Can Christians Forgive Newt?

Newt is quickly moving up in the polls, which means it is time to re-vet the longtime Washington politician.  That means its time to rehash Newt’s past.  Newt has come out saying that he has reconciled with God and has worked to put his family issues in the past.  The question is if that will be enough for the remnants of the Moral Majority and the Christian Right.

Newt may square up pretty well against Romney and Cain right now.  Cain is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal with three possible outcomes, only one of which can benefit him.  The first outcome, Cain slips up and is proven guilty.  This will end his Presidential ambitions.  Second outcome, there is no clear resolution and the Cain decision comes down to public opinion.  This could hurt Cain’s chances if Newt continues to emerge as a strong contender on ideas.  Third outcome, the facts come out and completely discredit Cain’s accusers.  The mere injustice of the attempt to destroy Cain could easily rocket him to the top of the Republican field as a martyr of the racist left.

Romney’s religious status may not be the nail in his coffin in a matchup with Newt.  While Romney’s Mormonism turns off many conservative Protestants, Newt’s Catholicism will have the same affect on that same small portion of conservative Christian Republicans.  Overall, Mormonism and Catholicism won’t change the score for either of them.  However, Romney’s fidelity and family life is a major point in his favor.

Conservative Christians can be a funny breed.  Morality and grace are a constant tension for Christians.  I John 1:9 says that if Christians confess their sins, Christ is faithful and just to forgive them.  Therefore, if Newt has truly confessed and repented of his infidelity and divorce, he is forgiven.

Can Christians forgive Newt?  Can they overcome his past?  The question Newt has been facing over and over as he rises in the polls is whether character matters.  Newt’s answer is pretty good.  Yes, character matters.  Yes his past has not demonstrated the character he wants to see in a President, but that past is 30 years ago.  Newt’s mention of himself as a grandfather drives home the point that he is much older, and much more mature.

Newt can win, but he has to win over social conservatives first.  This means Newt has to find forgiveness from more than just God.

Cain Falls Back on the “B” Word

In a 5pm news conference on Tuesday, Herman Cain addressed the sexual harassment charges against him by saying there were groups trying to keep him out of the white house for one key reason.  He is a Businessman.  He is not an establishment politician.

Cain once again resisted the temptation to play the race card and accuse his accusers of racism, even though it’s pretty obvious in some cases.  Yesterday Martin Bashir interviewed Truther Toure and Karen Finney on MSNBC who both referenced Herman Cain as a “sexually aggressive” black man towards white blonde women.  They basically warned that GOP’ers should keep their women away from the black man.  Amazingly, these racist comments on MSNBC have not received much replay.

Cain stared America in the face today and said he did not recognize Sharon Bailek.  This is a risky move, since hotel records and other travel records may be dug up to show that she was in Washington at the time, which will just add more doubt for Cain supporters.  However, for now Cain has bolstered his position by addressing the accusations head on and flatly denying them.  Of course, Clinton did the same thing.  But Clinton had the advantages of a compliant mainstream media and compliant witnesses like Monica Lewinsky who he could illegally coach.

Cain did not attempt to downplay true sexual harassment or assault.  He called such things very serious and mentioned that he had dealt with those issues with his employees in past occasions.  Cain also pointed out that Mitt Romney had not agreed with the accusations, but had simply spoken about the nature of the charges which Cain agreed with.  He handled the press conference very well and demonstrated the sort of political competence that many had alleged was missing from his campaign.

What Cain did today was restore “innocent until proven guilty” to his corner.  But if he is proven guilty, the ramifications will extend far beyond his 2012 primary race.  It will hurt his family and his career, but it could also hurt the entire Republican party.

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