Reasonable Nuts

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The politics of marriage... and divorce

ONE facet of the current spate of politicians seeking the Presidency - a facet which doesn't much get the light of day is marriage, namely the candidates' personal choices concerning marriage. I thought I'd do a little investigation, see not what the candidates say about marriage, but what they do. Here are the candidates, followed by their marriages.

First, the Republicans:

  • Rudy Giuliani: 3 - Particularly interesting, as his first marriage of 15 years was annulled by the Catholic church. Given reason: they were second cousins. Weak. No kids, at least. Second marriage (of 18 years) ended after an affair. 2 kids this time. His son doesn't think too highly of him as a father.

  • Newt Gingrich: 3 - First marriage, 18 years. Much reported that he served divorce papers on her while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. 2 daughters. Second marriage, 18 years. No kids. Third wife is 23 years his junior.

  • John McCain: 2 - First marriage, 15 years. Second, 26 years. Current wife is almost 20 years his junior. Just the facts. Draw your own conclusions. I am slower to comment on McCain due to his having lived through stresses I cannot imagine (6 years in a North Vietnamese prison). 7 kids (2 step, 1 adopted).

  • Mitt Romney: 1 - married 39 years. Wow. 5 kids.

  • Sam Brownback: 1 - married 20+ years. 5 kids (2 adopted).

  • Tom Tancredo: 1 - married 30 years. 2 kids.

The Democrats:

  • Hillary Clinton: 1 - married 32 years. Happily? Not the point of this exercise. Say what you will about the Clintons, they have remained married. 1 kid.

  • Barack Obama: 1 - married 15 years. 2 kids.

  • John Edwards: 1 - married 30 years. From everything I've seen, they appear to love one another profusely. 4 kids (1 dec.).

  • Al Gore: 1 - married 37 years. As for his affections for his wife, we all remember that kiss from the 2000 campaign. 4 kids.

  • Bill Richardson: 1 - married 33 years. No kids.

Do you see anything interesting in the above? I notice several things. First, the 3 "top tier" Republicans (Giuliani, McCain, Gingrich) have 8 marriages between them (average 2.67 ea.). The 3 top Democrats have 1 a piece and 77 years of marriage between them.

Secondly, all of the Democrats are longtime married to their first spouse.

Thirdly, and most distressingly for social conservatives, the second tier Republicans (Romney, Brownback, Tancredo), all long married to their first wives, are getting little play.

I'm not suggesting that a President can't be successful having been divorced. Reagan was somewhat in the McCain mold (longtime married to his second wife). But commitment to people is a quantifiably important metric in considering a leader and no other commitment seems so telling as that to a spouse.

It is interesting that the Democrats, as measured by their marriages, appear far more traditional than do the Republicans.

A serious blow to conservatism, it would seem.

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