Race, Sex and Religion in South Carolina

By Nancy L. Cohen, January 22, 2012

Newt has a long checkered history of riding the right-wing to power, and he did it again in South Carolina yesterday.

So much to say about Newt’s resurrection. First, let me add my voice to the ‘oh, the hypocrisy’ chorus. My book Delirium (out in three weeks) has a chapter about Newt’s role in hijacking the government for one full year over Clinton’s sex life. When I wrote it last summer I worried I was stuck in the historical weeds but knew it was an essential step along the way to our present insanity. How I wish it were just a historical curiosity!

The key point is that Newt’s pious baloney about his adultery and his leadership of the campaign to throw out a twice-elected popular president on the high crime of sex derive from the same source: the capture of the GOP by religious zealots obsessed by other people’s sex lives.

Which explains Newt’s delusional claim about a war against religion. What really does he mean? Here’s a Newt beaut to remind us.

I think  there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact… These secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they’re the opposite, of what you’re taught in Sunday school.

Newt after all was the man who once said “Politics is war by another means.” Gays, women, and cultural progressives—religious or not—are high on Gingrich’s enemy list.

But still we have not plumbed the  depths of Newt’s character. After Iowa, I expressed skepticism about Newt’s political death:

Lots of punditing last night about Gingrich playing wing man for Santorum. Maybe. But it’s as likely that Newt punked the media with his lavish praise for the Catholic, Northeastern Rick. He’s wagering that dog don’t hunt in South Carolina.

The southern-bred, religious fanatic Gingrich holds a full-house in a state like South Carolina. So, little did I imagine he would play the race card. Newt’s “food stamps president” line will go down as the Willie Horton ad of our generation. The guy who designed that ad, Lee Atwater, repented it on his death bed and asked for forgiveness. Maybe Newt can add that to his self-serving repentance tour. Don’t hold your breath.

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Nancy L. Cohen