Newt and Callista: A 'Narcissistic Blastoff'
But Callista's surrogate ambition a double-edged sword: Maureen Dowd
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2012 12:22 PM CST
Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (L) is accompanied by his wife Callista Gingrich as he speaks at a campaign rally on Friday.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Blame Newt Gingrich's third wife Callista for his relentless, Quixotic quest for the presidency, writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. Where other politicians' spouses often appear beside them, looking on dutifully and quietly, Callista's "frozen attentiveness" is something entirely new, perfectly reinforcing her husband's "delusions" he can be president. “She’s a transformational wife,” says one Republican strategist. “She’s the wife who makes the candidate think he is destiny’s gift to mankind, born to greater things.”

"And when a woman who wants to be a Transformational Wife merges with a man who calls himself a Transformational Figure, you can expect a narcissistic blastoff," writes Dowd. In business, the Transformational Wife is fine, says Dowd, but in politics she's a two-edged sword. She can feed "his ego like a goose destined for pâté" and help push him to new heights—but she also hurts Newt with religious women and those who feel threatened by younger trophy wives. But Dowd concedes that there may be another explanation for Callista's devotion to her husband: "Maybe she just doesn’t want to let him out of her sight."