiocy and the incompetence.

Dan, I asked below, in another post, if the early start of the ’08 election is because of the extreme lameness of the Bush lame duck presidency. Then NLT went down, but perhaps yours, here, is my answer?

But IF the point is clearing the decks, then wouldn’t a bigger splash of the past errors be the way to handle it? Well, perhaps if small, it is as if an inoculation? That is better than to be totally diseased with the thing.

I have been thinking about the open sinfulness (as it once would have been considered) of so many of our candidates on the Republican side, in light of the Michael Novak "book review" in NR, which is scarcely about the books he is reviewing and yet very good about Christianity. It is a defense, an apology, against three recent books by atheists that condemn Christianity. It is the part where Novak discusses the centrality of the sinner to Christianity that makes this connection for me. I ought to go finish the article before I write much about it, but where I am in it now, that part of the article constitutes a defense of person who has sinned and fallen short. This seems to me an adjustment within social conservatism to accommodate the current slate of candidates. It might be happening all over the political writing of the Christian Right, which I do not read.

I do not see how the Democrats can make much hay of this issue in ’08. The electorate seems to sicken of the charges, and the Christian Right seems more inclined to forgiveness than I have ever seen it.

As to incompetence in the Departments of government, couldn’t there be a conservative case to be made that government is bound to fail when it is expected to do too much?

It’s a fine line. You want it to get out there that you apologized, that you acknowledged mistakes, that you’re aware of your flaws and that you’ve mended your ways. You want that out there. BUT what you don’t want is for the story to be seized upon and run with for weeks on end. That can sometimes happen, especially during slow news periods. You really want to position yourself later to be able to hammer anyone who dredges your past up by saying: "That’s old news, and you’re just engaging in nasty, negative campaigning." That tactic can work.

When it looked like Giuliani was going to be the person to run against Hillary in the 2000 New York Senate race, TWO BOOKS were published that were timed for the commencement of that Senate race. And the two books were exposes of Rudy’s personal life. Those books were attempted hits on Rudy’s political career.

The Clintons right now are so dirty, so tainted, so bespattered with mud, rumours and insinuations, that it’s impossible for any new bit of mud to be distinguished from all the mud they already carry with them everywhere they go. More mud won’t hurt her, him, or them.

But that’s not the case with Rudy. Rudy can be tarnished. There’s a glow around Rudy, and the Clintons will do everything they can to drag him down into the filth and the muck they habitually inhabit.

Gingrich KNOWS that, and has spoken about it. I hope Giuliani does as well.

This is an opportune moment for him to take on an issue when he has the lead, and also has sufficient time to recapture the lead if his numbers fall after his own disclosures.

That would be bold, foresighted and savvy. When his numbers started to go back up after such a disclosure, it would be create an unstoppable momentum. And it would ONLY SOLIDIFY the widespread perception that Giuliani is touched by greatness.

After another year of our verbal cripple, George W. Bush, after another year of unanswered criticisms, after another year of Presidential drift, domestic drift, foreign policy drift, executive branch drift, Katrina drift, Justice Department drift, Pentagon drift, after another year of all that, the GOP is going to be CRAVING leadership, toughness, toughmindedness and most especially, ARTICULATENESS.

George W. Bush is either laying the foundations for another Clinton Presidency, {complete with his Dad doing all he can too, to clean up as much as humanly possible the Clinton family image}, so he’s either laying the foundation for a Clinton, or a Gingrich or a Giuliani.

Carter set the stage for Reagan. Chamberlain set the stage for Churchill. Hopefully, the incompetence, the lack of imagination and political savvy of Bush and his administration are setting the stage for Gingrich or Giuliani.

God I hope so.

Another year of this Presidency will make the millstone this party carries so heavy, that we might not even be able to stand upright, let alone run a race, let alone win a race. It could take all the strength in the party just to stand erect. That’s how much damage they’re doing to us, to the base, to the platform, to the Grand Old Party.

Dan (and others): What about the possibility that Guiliani won’t "confess" to marital sins or flaws or failings because....he doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong?

Well, maybe, although I don’t think it’s any more likely that Newt REALLY believe he’s done anything wrong. The same goes, of course, for the famous public confessor Bill Clinton.

And we have to add, of course, that Newt’s theory of preemptive confession will only help him if he’s really confessed everything (along the infidelity and womanizing lines), which he hasn’t.

Isn’t an authentic Christian confession done in the privacy of one’s own faith, perhaps or perhaps not in the presence of a confessor, but anyway in confidence? Since when for Christians did a confession of sins become a political act? I do not understand the patience of Christians for Newt’s behavior. To me, it says at least as much as the sin. It says his worldly reputation is above all what matters to him. That’s Christian?

That’s why I am asking if anyone has actually heard this "confession" of Newt’s. The article is from Slate, and we can assume, not sympathetic. Maybe this wasn’t as ghastly as it sounds. Still, such a confession IS political, and not Christian, if it is public. If Peter is right, up there in 13 & 14, then what is Dobson doing making a forum for such things?

There is nothing so Christian as forgiveness. But to compel forgiveness by public acts of contrition, just doesn’t seem right, nor Right.

Newt Gingrich is about as conservative as Barack Obama. He’s always been a neocon globalist, and he always will be.

This wasn’t an act of religious "confession." Confession properly understood is a Catholic and Orthodox practice, {I’m not sure if the Anglicans enjoy that privilege as well}. But Protestants don’t need to "confess" anything publicly, they need only to make their peace with God.

It’s in poor taste to accuse Newt of some act of poor taste, when our society is so heavily Oprahified. Newt didn’t invent the political and cultural discourse of the nation.

You can listen, here: At the Focus on the Family website.

It is two radio broadcasts.

A couple things: first, as Peter pointed out, I don’t believe Newt has confessed everything. I think his actions were purely political and were made to take advantage of the people who are uncomfortable with Rudy’s private life (especially after his son admitted they have a strained relationship). Second, I don’t think Rudy will have a big teleconference saying . . . what? What could he possibly say? "I wish I hadn’t divorced my second wife and married my current wife"? I really think all he can do is, when it comes up, say something to the effect of wishing he had handled it differently. I’m not condoning his actions by any means, but the toothpaste is out of the tube. He will/should just continue pointing out that he and conservatives don’t see eye-to-eye on everything but that he’s not a threat to their values and is their best chance of winning.

To clarify: I just don’t think anything Giuliani says will make things right with social conservatives. He should apologize for the way in which he handled things, but that won’t help much and it’s about all he could do.

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