In the debate last night the first question was directed at Newt Gingrich about the recent interview with his ex-wife. The main point of the interview was Gingrich wanted to have an open marriage with her and his now wife, Callista. Gingrich fired back at the moderator saying the question was entirely irrelevant and is tired of being viciously attacked by the liberal media. What is even weirder is the crowd cheered in agreement with him. I think they were cheering because he attacked the “evil and cunning” liberal media. But they missed the larger picture of the whole situation.
The Republican Party’s base is largely evangelical and reveres wholesome family values. This base is even more prevalent in a state like South Carolina, where the debate took place. Due to their values the base will not vote for a president who is pro-choice or believes gay people have a right to marriage. The base wants to know where candidates stand on moral issues. They think moral values are equally important or even more important than knowledge on things like the economy or foreign affairs. So with that said isn’t the idea of having an open marriage immoral by their standards. Surely a question on a candidate’s desire to practice polygamy is just as relevant as a candidate’s stance on gay marriage. Value voters should welcome either of those questions.
Therefore, it is confusing as to why the crowd and Gingrich were so appalled at question. The question was about morals, which is what the Republicans hail as one of if not the most important issue. The question was completely fair and the response by Gingrich and the agreement of the crowd is puzzling at best. At worst it is complete hypocrisy on the part of the Republican base.
Just a note: I do agree the debates should focus on things that are relevant to actual issues like the economy. With that said though if Republicans really feel that way then they should stop promoting values as such an important issue.