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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

 
Tragedy in the Village

by digby

Leave it to the Village press to describe a corruption indictment as a tragedy:


And yes, I realize they are probably alluding to Greek tragedy. It's still obtuse and stupid.
It has always been difficult to pin down McDonnell’s persona — or even to understand what made him tick behind his square jaw and perfectly combed hair. Now, as McDonnell faces the real prospect of ending his public life as a felon, it is harder than ever to answer the question: Who is Bob McDonnell, anyway?

When he ran for governor five years ago, the people of Virginia were introduced to Bob McDonnell the zealot: a religious extremist tutored at Pat Robertson’s university, a man Democrats warned would try to keep women in the home and make it easier for criminals to get guns.

The labels didn’t fit. McDonnell won his 2009 governor’s race easily and avoided social issues in office 
Next, Americans met McDonnell, the modern-day Mr. Republican: a beaming politician of total integrity and boundless personal confidence, a man who governed more or less from the center, passing landmark transportation reform and writing the playbook for GOP swing-state victory.

That wasn’t quite right, either. By the end of his four-year term, McDonnell was snarled in a gift-giving investigation that was at least tawdry, if not actually criminal.

Finally, we met McDonnell the dupe: a well-intentioned man, pure of heart but weak in dealing with the people around him, led cluelessly into dangerous legal territory by an acquisitive and ill-tempered wife — Lady Macbeth with an Amex card.

The indictment handed down Tuesday against both McDonnells gives the lie to that portrayal, as well. In a 43-page document filed in federal district court, the former GOP governor is depicted by prosecutors as a man preoccupied with improving his family’s financial condition, going well out of his way to accommodate his financial benefactor, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, and communicating directly and often with the former first lady about various money-making enterprises.
So he was a total phony. And a corrupt greedhead. There's no hint of tragedy in all that except for the Villagers who admired him so for his well-coiffed, "well-rounded" personality and his easy going style. They didn't want to look at the reality which was a man who changed personas like he changed his ties. The only consistency in him was ambition. And in second gilded age America, it doesn't take Woodward and Bernstein to go one step beyond that and look for signs of naked greed.

McDonnell ran as a right wing zealot and then changed into a centrist corporatist, which is the most soothing of all political trajectories among the Villagers. That's the trajectory that slaps the rubes of both parties square in the kisser.  How great. They liked it so much that until fairly recently he was commonly seen as presidential material. And they don't have the excuse that he was from some far away state and they didn't know what he "really" was. He was, for most of them, their own Governor. They genuinely liked him a lot. That he turned out to be little more than a gifted conman makes them feel bad.  And that's the real "tragedy" here --- Villager disappointment.

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