2012 Election | Chaz Bono | FOX News | Keith Ablow | Newt Gingrich

Fox Psychiatrist On Newt Gingrich: Infidelity A Sign Of Awesomeness

Picture 23South Carolina's big primary is today, and Newt Gingrich is the most talked about man in America. He's been up, he's been down, and then he was up and then down and now up again, and the caprices of fate have given some Newtwatchers cognitive whiplash.

Dr. Keith Ablow is the most recent and obvious example. He's a pop psychiatrist on retainer with FOX News, and so devoted is he to to unraveling the mysteries of the human mind that one of his three tattoos features hands prying open a man's skull. One week ago, before his reason was destroyed by presidential politics, Dr. Ablow published a brief, rather murky essay at Foxnews.com entitled "America is drunk," in which he opined:

My theory is that Americans are on a flight from reality. Faced with painful facts—including the precarious state of the economy, the gathering storm represented by militant Muslims, in general, and Iran, in particular, the crumbling state of marriage in this country, the fact that our borders are being overrun, and the fact that our health care insurance system is in shambles (to name just a smattering of the troubles we desperately need to address)—we as a nation are drinking, drugging, gambling, smoking, Facebooking, YouTubing, Marijuaning, Kardashianing, Adderalling, Bono-ing (as in thinking of Chaz’s sad flight from reality as good), Prozacking, Twittering, and Sexting ourselves into oblivion.

The fact that we are doing this as a culture is the single most ominous psychological trend we have ever faced. I am not exaggerating. [Emphasis added.]

But now Dr. Ablow's changed his mind about the marriage thing, at least when it comes to Newt Gingrich. In an article published yesterday -- just five days after he declared the "crumbling state of marriage in our culture" a harbinger of the "single most ominous psychological trend we have ever faced" -- Dr. Ablow explained that Newt Gingrich's infidelities make him more qualified for the presidency than his competitors:

I want to be coldly analytical, not moralize, here. I want to tell you what Mr. Gingrich’s behavior could mean for the country, not for the future of his current marriage. So, here’s what one interested in making America stronger can reasonably conclude—psychologically—from Mr. Gingrich’s behavior during his three marriages:

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married.

3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible.

Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.

4) Two women—Mr. Gingrich’s first two wives—have sat down with him while he delivered to them incredibly painful truths: that he no longer loved them as he did before, that he had fallen in love with other women and that he needed to follow his heart, despite the great price he would pay financially and the risk he would be taking with his reputation.

Conclusion: I can only hope Mr. Gingrich will be as direct and unsparing with the Congress, the American people and our allies. If this nation must now move with conviction in the direction of its heart, Newt Gingrich is obviously no stranger to that journey.

... So, as far as I can tell, judging from the psychological data, we have only one real risk to America from his marital history if Newt Gingrich were to become president: We would need to worry that another nation, perhaps a little younger than ours, would be so taken by Mr. Gingrich that it would seduce him into marrying it and becoming its president. And I think that is exceedingly unlikely.

He goes on and on, but his message can be summed up as: 1) Newt Gingrich is awesome; and 2) therefore Newt's divorces must reflect his awesomeness; and 3) since even the Newt's divorces reflect his awesomeness, then 4) Newt Gingrich must be awesome. Dr. Ablow's just begging the question, and as a psychiatrist he ought to know it. If Newt had been a faithful husband, Dr. Ablow would be just as keen to interpret his fidelity as a valid qualification for the presidency. And if Newt was asexual, Dr. Ablow would be praising the man's monastic devotion to work. With this kind of reasoning, literally nothing could falsify Dr. Ablow's initial assumption.

One could look at the questionable grammar of Dr. Ablow's screeds (as in the first line of the second excerpt) or their wonky formatting (such as Dr. Ablow's switch from a bullet point format to an evidence/conclusion format midway through the above list) and conclude that he's a bit of an idiot. Except it's not just him. In South Carolina, a lot of people are thinking this way -- if the polls have it right, the trad-fam-loving Republicans of South Carolina are about to hand Newt Gingrich an enormous victory. It's Saturday, January 21st, one month into the primaries, and everyone's a little mad.


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  1. @Barbara Sexually speaking, yes. But we all know that women do not have the kind of biological drive to "spread the seed" as widely as possible--which is what drives men to want to have many sexual partners. And we all also know that women in this culture already have emotional intimacy with each other of the sort that men are not allowed to have.

    So the rules of this society when it comes to monogamy, both sexual and emotional, are all in women's favor rather than men's.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 21, 2012 11:14:47 AM

  2. I don't think the issue is about being "faithful" as much as it is about honesty, trustworthiness, betrayal, entitlement and inflated self-importance, contempt for others, and at the end of it all, sheer hypocrisy. When somebody has a proven record of treating other people--including his wives, of all people--like trash, how can we expect him to treat anybody else?

    Posted by: John B. | Jan 21, 2012 11:16:44 AM

  3. HUH ???? I think this guy would try and justify Hitler as being a hero of the Jewish cause because w/o Hitler the Jewish state of Israel would not exist. This man could be dangerous if anyone thought his reasoning is logical and unfortunately there are the extremist on the right that do.

    Posted by: Jeff Justus | Jan 21, 2012 11:18:46 AM

  4. @John B So how does Bill Clinton differ from Newt Gingrich with regard to all the qualities you mentioned?

    Not defending Gingrich by any means, but those who would attack him for the same things they let slide with a progressive or a Democrat are just being as obviously partisan and unprincipled as the clown who is the subject of this piece.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 21, 2012 11:20:08 AM

  5. Rick:

    The defenders of Bill Clinton do not claim that his extra-marital dalliances are signs of his moral or personal superiority.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jan 21, 2012 11:37:37 AM

  6. Robots do what they're told to do.

    Posted by: kyle Michel Sullivan | Jan 21, 2012 11:40:03 AM

  7. RICK, of course you're defending Gingrich. No one here would care about how many women he was diddling at the same time if he wasn't campaigning on so-called family values and lecturing others on their morality. Wasn't he one of the key Republicans calling for the impeachment of Clinton while (as we now know) he was cheating on one of his wives?

    Posted by: RJ | Jan 21, 2012 11:43:42 AM

  8. "Not defending Gingrich by any means"

    Just by any means necessary, "Rick."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 21, 2012 11:51:39 AM

  9. David, you are too clever to still be watching Olberman.

    Posted by: Max | Jan 21, 2012 11:58:36 AM

  10. "as a psychiatrist he ought to know it" Uh, really? Psychiatry is a pseudo-science if there ever was one. At best, some patients get good advice from their shrinks. Many others end up worse than they were to begin with (witness the psychiatric quacks who've claimed the ability to "cure" homosexuality over the years). Asking a psychiatrist for insight into sexual psychology is like asking a member of the Flat Earth Society about geography.

    Posted by: jomicur | Jan 21, 2012 12:10:13 PM

  11. Wow, Really?? I've had more affairs than I care to admit to here. I'm sure I could have married several of those women over the years. Just because several women love you while you're married to another woman says to me, he was CHEATING and BREAKING PROMISES to TWO women that he was supposed to love more than anyone except for God and his own children. Newt has and is going to promise us things over the next 9 or 10 months. I simply cannot believe this guy. One affair and broken marriage is one thing. You know, they got married young it was a mistake, and they grew apart. He didn't do this ONCE, he did it TWICE.

    Posted by: Chris | Jan 21, 2012 12:10:18 PM

  12. David Ernstein, Your comments are based on what evidence regarding gay men and their infidelity and Newt, it seems you are making a huge leap with no evidence.

    Rick, You state most presidents have cheated on their wives while in the White House and then mention JFK and Clinton. In addition to the two mentioned who are the others, we have heard stories about a few, DDE and FDR but who are the others that comprise the group you claim?

    Posted by: lk | Jan 21, 2012 12:17:42 PM

  13. If ever there was proof that conservatism is a mental illness, Ablow most certainly proves the absolute derangement of the American far right where any absurdity, even if obviously hypocritical, is justifiable. Newt Gingrich is a dictator waiting, how anyone can support such a vile and ethically challenged man is beyond me but what really appalls me is that he believes that as president he can disregard any Supreme Court ruling with which he disagrees. He also has stated during this campaign that he can send the capitol police to arrest any Federal judge that in his mind reaches a decision that is anti-constitutional.

    Posted by: Charles Lemos | Jan 21, 2012 12:44:52 PM

  14. RICK - still an idiot. Still missing the point. There is none so blind...

    Posted by: TJ | Jan 21, 2012 12:57:00 PM

  15. "Eeeh. What a maroon."

    Posted by: Bruce | Jan 21, 2012 1:11:45 PM

  16. I agree...there are no words (jaw on floor).
    He needs his license stripped (seriously)... before he hurts more people.

    Posted by: anthony | Jan 21, 2012 1:14:07 PM

  17. @Rick, you must be a mind reader to know what I think of Bill Clinton, given that I haven't said anything about him. But why on earth should I need to, to point out what scum Gingrich is?

    Posted by: John B. | Jan 21, 2012 1:23:17 PM

  18. @Jomicur: there are a few illogical idiots in EVERY profession that exist, certainly not just in psychiatry. I sometimes marvel at the fact that people like Keith Ablow or Laura Schlessinger managed to get through graduate school. But then I also recall the odd con artist who went to university with me. One would take any essay his older sister had gotten a good grade on and get someone else to retype it with his name on it in exchange for some pizza (He didn't know how to type). Then he'd hand it in as his own, not even having read the project he was handing in. But he was charming, charismatic and handsome, so somehow he'd get away with it every time.
    The profession of psychiatry OVERWHELMINGLY rejects a whole lot of the ideas that this Faux News quack purports to be good science.
    He's like a geologist who graduated from Oral Roberts University thinking the earth is 4000 years old and dinosaur bones were put on earth to fool us.
    No legitimate news organization would specifically seek out commentators so opposed by the science of their own profession to act as "experts.". This is a Faux News problem, not some kind of trend among psychiatrists.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jan 21, 2012 1:49:21 PM

  19. He's a joke but I think "this part" and only "this part" rings true in my travels across the US:

    My theory is that Americans are on a flight from reality. Faced with painful facts—including the precarious state of the economy, the gathering storm represented by militant Muslims, in general, and Iran, in particular, the crumbling state of marriage in this country, the fact that our borders are being overrun, and the fact that our health care insurance system is in shambles (to name just a smattering of the troubles we desperately need to address)—we as a nation are drinking, drugging, gambling, smoking, Facebooking, YouTubing, Marijuaning, Kardashianing, Adderalling, Bono-ing (as in thinking of Chaz’s sad flight from reality as good), Prozacking, Twittering, and Sexting ourselves into oblivion.

    I couldn't agree more.

    Posted by: Mitchell | Jan 21, 2012 1:59:20 PM

  20. @Rick/Jason: You were obviously brought up in a sexist and homophobic household and community that fed you all kinds of lines about what me should be and what women should be, and all kinds of lies about what those wicked homosexuals do and how they think and what they want, blah, blah, blah.
    Rather than rise above that indoctrination to be your own person, you internalized the homophobia, became what they told you you were, and now project the blame for your own choices onto the "gay culture."

    I've been faithful to my man since the day I met him 6 years ago. I don't do drugs. I've never to a sex club, and if I go to a sauna, it's probably with my straight friends after shooting some baskets or swimming, where we chat and relax and then go get a healthy dinner.

    Your projection of your shame about your own choices onto everyone but yourself is as bad as Gingrich's blaming committed gay couples for destroying his heterosexual marriage-after-marriage-after-marriage.

    As for Bill Clinton: As Brandon said, None of us made the absurd point that Lewinski's desire to have his penis means he's more desirable as a president. Unlike Gingrich, not only did both Clinton's remain devoted to their commitment to each other after the scandal blew over, but also Bill Clinton never meddled in our relationships. Unlike Gingrich, he didn't blame gay people for anything. Unlike Gingrich, Clinton didn't stand up in congress pointing his finger at other people saying they should lose their job because of personal sexual infidelities.
    These two men's cases are not remotely similar.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jan 21, 2012 2:14:39 PM

  21. This is from a transcript of America's Nightly Scorecard, a Fox show. Eight months ago Gingrich's cheating could not predict how he would behave as president. I'm not aware of any data on infidelity and job performance that has been released since May 17, 2011 that would allow Ablow to make his more recent prediction.

    Oh, and "Being a hypocrite is a problem," Ablow said. Indeed. I think Mr. Ablow may have that problem as well.

    May 17, 2011 Tuesday


    JARRETT: You know, Dr. Keith, let me go to you because there`s something else and it`s right up your alley. You know, Gingrich has been accused of being a serial philanderer, cheated on his first wife, second wife, he`s on his third wife now and he blames it all on the American people he was working so hard for us, that that`s why he cheated on his wives. Is that too big of a skeleton in his closet?

    DR. KEITH ABLOW, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Is that too big of a skeleton in his closet? I guess that`s up to the American people but it shouldn`t be. There is absolutely no data, I`m telling you, I don`t believe that the particulars of how you behave in your marriage as to your fidelity predict your ability to lead, predict your loyalty to the country or predict anything else upon which Americans would want to vote. So, they may have opinions about it and feelings about it but it`s just that. It`s just that they`re mad at him. It has nothing to do with whether the person would make a good President.

    JARRETT: Well, he was never a very -- Dr. Keith, he was never a very likable guy, I must say, even his daughter said nobody would accuse him of ever being fun and sort of nice.

    COLMES: If you`re busy impeaching the President for having sex and -- and you do it with someone that`s not his wife and then you`re oh, oh, let me just --


    COLMES: -- you`re a values guy and you`re promoting so-called family values and you`re doing that, you do have a political problem.

    CROWLEY: Well -- well, here`s the bigger point.

    ABLOW: Being a hypocrite is a problem.

    Posted by: Duncan Osborne | Jan 21, 2012 2:35:49 PM

  22. Psychobabbler for hire.

    Posted by: Vi Agara | Jan 21, 2012 2:38:10 PM

  23. @ Rick: oh, why don't you just DIAF already.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Jan 21, 2012 2:39:10 PM

  24. @RJ So Gingrich is a hypocrite....and Clinton was a liar. Is one supposedly better than the other?

    And just for the record, Bill Clinton was the President who signed DOMA into law.....Get it? Mr. Never-saw-a-pu$$y-I-didn't-like had the gall to sign a bill "sanctifying" marriage as being between one man and one woman.....only to change his tune once he was safely out of office and had nothing to lose politically any more by taking the positions he did.

    Such a courageous and principled man, that.

    @LK Bush I and Nixon were widely rumored to have had affairs with their secretaries.....Reagan seems to be the only President who did not "cheat"--of course, he was also the only one to have been divorced

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 21, 2012 3:00:28 PM

  25. If I remember correctly, it's considered unethical for psychiatrists to diagnose someone they've never personally met and had sessions with. Ablow's nonsense seems to me to be crossing the line into unethical territory.

    Posted by: Bear | Jan 21, 2012 3:07:16 PM

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