Getting Beyond Today’s Schadenfreude: Cain Dropping Out Leaves the Adulterer and the Mormon

It is time to get beyond the schadenfreude.  Oh, sure, it is a delight to see Herman Cain in denial over a 13 year “friendship,” so much that he is thinking of ending his campaign.  That’s not going to matter.  Sure, conservatives such as Hannity and Huckabee seemingly had no problem with the harrassment accusations against Herman Cain, but a consensual affair?  Heaven forfend!  So goes the twisted morality of the Republican extreme right. 

But Chris Cillizza is right to ask “who benefits?”  He claims it will be Newt, but I wonder.  Shouldn’t Cain’s affair remind everyone in the race about Newt’s affairs of the heart (horny patriot that he was) in the past, when each of his previous wives was going through a health crisis (cancer and multiple sclerosis)?  Should Gingrich’s current wife Callista get nervous every time she gets a sniffle?  Of course.  But it ain’t so simple that the headlines about Cain’s adultry is going to remind the self-identified evangelical Christian voters of Iowa and South Carolina (40% or the Republican electorate or so in each state) of Newt Gingrich’s fabled troubles with the seventh commandment. 

You see, I think in Newt’s case, because these voters are so desperate NOT to vote for the waffling Mormon, that they’ll forgive Newt, just as Rick Santorum has, and just as have a whole mess of pastors down in South Carolina, who couldn’t bring themselves to ask even one question about Newt Gingrich’s cheating past.  According to this article, it looks like Iowa evangelicals aren’t having trouble looking past Newt’s serial infidelities either.  Of course the Manchester Union Leader LOVES the Newtster!  Hmm. 

And, of course, I am gleeful.  To the great unwashed of Republican voters, flip flopping and being a Mormon might be a problem, but in the actual Presidential election adultry will be easier for Democrats and independents to ridicule.  Imagine the cartoon character Newt will make of himself in the general election.  Tiffany will disown him, women will flock to vote against him, and Newt will offend constituencies right and left as he campaigns.  Now THAT will be schadenfreuded!  But if Romney wins the nomination?  The evangelicals who don’t think Mormonism is anything but a cult will stay home from the polls.  And if they don’t dislike Mitt for his religious convictions, which are heartfelt and steadfast by all accounts, they’ll run from him because of his past abortion stance, or because of his past stances on healthcare and illegal aliens.  That’s some good schadenfreude in the making, too. 

Heck, maybe the Republicans will go for Ron Paul.  Won’t that be a hoot! 

Oh glory days! 



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