Today I saw two actions by political candidates that were examples of gutsy and important talk.
First Newt Gingrich. He has really put his foot in his mouth this week on the Ryan plan but he has done something rather solid on a different issue:
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says he has sought God’s forgiveness for his personal failings and hopes that evangelical voters take time to talk to him about his two divorces and his affair with the woman who is now his third wife.
His chances of winning the nomination of a party dominated by religious conservatives may depend on it.
“I think people have to look at me, ask tough questions, then render judgment,” the former House speaker told The Associated Press on Monday during his first Iowa trip as a declared presidential candidate. “I have made mistakes in my life. I have had to go to God to ask for forgiveness and seek reconciliation.”
“It would be easier in life to skip all this,” he added. “But if citizenship requires these kinds of conversations, these conversations are worth having.”
I think that it’s important to air this out, it’s not going to be pretty or pleasant but it has to be done. Then again considering the headlines he’s getting now it might be an easier topic with primary voters. Forgiving sins in a Christian obligation, forgiving ideological differences is not. Still a willingness to face this music is a sign of spiritual growth.
Meanwhile Herman Cain says the forbidden words for political candidates. I don’t know:
Ever since the South Carolina Republican presidential debate, reporters have continued to challenge me for not having a specific plan for our nation’s involvement in Afghanistan. They continue to think that if you are running for president then you must have an answer for everything. I don’t! A real leader has the right questions for everything.
When asked about what I would do about our involvement in the war in Afghanistan during the debate, I answered by asking the questions that should have been asked before we got involved many years ago. What is our mission? How does it serve our interest? Is there a path to victory? If not, then what is our exit strategy?
I ask these questions instead of “shooting from the lip” because there is obviously a lot of classified information to which I do not have access. There are dozens of experts and military leaders I would need advice from before I could make an informed decision about a real clear plan for the USA’s involvement in Afghanistan.
Cain is of course exactly right, by ceding this ground he takes a risk but also shows political courage. It takes a person very comfortable in their own skin to be able to admit ignorance on a subject, but ignorance can be cured by information and that’s a lot better than flying blind.