August 13, 2004

Best take on the McGreevey resignation.

From the front page of the NYT:
"What it reminds me of is Richard Nixon, the Checkers speech or some of the stuff during Watergate," said Steven Cohen, a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

But he saw already the contrast in the words spoken by the governor and at least some of the reasons for the sudden announcement: "The gender of the person he had the relationship with is irrelevant," he said. "The problem is putting a lover on the payroll in some fashion."

Being impressed that McGreevey came out as gay is like saying "ooh, I love puppies" to Nixon's Checkers speech. I'll stipulate that gay people are as lovable as puppies, but I think it's more appropriate, under the circumstances, to be unimpressed, because he's employing the hard-won positive feeling toward gay people for plain, old political purposes. I'm resigning because I'm gay is no more believable than I'm resigning because I want to spend more time with my family. It's a way to try to hold on to some dignity on your way out. Except that McGreevey is also trying to hold onto his office until November and thus to retain the office for his party.

UPDATE: A question you might find relevant in deciding how sympathetic to feel towards McGreevey is when did he marry his second wife? Answer: late 2000. Are we really to believe he took the "bonds of matrimony" so seriously, that as a gay man, marrying a woman when he was 43 years old, living in the United States in the year 2000, he was planning to refrain from extramarital sex? Either McGreevey wronged his second wife grievously by withholding the crucial information that he is gay or the two of them had an understanding, in which case the bit about violating the bonds of marriage is hogwash! The only other possibility is that he was still deceiving himself at age 43, which is incredibly hard to believe. Yesterday's speech was a shameful, self-serving travesty! "At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world ..." Oh, please!

ANOTHER UPDATE: I see that E.J. Graff in TNR Online is saying "Oh, please" too. He also says "Gays and lesbians should leave this guy dangling on his self-constructed gallows" and is irked that McGreevey is diverting attention from the California Supreme Court's case yesterday.

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