Sunday, August 10, 2014

What We've Learned from the McDonnell Affair

The McDonnells
I don't normally follow criminal proceedings because it feels entirely too much like voyerism in most cases. The prosecution of the former governor of Virginia, however, is one I've had a keen interest in from the beginning. It is great theater, Shakespearian and tragic, though full of unintended low-brow, lower class comedy.

The governor and his wife are two middle class people tossed into the wealth and power of a state governorship and they had no clue how to handle it, so they let the children rob the kitchen, the wife rob donors and the governor act like an idiot, all the while talking about family values.

I'm not sure the prosecution has enough proof of a felony to send anybody here to jail, but Bob McDonnell's political career and possibly his marriage are over. He has a job at Liberty University, but I'm not sure how long that will last, given the shame he has brought upon himself. Frankly, I don't think anything will be served by sending the ex-governor or his wife to the hoosgow. Neither is a real danger. They're just small-time crooks who got caught and they'll always be that.

Sending them to jail would, of course, send a message, but the message is out there in neon already.

The one good that has emerged from this shabby incident is that the professional staff of the governor and the state--mostly Republicans I will point out--has performed ethically and impressively. That is a good thing.


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