What Newt Gingrich you get – the seemingly reasonable conservative commentator or the egotistical bomb-throwing partisan – seems to be determined by whether or not there is an election on the horizon.
When he is not running for office and there are no elections at stake, Gingrich likes to present himself as a reasonable, rational conservative who is attuned to reality, leading to comments like this new one where he says the GOP has to adjust to changing opinions on marriage equality:
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state” — the latter being acceptable.
“I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with,” he said, noting that the debate’s dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. “It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.”
Now compare that to the bomb-throwing Gingrich who ran for president last year and did all he could to gin up Religious Right support for his campaign by calling for a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the grounds that it is a perfect example of “the rise of paganism” and a “fundamental violation of our civilization”:
So you’ll have to forgive us if we’re a bit skeptical of this apparent change of heart, coming from a thrice-married serial adulterer who ran for president as a champion of traditional marriage and family values.