Newt Gingrich brought the audience to its feet with his comeback to CNN’s John King in the last of the South Carolina debates. Francis Beckwith thinks that Gingrich should have said something a bit different:
The Speaker is, of course, correct that “every person in here knows personal pain.” No one doubts that. But, in this case, the personal pain suffered by his ex-wife was inflicted by Gingrich. For this reason, the appropriate response for the Speaker should have been something like this, “Every person in here knows personal pain, just like the pain suffered by my ex-wife. And, I am ashamed to admit that I am the one who caused this pain. So, I don’t at all disparage her for what she has said about me. That’s the man I was: self-absorbed, uncaring, thinking myself as someone above the moral law. My conversion to Catholicism, and the absolution I received for my sins, was the first step on my way to becoming the man I ought to be.”
I would have been impressed by that answer, as opposed to the perhaps scripted indignation the former Speaker expressed. As Beckwith points out, the indignation is mostly about him and his ambition to be President. Thoughtful observers, who don’t just enjoy seeing someone turn the tables on the media (however richly they deserve it), would do well to ponder Beckwith’s post.