Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey embarked on his book tour on Sept. 19. At the time he seemed to pop up frequently, hitting programs like “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Today” to promote his memoir. Apparently McGreevey is still on his whirlwind tour for “The Confession,” but you wouldn’t know it.
The sleazy gay politician has been pushed right off the front page by another sleazy gay politician.
Former Florida Rep. Mark Foley has truly been everywhere. Or at least his story has; he himself is ensconced in rehab, we’re told. Television offers the Foley follies night and day. The only stations not broadcasting the story are the Cartoon Network and Home Shopping Channel.
But how can I lump the two men together? Foley is the baddie, the one who fired off salacious computer messages to teenagers. He says he didn’t have sexual contact with a minor, but that doesn’t appear to be for lack of trying. And the man chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children! We Americans thought he was an expert in the field — how right we were.
Furthermore, from the gay point of view, Foley’s been as good for us as ptomaine poisoning. For years his homosexuality was an open secret, but he refused to admit it. Now, after being exposed as a pedophile, one of the first things he does is come out as a gay man. Thanks. Thanks a bunch.
But I do link Foley and McGreevey. Not simply because they’re both white men who were raised Catholic, or because both were long aware of their gayness and took to the closet. Not even because both resigned high elected offices in disgrace.
Neither man could see past the end of his own nose. McGreevey may’ve just screwed adults — but he screwed over a lot of people.
His two wives, for a start. He used them as cover. He shafted the people of New Jersey when he hired his extracurricular boyfriend as homeland security advisor. Israeli Golan Cipel’s main qualification for the job was he hailed from a country which has a lot of homeland security.
Cipel claims theirs wasn’t a love relationship, as McGreevey maintains, but that the governor forced himself on him. Whatever the truth — and it’s doubtful anyone in this farce would know the truth if it hit him upside the head — it was Cipel’s threat to file a sexual harassment suit for millions of dollars that made McGreevey hold that press conference in which he famously said, “I am a gay American.”
McGreevey admits now that had Cipel not forced the issue, he’d still be in the closet. He intended to go right on living that twisted life. I have to believe he and fellow pretzel Mark Foley lived lies for the same reason: power.
That’s why I can’t muster up a lot of sympathy for the former governor. I know he suffered that internal agony over being gay that so many of us do. But his ambition dropped his integrity into the Delaware.
McGreevey has the distinction at present of being the only openly gay governor in American history. That it sure wasn’t his idea doesn’t change anything.
He has fans at all levels of gay society. With his connections, money and looks he could conceivably become a power in the community, even a spokesperson. Gag me with a microphone.
Foley and McGreevey are living warnings of the dangers of living in the closet. But I suspect both guys were already out of whack before they took up residence with the hangers, cobwebs and mothballs.
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