Last year, Esquire published an interview with Marianne Gingrich, Newt’s second wife. It’s a portrait of a man whose megalomania is fueled by insecurity. (Isn’t it always?) Marianne also talks about how comfortable Gingrich — and politicians in general — are with being hypocritical assholes.
He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected,” she says. “If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president.”
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“Newt always wanted to be somebody,” she says. “That was his vulnerability, do you understand? Being treated important. Which means he was gonna associate with people who would stroke him, and were important themselves. And in that vulnerability, once you go down that path and it goes unchecked, you add to it. Like, ‘Oh, I’m drinking, who cares?’ Then you start being a little whore, ’cause that comes with drinking. That’s what corruption is — when you’re too exhausted, you’re gonna go with your weakness. So when we see corruption, we shouldn’t say, ‘They’re all corrupt.’ Rather, we should say, ‘At what point did you decide that? And why? Why were you vulnerable?'”
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Tom DeLay took charge of the impeachment, as the rest of the Republican leadership was concerned that Gingrich was “too close” to Clinton and too vulnerable to the girlfriend charge himself. And suddenly, even though Clinton was the one being impeached, it was the Republicans who were in danger of losing Congress.
One night, Marianne says, Bill Clinton called from the White House. She answered the phone and the president asked if he could please speak to her husband. Could the Speaker come over immediately? After he hung up, Newt summoned his driver and went in the back door to the Oval Office. During that meeting, he would tell her later, Clinton laid it out for him: “You’re a lot like me,” he told him.
Do read the interview if you have time; it’s fascinating. Make sure to notice this part:
“There’s somebody else, isn’t there?”
She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?
She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. ” ‘I can’t handle a Jaguar right now.’ He said that many times. ‘All I want is a Chevrolet.’ ”
He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.
He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.
The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”
“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “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.”
From now on, I’ll be referring to Callista Gingrich as “Chevrolet.”