As I've said before on here I have not picked a horse in this race. Several of the candidates have different benefits and drawbacks making most acceptable to me. The only exceptions to that in my mind are Paul and Bachmann.
But the topic of Newt is coming up a lot more on Redstate as well as his previous personal and political mistakes. Well I am probably one of the very few that was closely following Newt back when those mistakes occurred. Why was I following Newt? Because during off years I have a habit of watching the speeches and comments of conservatives that are on the "cutting edge" of policy and argument. For example: I listen to all of Christie's speeches because he has some very innovative ways of explaining things to people to get them on his side of issues. I listen to and read everything Paul Ryan puts out there because his innovative ways of approaching policy. Well this also meant that over the last 8 years I've listened to/watched about 120 speeches from Newt, read dozens of articles about different topics, read 3 books, watched 2 debates(before this cycle), etc.
So I'm in a unique spot to tell you exactly what was going on with Newt when he made each of these mistakes. Now in practically all of the cases, I wholeheartedly did not agree with Newt's decisions, but at least I understood why he did them.
He had them in the late 90s. There is no question about it. And he's admitted to them. The engaging in them does show a weakness in his character and everybody that brings that up is correct in pointing that out.
I can say that from sources close to the family he does really love Callista, and that she is a big part of his life today. Apparently at least in the case of his first marriage many of Newt's relatives, friends, and even parents were rooting for the marriage fail because they really didn't like her. In the case of Callista the opposite is true.
Also, I haven't been able to track it down lately, but about 2-3 years ago Newt came on Dobson's Focus on the Family program. James asked him about the affairs. Newt had a moment where instead of being the confident focused man he usually is, his voice became broken and sounded like he was almost on the verge of crying and said something like "There have been times in my life where I had no choice, but to get down on my knees and beg God to forgive the things I've done that I have trouble forgiving myself for." Based on how that went, I find it extremely doubtful that anybody could fake that.
Still though he should have never had an affair on his wife. He should have broke it off before ever thinking of engaging in that behavior. And it is a real sign of his weakness in character.
The 1998 House Losses
The common story of what happened that year is so far off the mark I have no idea how it continues to be peddled today. In 1998 after Lewinsky broke a few in the house leadership had come to find out about Newt's own infidelity. And that didn't work real well considering they(including the NRCC chair) wanted to run on the Lewinsky scandal for the upcoming midterms.
Newt didn't agree with the approach. He went to the rest of the leadership and said that the GOP couldn't only run on Lewinsky and instead had to develop an even bolder reform package for that years elections. The rest of leadership(including the NRCC chair) told him to sit down and shut up because they wanted to run only on Lewinsky and they didn't want him ruining it for them.
In 1998 the house lost seats and those same people that told Newt to "shut up" turned around and said that it was all Newt's idea to run solely on Lewinsky. The republicans in the house believed them and then installed the people that just screwed up into leadership. Today the story is still told that it was Newt's fault they lost in 98.
The Hospital Bed Divorce Papers
Just a flat out lie. Newt's daughter who was their that day has said that the divorce was never brought up. Newt's wife went in for minor surgery to remove, I believe, a tiny amount of malignant cancer. Newt and the family came to be supportive even though Newt's wife had asked for the divorce a couple months prior when Newt told her about the affair.
I had probably heard at least 15 speeches and a debate from Newt about the environment before he decided to appear on that couch. I didn't agree with his thinking in the speeches and I didn't agree with the decision to join Pelosi on the couch.
But this was Newt's rationale that he had delivered numerous times before that commercial ever aired: Newt believed that best course of action of the GOP was to not completely cede environmental issues to the Dems and use the issue to make progress on what we cared about. So he floated two proposals. One is that companies would get 100% expensing of all factories, plants, equipment, etc. if it was a replacement of one that was less energy efficient(which is practically always true) and that is a pretty decent proposal. The other was to wipe out the EPA as a litigating and regulating body and convert its budget to one that issues "prizes" for technology that is an improvement environmentally. I agreed with the first part, but not the 2nd. But even I would agree that the whole solution was better than the current mess.
Either way, Newt was wrong to try to use global warming to get more conservative proposals through because it only gives moral support to those that believe in man made global warming. He was wrong to show up on that couch because he should have known that it would only benefit the left, and not lead to anybody reading his ideas anyway. It was a complete mistake, and today he would agree it was mistake and that he was naive to think that showing up on a couch in a commercial would lead people to looking at his conservative proposals.
I'm pretty sure Newt's endorsement of Scozzafava was because of a phone call he received from Chairman Steele(the two are friends). Newt came out and endorsed Dede and said something along the lines of this as his reason why: "Since I believe in individual districts right to choose their own candidate I don't support national organizations coming in trying to over power the will of the people within a district"(or something like that). Well if that argument was actually true I would agree with Newt, but it wasn't.
I believe it was Dick Armey that tracked down Newt about 4 days later and showed him Dede's record and the method that was used to select her(not even remotely close to a primary, nor the will of the people). Newt came out and said oops, I'm really sorry. I didn't realize that this liberal women was selected by a few GOP country chairs pretty much behind closed doors. I retract my endorsement. But people remember the mistake not the reason nor the apology.
"Right-Wing Social Engineering"
Now that was just stupid on his part. I really, really like Paul Ryan and I almost wanted to punch him for what he said. Now Newt would tell you over the last decade that he believes more in selling conservative ideas to the public and then implementing them much more than just enacting them while ignoring the people. I agree with that sentiment. It is clear that he had that concept in his mind when he made those stupid remarks. That rationale doesn't excuse those remarks, but you can at least understand where he was coming from. But ultimately everybody was right for calling him out on saying something so pathetic.
Odds are Newt still wont be the nominee. While he does have a slim shot at pulling it off, its a very steep hill to climb.
But for those that were curious about the back story behind some of these dumb decisions, I hope you find this informative.