I’m sitting here watching the GOP Final Four debate. Here are some brief ethics observation on a lively day in the race:
- At the opening gun, Newt Gingrich gave a bravura performance of indignation personified when moderator John King asked him about the looming ABC interview of his ex-wife, Marianne, in which she impugns Newt’s character and claims that he asked her to agree to an “open marriage.” He told King it was a despicable question and said that the issue was not worthy of mention. Good act, but of course the question of character is relevant, and of course Gingrich, who has none, wouldn’t think so.
- I learned something today: both Romney’s wife and Marianne were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Newt divorced wife #2 after her diagnosis. Romney has continued to support his spouse in sickness and in health, like the marriage vows pledge. I’m sure Newt thinks the contrast is irrelevant too. I don’t.
- Gov. Rick Perry, who in a previous debate said of Newt, correctly, that a man who would cheat on his wife would cheat on his business partner, withdrew from the race today. Then he endorsed Gingrich, saying that, as a Christian, he believes in redemption, and that nobody is perfect. From this we learn that 1) as a Christian, Perry doesn’t understand redemption, which requires confession, remorse and amends, 2) he apparently believes someone who would cheat his business partner should be trusted to be President of the United States, 3) he doesn’t recognize the difference between normal levels of imperfection and dangerous untrustworthiness, and 4) Perry is a hypocrite, and not very bright. But we knew that already. Good riddance.
- Weeks after its caucuses, Iowa announced today that, “OOPS! Rick Santorum won, not Romney!” This comes after Mitt Romney rode the momentum of his supposed win in Iowa to another victory in New Hampshire that pretty well ended Santorum’s brief surge. Even the current corrected result from Iowa is half-baked, because a couple of the precincts still haven’t got their counts straight. Iowa, in other words, is a disgrace. It is absurd enough that this quirky state has such a disproportional effect on the presidential nomination process; now we know that it can’t even run its own weird caucus system competently enough to get an accurate result. All that time, all that money spent, all those debates, all that media coverage, all the blather, and Iowa tells America that the wrong candidate won, and can’t correct its mistake for weeks. Now both parties should tell Iowa that its candidates will skip the caucuses in the future. The state’s lack of responsibility and competence is unacceptable, and it is neither fair nor right that it should have the critical role of being the first state in the primary process when it can’t fulfill that role effectively.