Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Grinch who trashed marriage

A sixteen year old boy begins a sexual relationship with his twenty-four year old teacher. He marries her three years later. As an adult he routinely lies about their early relationship, telling all who’d listen that they met when he was eighteen.

The boy becomes an educated man over fifteen years of marriage. He embarks on a risky, high-profile career. Then he meets someone else. He's now thirty-four years old. Instead of a wife eight years his senior, his new love is eight years younger than he. He asks this new woman to marry him after knowing her for just a few weeks, and before even telling his wife. Her notice arrives as divorce papers, served to her in a hospital bed, where she's  recuperating after cancer surgery. Cancer and divorce will leave her destitute.

The man discovers a confidant and professional ally in his second wife. She is a friend, advisor and coach all in one loyal spouse. His vaulting ambition is finally realized during their marriage. He achieves national fame and influence but his own hubris ultimately poisons the well of good fortune. He loses his job, is nearly bankrupted, suffers clinical depression and wallows in public displays of self-destructive behavior. She sticks with him through the worst of times and provides a modifying influence, laying the groundwork for his resurrection.

Then he meets someone else. This time it's a woman twenty-three years his junior. After eighteen-years of marriage he tells his second wife it's over – by telephone. She had been recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He behaves badly in the otherwise uncontested divorce proceedings. She remains loyal after the dust settles,  maintaining her silence about a very public figure.

Until now.

If this man was less known, our morality tale wouldn’t compel much consideration. Many middle-aged men have been known to treat their wives as disposable commodities. If this man were an ordinary politician the story would still suffer a dearth of uniqueness. However, the man in this story is an out-spoken, conservative defender of family values. He’s been a national champion of the conservative cause for three decades, a strident voice defending the sanctity of marriage.

And now he wants to be President of the United States.


Read the in-depth profile in Esquire.

Watch Colbert go to town.

1 comment:

  1. Gingrich won't ever be president, and he knows it. But he has to keep up the speculation, go through the motions, because he has to stay a player.

    He's got a good gig right now -- speaking engagements, political consulting contracts, the Village press corps following his every tweet -- but all of that rests on his staying in the game, being the intellectual of the party, and playing the will-he-or-won't-he game every four years.

    Newt won't run for president -- but it's essential to his future that we all thing he might.

    Palin's in exactly the same position, although I can't decide if she's bright enough to recognize it.