Friday, January 20, 2012

The View on Newt's Open Marriage

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Newt Gingrich's ex-wife Marianne has a supposed bombshell. She says back in the 1990s Newt wanted an open marriage. It becomes clear from listening to her that what Newt really wanted was to continue seeing his then-mistress Callista without getting a divorce from his then-wife Marianne.

But is that an open marriage? To me, that term implies an ongoing non-monogamous romantic relationship with one's spouse. Husband's who continue to support their wives financially and perhaps even socially while also keeping company with a mistress are doing something different.

Putting this in the best light for Newt, he gave his wife the option to stay married if that's what she wanted. Marianne wanted a divorce, which he gave her, and he married his longtime mistress. And a marriage, as they say, is always respectable.

Now here's where I'm going to engage in some speculation. One part of Marianne's bombshell was that Newt told her that Callista was down with the open marriage idea. If that's true, is she still down with it now that she is Newt's current wife? I mean, one reason you might have a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany's is to smooth over any jealousy issues from such an arrangement. Because nothing says I really love you more than an expensive trinket that can be taken straight to the pawn shop.

So, can we expect more questions to Newt on this subject? John King from CNN tried at the South Carolina debate last night and got booed for his trouble.

But let's parse Newt's denial:

"The story is false. Every personal friend that I have who knew us in that period says the story is false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false."
I think that proves too much. Marianne says she turned Newt down on the open marriage. So how would the personal friends know anything about there being an open marriage, if no one says there ever was one?

Here's the whole ABC interview:

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It's not news that Newt has gone through two divorces. The unasked question is not whether Newt Gingrich wanted an open marriage then but whether he is in one now and would be in one if he were elected President. Speculation aside, no evidence has been offered on that yet.

But don't worry too much about that. Back in December Newt made an unprecendented pledge that as President he would "uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others." So there will be no swingers night at the Gingrich White House. But if he loses the election, all promises are off.

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