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Newt Gingrich: Sex, Lies, and Politics

Is infidelity okay, if we ask politely.

If you listen to one side of the media reports, Newt Gingrich is a philandering  womanizer who dumps any woman who stands in the way of his Manhood's  needs. If you listen to the other, he is an innocent victim of his ex-wife Marianne, a woman scorned, who is spreading malicious lies about him.

My guess is, Newt's heart is somewhere in the middle.  I'm not sure I can say the same for his libido.

Newt Gingrich

For thousands of years, the leaders of herds, packs, tribes, villages, cities, and nations have always been what is now known as the "Alpha Male."  Whether it be a gorilla or a politician, powerful leaders are often led by their penis. Now, now, before you jump to the conclusion that I am condoning extramarital affairs, hear me out. 

Evolutionary psychology states that the testosterone-laden urge to procreate or protect is genetically wired into the males of the species. Philosopher Ken Wilbur says in his book A Brief History of Everything. that there are only two major drives generated by testosterone: to "F*ck it or Kill it." Author Sean O'Reilly turns the phrase into the acronym: FIKI.  FIKI explains why men tend to be more impulsive than women, he argues. And of course, numerous studies indicate that men are much more likely to cheat than women.

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Obviously we are much more evolved than our cousin the Ape... not just because of our opposable thumbs, but because we have the ability to delay primal gratification out of a sense of what is right and fair. After all, when we marry, our promise is supposed to mean something.

Of course, this isn't Mr. Gingrich's first battle with an ex. Or a mistress. He was in a similar situation in the early 80's with his first wife, Jackie Battley. 

Jackie Battley Gingrich
She was in the hospital with cancer when he began discussions about the divorce, and six months after the divorce was final, Newt married Marianne Ginther, the mistress.

So, once Marianne became the new Mrs. Gingrich, there was a pretty good chance that there would be an opening for a new Mistress Gingrich. And that's where House of Representatives staffer Callista Bisek comes in. Here's a heads up for Marianne and mistresses everywhere: When you marry the man who is cheating on his wife with you, you're married to a man that cheats on his wife.

In Marianne's Nightline interview, she told Brian Ross that Newt   had requested an open marriage to be able to continue his affair with Bisek, and that she chose to leave Newt because she would not comply. Newt refutes that comment and said it was a slanderous lie.

But in a world of men who cheat and leave, isn't it refreshing to see that at least Newt asked? Not quite for permission mind you... but he asked nonetheless. Steven Colbert thinks so: "Here's the other thing that I don't think Newt Gingrich gets credit for," Colbert said. "A lot of politicians screw around on their wives, but he was enough of a gentleman to ask permission. That's a Southern gentleman. (Robert E.) Lee would have done it."

Of course, having sex with someone who isn't your spouse doesn't make you a bad leader. Even the great JFK had his mistress Marilyn Monroe sing Happy Birthday to him while his wife Jackie sat beside him. John Edwards, Herman Cain, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer... and myriad other politicians have had their wild oats sown by someone other than their wife. But when Newt is such a staunch champion of "family values", it is as hypocritical as a politician with an anti-gay platform being caught looking to score with young men.... Oh.... Wait.....

So, the question is: will we ever learn? Will we ever get it? Men that want to be the Head of the most powerful nation in the world are essentially modern day warriors, cavemen; tribal chiefs. It is their genetic duty to want to "populate their villages" with as many women as possible. So, what can we do? Simple: we hold our politicians accountable and demand honesty.

Mr. Gingrich, your South Carolina victory proves that your supporters are looking past the personal. But remember two things:

1: You haven't heard the end of this controversy. It's not helping your cause to have the children from your first wife say your second wife is lying about your third wife.

2: This country tends to forgive infidelity, but it most certainly will not forgive dishonesty.

Dale Archer, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller, Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

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