Victor Davis Hanson
By now, every voter knows that Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer, said Victor Davis Hanson. Critics say that his personal moral failings would make Gingrich a less trustworthy, more erratic leader than the faithful Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. But history suggests otherwise.
Many of history’s greatest leaders cheated on their wives: Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, and Martin Luther King Jr., to name just three. The philandering Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt certainly were more effective presidents than loyal husbands Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. And New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was wooing his third wife—while still married to wife No. 2—when 9/11 occurred. “Yet he proved steady and reliable in a way mayors more monogamous have not during lesser disasters.”
The truth is that so many factors are crucial to skilled leadership that it’s “impossible to isolate one trait—even one as critical as fidelity—as an absolute barometer of future success.” So when conservative voters favor Gingrich, they’re not endorsing his marital history. They’re acknowledging it matters less than how he’d govern