Newt won’t be able to dodge questions the whole campaign

Paul Schwietering
In an interesting innovation to the art of media-bashing, Newt Gingrich dragged his two adult daughters into the sordid details of his breakup with his second wife.

Apparently, Newt’s second wife has just published a book and mentions in the book that Gingrich had asked her to agree that their marriage should become an “open marriage.” What makes this a relevant question in Newt’s case is that the time span of his second marriage was when Newt first gained national prominence as one of the progenitors of the claim that the Republicans are the party of “family values.”

This is a line of b.s. that Republicans continue to spout to this day (when they are not too busy “hiking the Appalachian Trail”).

Accordingly, one of the moderators of a debate in South Carolina asked Gingrich if the allegation was true. Newt was evidently not man enough to answer this question on his own, so he dragged his daughters into the fracas, claiming they would state that his second wife’s allegations were not true. How his daughters would know if it were true or not Gingrich didn’t explain. One of his daughters was scheduled to appear on CBS Saturday, the other was scheduled to appear on MSNBC Saturday. Both of them cancelled.

In any event, Gingrich used the occasion in the debate to bash the moderator who asked the question and the media in general, to the wild applause of the far-right audience in South Carolina.

The tactic of dodging tough questioning from reporters by media-bashing has been a staple of Gingrich’s debate performances since the debates started last spring. It plays well with audiences of the extreme right, but it is beginning to wear thin with everyone else.

One would think that the reporters, who are only doing their jobs, could get an honest answer to their questions even if the candidate finds the questions uncomfortable or inconvenient.

Perhaps Gingrich’s problem is that he has spent too much time being interviewed on Fox “News.” Fox News has people who play reporters on TV, but no real reporters.

The amateur actors on Fox News who play the part of reporters do ask questions of the person being interviewed, but, if the individual being interviewed is a right-winger, those questions are “softball” questions.

If Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination, he will have to face real questions from real reporters much more frequently than he does now in order to have any chance to win. If that time comes, he will find that avoiding questions by engaging in media-bashing has a very short shelf-life with voters in a general election.

Paul Schwietering is a former Democratic state central committeeman. He lives in Union Township.