by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Yikes, Mark. I’m not sure all of that is entirely fair to either the former speaker or history. And, despite my chat with Marvin, I’m actually not a big fan of all the retread. I doubt there is some big blackmail impeachment conspiracy, and it’s no secret Newt let people down back in the day — he lost his job because of it! He was humiliated and, by his own telling, has sought forgiveness and is immersed in an ongoing Christian conversion — even if he has not presented himself to every member of the 1990s Republican caucus to personally say mea maxima culpa. That’s the kind of hope and change I wholeheartedly endorse and am grateful for.

I happen to think Romney is a stronger candidate than Newt, as entertaining as Gingrich has been in the debates and despite what a clear communicator he can be and many other things I appreciate about him and his talents and contributions. But we do our political culture no favors by highlighting things that need not be highlighted (I say that to myself as much as anyone!) and being unwelcoming to converts. I am delighted by his comeback largely for that last point — because the grace of redemption can be a beautiful thing, win or lose a nomination. 

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