Unless you’ve been in a cave on Mars with your fingers in your ears today, you probably heard that the governor of New Jersey came out of the closet, then promptly resigned this afternoon.
The L.A. Times is reporting that what dragged him out of the closet was that his ex-boyfriend/aide was going to file a sexual harassment suit against him and/or out him for spite.
Reading any of these stories, one gets the distinct impression that McGreevey is, for the most part, an opportunistic Grade-A douchebag. At the very least, he surrounded himself with incredibly corrupt people.
He’s got almost as many scandals and federal investigations attached to him as George Ryan did when he was governor of Illinois. And that’s not a feat accomplished without quite a bit of effort.
There were all kinds of fundraising issues with his campaign, and most people thought he was going to do what John Rowland did in Connecticut a few months back, and resign over that.
But instead, he decided to out himself. It’s now pretty much confirmed that that was a pre-emptive strike against someone threatening to out him, but it certainly does distract nicely from his corruption.
I don’t deny that it takes a lot of balls to stand up and talk to a bank of TV cameras about an intensely personal struggle (especially when your cheated-upon wife and your parents are standing right next to you).
But what makes me sad about this whole fiasco is that the first time a sitting governor has ever come out of the closet happened under this type of circumstance.
The fact that he was a) cheating on his wife b) with an employee is Clinton/Packwood level stupidity, no matter if it were with a man or a woman.
The fact that he decided to present himself as a family man with a wife and a child isn’t just hypocritical, it’s asinine.
I’m of the firm belief that instead of making life more difficult, it makes life much easier to be out. When you have nothing to hide, it’s awful hard to be blackmailed.
After all, young character actress Heather Matarazzo effectively came out in the New York Daily News earlier this week, and nobody really gave much of a shit.
Granted, Hollywood ain’t politics, but there’s a similar problem with people being utterly paranoid about being outed, when just coming out in the first place would make life a lot less stressful.
McGreevey claimed he was removing the threat of blackmail by coming out, but in reality he was just responding to it. I realize that part of the reason he wasn’t out before is that he was probably in quite a bit of denial about it.
But don’t use your wife and kids as props, and definitely don’t campaign on the theme of Straight Talk if you’re suffering from what you can instantly tell from watching his speech is a very deep personal conflict about your sexuality.
In the end, he may still get slapped with a harassment suit (and will probably countersue for blackmail, if that happens), and he may get stuck with an indictment over his fundraising shenanigans.
I realize everyone can’t be perfect, but I guess I’m just disappointed that a lot of people will come away with the impression that he resigned because he’s gay, not because he’s a scandal-ridden idiot.
McGreevey said himself, “It makes little difference that as governor I am gay,” and basically acknowledged that it was more an issue of dipping his pen in company ink than of who the inkwell happened to be.
Pundits seem to be in agreement that if he hadn’t fucked himself so badly by being associated with corrupt fundraisers, he probably could have survived fucking a man.
But I guess we won’t know until another high-profile politician comes out of the closet. And given the reaction to this, I’m guessing that’s not going to happen for a while.
As Wonkette put it, “Someday, we hope that kind of announcement comes at the beginning of someone’s political career, not the end.”