Prior to Donald Trump’s entry into politics, the two Republicans that concerned me the most were Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich. That wasn’t simply based on the kind of havoc they created while in office. As a recovering therapist, it seemed clear to me that both men were sociopaths – the most dangerous mental health issue for anyone with power. I would now add Tom Cotton to the list. But that’s a story for another day.
Of course, Trump raised the stakes on what Republicans were willing to tolerate when it comes to mental health issues. More recently, it has been interesting to watch as Liz Cheney (certainly her father’s daughter) broke ranks and is calling Trump out on his attempted coup. But Gingrich has becomes a total Trump enabler.
During an appearance on Fox News Monday night, Gingrich once again ramped up the rhetoric when he called Biden the most dangerous president since James Buchanan – who set the stage for the Civil War. Incendiary enough for ya? He went on to say this about “the left:”
You have to start with the notion that these are people who need therapy. Their level of anger — I am serious. We try to deal with this as though it’s a political problem. It’s not a political problem. It’s a mental health problem. These people are crazy.
OK. So Gingrich wants to talk about people with mental health problems. I’m here to oblige.
Back in August of 2010, Esquire published a long expose on Gingrich that mostly featured interviews with Marianne Gingrich, his second wife of 16 years. At the end of the article, Marianne talked about the weekend Newt told her he was having an affair (with his current wife).
He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.
He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.
The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”
“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
Those remarks from Gingrich represent classic sociopathy – assuming you are so exceptional that the rules don’t apply.
Then in 2011, when Gingrich was preparing to run for president, he was confronted with the facts about his infidelity. Here’s what he said:
There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.
First, he blames his moral failings on his patriotism. Unbelievable! But then, notice the passive voice of “things happened in my life.” He literally couldn’t say that he – Newt Gingrich – did things that weren’t appropriate. The inability to own personal responsibility is yet another hallmark of sociopathy.
There was, of course, this moment in 1995 when Gingrich turned a personal pique into a national crisis:
So excuse me if I reject any notion that Newt Gingrich is one to talk about people with mental health problems. Instead, his claims will be added to the overflowing vault of Republican projection.