Just because I criticized various media outlets — and others — who misrepresented Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s exchange with a gay Iowa Democrat (who, by his own logic, should be a big supporter of former Vice President Dick Cheney) does not mean I support the candidate.
Although I have impressed with how the former Speaker has conducted himself in debates and with tendentious reporters, I have a number of concerns about his record and his temperament. Not just that, he often makes some rather unusual — and unnecessarily polarizing — statements.
For example, in the exchange which excited all the hullabaloo today, he could have told his partisan interlocutor that he should consider all the stands a candidate has taken rather than focusing on just one in making up his mind, that a voter will find that he will disagree with each candidate on at least one issue.
When he recently expressed his opposition to gay marriage, he said:
I believe that marriage is between a man and woman. . . . It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know.
He could have simply left off at the word, “history”, but to call a debate that has been going on for at least a decade a “temporary aberration” is simply absurd. And to contend that the notion “fundamentally goes against everything we know” suggests a lack of imagination on the issue.
Now, to be sure, some radical advocates of gay marriage do want to destroy the institution, but most gay couples who have sought state recognition of their unions as marriages in jurisdictions which allow them to do so share the same values — and aspirations — of straight couples who do the same. Many elect monogamy. (Would be nice, of course, if gay marriage advocates featured such couples and promoted the values they incorporate into their unions — and criticized those who want to destroy the institution.)
Well, his statement may have helped Newt secure the endorsement of “Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of American Family Association“.
All that said, gay marriage is only one among a great variety of issues of concern in the upcoming election. It’s not just Gingrich’s opposition to state recognition of such unions which concerns me, but the way he has expressed that opposition.
And that expression is one of the many things which has prevented me from elevating the former Speaker to the list of candidates I would consider voting for several months hence in the California primary.