Political polarization is nothing new to politics. It has helped defined Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Hillary Clinton, but it’s not reserved for women–take a look at Newt Gingrich.
He’s been divorced twice and had an affair with a former congressional aide who is now his third wife. His career in Congress is memorable for the federal government shutdown, his censure and the loss of Republican seats in the House, and his resignation on ethics charges. Many will remember his Contract with America and his 100-day honeymoon during the Clinton administration.
But that was decades ago, and we thought it was over for Newt, that he was busy focusing on his high-priced consultancy business, so it came as a shock when he decided to run for the 2012 Presidential nomination. For a long time, he couldn’t gain any traction, but now he’s running neck to neck with Mitt Romney, the perennial candidate–make that two perennial candidates.
Most candidates struggle with name recognition, but this is not something about which Newt needs to be concerned–many people know him too well. What remains to be seen is whether the right-wing Tea Party types can overlook his indiscretions and low moral fiber and vote for him. He professes to have found the Lord and turned his life around, but will that be enough to convince conservative Tea Party voters that it is he who should be leading the country out of the recession and the foreign policy entanglements that have brought us to our knees. We’ll see.