The red herring
Yesterday NJ governor Jim McGreevey looked into the “mirror of one’s soul”, and admitted to his “own truth”, declaring himself a “gay American, blessed to be living in the greatest nation with a tradition of civil liberties”, and resigned as governor, publicly, on international Cable TV.
The current revelation ties into the Democratic donor Charles Kushner investigation (who was charged by federal prosecutors Tuesday with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and interstate promotion of prostitution), as today’s Star Ledger reports:
Paid $10,000 by the Democratic State Committee, Cipel worked on McGreevey’s behalf as an outreach coordinator for the state’s Jewish community. At the same time, McGreevey recommended him for a public relations job to Charles Kushner, the governor’s top campaign contributor.
Kushner, a top New Jersey developer who has since been charged by federal authorities with obstructing an investigation into his business dealings, hired Cipel at a $30,000 annual salary.
Apparently Cipel was trying to bribe McGreevey. Kushner has a history of bribery attempts, to say the least. Incidentally, Cipel’s not the only man McGreevey’s hired for exhorbitant salaries.
NJ voters who are exhausted of scandal after scandal and record-setting overspending in the McGreevey administration might see some relief in the horizon. NJ voters expecting relief are not likely to get any immediate relief.
- McGreevey’s resignation doesn’t go into effect until November 15. This means he can continue to enact the same kind of damaging laws he’s been enacting all along.
- More importantly, by not making his resignation effective immediately, McGreevey denies NJ voters the right to choose a governor, hence perpetuating the status quo. As Jim explains,
McGreevey’s timing of the effective date of his resignation ensures that Richard Codey, the democrat president of the state senate, will occupy the governor’s office until 2006, a time when Codey can run as an incumbent, or he can step aside for now-Senator John Corzine to run for governor. Remember, these are the same folks who engineered the Torricelli – Frank Lautenberg switcheroo.
- By resigning now he trumps any charges that might come up in the Cipel lawsuit.
Considering how sympathetic the courts have been to McGreevey recently, the court case might not linger long and Court TV won’t have months’ worth of reporting anyway. The newspapers will be kind.
- By not leaving until November 15, NJ voters will pick up the tab of his defense.
- The rumors in the local news are that if McGreevey didn’t resign, all sorts of ugly stuff would come up. Considering he’s been under Federal investigation, I wonder if/what kind of deal was made with prosecutors in exchange for his resignation.
McGreevey is a disgrace to gay men who live honorable lives:
“Gay American” will become an everyday label and possibly a rallying cry for activists. It’s a brilliant phrase. It also very conveniently pulls the attention away from the adminstration’s history of corruption. I listened to the local talk radio programs and all of them are focusing on the gay issue, not the corruption and overspending issues. In all, the gay issue is the red herring.
By framing his resignation in confessional, “gay American” patriotic terms, McGreevey’s hiding behind smoke and mirrors. His speech lays the groundwork for a comeback. Anyone not familiar with the corruption scandals of his administration (as most viewers of international cable TV are not likely to be), or the ruinous overspending, would be sympathetic. Commentators are already admiring his courage. Magazine covers will follow.
My prediction is that after a hiatus of a few years (if that long), McGreevey will be back in the national scene. Larry King and Barbara Walters will run interviews, with snippets of yesterday’s speech, McGreevey’s speech at the 2004 Democrat Convention, and other photogenic moments. There will be no mention of the damage done to NJ taxpayers during his years as governor.
If McGreevey were truly courageous, he’d make his resignation effective immediately. That would be in the interest of NJ’s public. That would be honorable. That would take courage.
As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher’s Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around… per the Watcher’s instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.