Former Speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was attacked Thursday in an interview on ABC News by his second wife Marianne. She accused him of beginning an affair with his current wife Callista while Marianne and he were still married (which Mr. Gingrich admits). She also accused him of lobbying her for an open marriage that would allow him to continue seeing Callista without getting divorced (a claim Gingrich denies).
Well, in any case, no open marriage was in the offing, and the Speaker married his current and third wife.
As I have written before for Fox News Opinion, I don’t think voters belong in a candidate’s bedroom. But the media can’t seem to help itself from trying to castrate candidates for the prurient pleasure of the public.
I will tell you what Mr. Gingrich’s personal history actually means for those of us who want to right the economy, see our neighbors and friends go back to work, promote freedom here and abroad and defeat the growing threat posed by Iran and other evil regimes.
First, one note on what Mr. Gingrich’s married life, including his history of infidelity does not mean: It does not mean that Mr. Gingrich would be unfaithful to the United States of America or the Constitution of the United States.
You can take any moral position you like about men and women who cheat while married, but there simply is no correlation, whatsoever—from a psychological perspective—between whether they can remain true to their wedding vows and whether they can remain true to the Oath of Office.
I want to be coldly analytical, not moralize, here. I want to tell you what Mr. Gingrich’s behavior could mean for the country, not for the future of his current marriage. So, here’s what one interested in making America stronger can reasonably conclude—psychologically—from Mr. Gingrich’s behavior during his three marriages:
1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.
2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married.
3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible.
Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.
4) Two women—Mr. Gingrich’s first two wives—have sat down with him while he delivered to them incredibly painful truths: that he no longer loved them as he did before, that he had fallen in love with other women and that he needed to follow his heart, despite the great price he would pay financially and the risk he would be taking with his reputation.
Conclusion: I can only hope Mr. Gingrich will be as direct and unsparing with the Congress, the American people and our allies. If this nation must now move with conviction in the direction of its heart, Newt Gingrich is obviously no stranger to that journey.
5) Mr. Gingrich’s daughters from his first marriage are among his most vigorous supporters. They obviously adore him and respect him and feel grateful for the kind of father he was.
When I want to know who in a marriage (or, for that matter, a series of marriages) is the one who actually was aligned with their best interests, I never dismiss evidence of who the children gravitate toward and admire. In this case, they have judged the father who left their family, then remarried twice. And they judge him 10 out of 10. I only hope my own children love me and respect me as much when they are adults.
So, as far as I can tell, judging from the psychological data, we have only one real risk to America from his marital history if Newt Gingrich were to become president: We would need to worry that another nation, perhaps a little younger than ours, would be so taken by Mr. Gingrich that it would seduce him into marrying it and becoming its president. And I think that is exceedingly unlikely.
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.