A very un-Weiner problem arises as Newt’s campaign staff quits “in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich, the candidate’s wife since 2000.”
The partisan contrast is striking. The Gingrich rebellion recalls Fred Thompson’s 2008 implosion when interference by his young spouse (“the Jeri factor”) brought down his listless campaign, and even Rudy Giuliani, now poised for 2012, back then interrupted stump speeches to take cell calls from the third wife he had met at a cigar bar.
Democrats, to judge by Weiner and the man who officiated at his wedding, Bill Clinton, are susceptible to quickie extramarital thrills, while Republicans are more likely to be henpecked by trophy wives.
According to GOP insiders, the “last straw” for Newt’s staff was “Gingrich’s decision to go on a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean...His advisers urged him not to go and take so much time from a campaign that was already in trouble. But his wife wanted him to go and she won the argument.”
This kind of dustup, along with those huge jewelry bills from Tiffany’s, may set conservative Republicans wondering about Gingrich’s domestic spending priorities for the nation.
But marital misbehavior may fade into the background if 2012 turns out to be Obama vs. Romney or some other Republican straight arrow, and there are even signs that time dampens all those unseemly passions.
Now, we learn that Bill Clinton is still seeking dinner dates, not for romance, but to pay off Hillary’s remaining 2008 campaign debts. There can be happy endings for political couples after all.
Update: Gingrich insists he will remain in the race, promising the “campaign begins anew” with a speech in Los Angeles Sunday night. “Going forward,” says a spokesman, “we’re going to build a strategy around Newt, rather than fit Newt into a strategy.” A moat around Mrs. Gingrich might also help.