One of my favorite things about being a blogger is skewering hypocrites. That’s the essence of this feature: taking down the pious phonies who populate our national life. There is no bigger hypocrite than former Virginia Governor and future convict, Bob McDonnell, and that is why he’s malaka of the week.
Everybody knows that McDonnell rolled the dice in his corruption trial and rolled snake eyes. That’s not even the worst, or stupidest, part, he took his wife Maureen down with him. That’s particularly rich in his case, as he ran as a “family values” candidate who trotted out his attractive and rather large family at the drop of a hat. That didn’t stop him from using his wife as a human shield whilst his lawyers put on a disgusting and demeaning defense wherein Mo Mac was portrayed as a greedy, nutbag, she-devil with a crush on star witness Johnny Williams.
The best thing I read about McDonnell’s disgusting, and mercifully futile, defense was by the preternaturally awesome Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
If I never hear the phrase “X threw Y under a bus” again, especially with regard to this trial, I will be immensely grateful. At some point in the proceedings, it seemed as if there were so many people thrown under so many buses—wife, children, executive chef, staff—it wasn’t clear the bus could move anymore. Maureen McDonnell acceded to a legal strategy that painted her as a frosty harridan with a roving eye and a lamentable inability to manage the staff (the “Downton Abbey defense”). I still cannot accept the defense’s proposition that she was somehow driving the bus when it looked to the rest of the world like she was lying under it.
It’s easy to say that everyone in power is bought and that the McDonnells simply got caught getting bought. But that doesn’t quite capture the horror of what happened here in the commonwealth in the past month. Whatever shame they brought on the office of governor by their dealings with Williams was overshadowed by the shame of their legal strategy. The jurors must have felt unimaginably filthy listening to gruesome tales of a “nutbag” first lady, rebuffed letters from the governor trying to resolve marital spats, and tween-grade text messages to a man Maureen McDonnell was allegedly “obsessed with.” That the former governor knew his career was making his wife wretched and drove on nonetheless is one thing. That he blamed her wretchedness for wrecking his career borders on felony chutzpah.
Tell us what you really think, Dahlia. Felony chutzpah sounds like a textbook example of malakatude. It also sums up much of McMalaka’s public life. He went to Pat Robertson’s law school, and was supported politically by Pat and the Immoral Minority’s Jerry Falwell. As Governor, he earned two disparaging nicknames: Governor Ultra Sound for the intrusive abortion law he signed into law. And Doc Maddow dubbed him Sponge Bob when his procilivity for grifting free stuff, both large and small, became public knowledge. McMalaka never met a freebie he didn’t like or take advantage of. His defense to his own ravenous greed: the little lady/missus made me do it. I never bought it, and I’m glad the jury didn’t either.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is justly proud of its long and glorious history. Bob McDonnell was its first Governor to even be indicted, let alone convicted. I don’t recall Patrick Henry saying, “Give me liberty or let me drive your Ferrari.” Dr. A spent her formative years in Virginia and we have family and friends there. A few of whom have teased me over the years about Louisiana’s reputation for political corruption. It’s true, C Ray went to jail on Monday and we’ve had our share of crooked Governors as you can see in this sign I made to wear in the 2007 Krewe du Vieux parade:
Neither Dick Leche nor Edwin Edwards blamed their spouses or even their mistresses for their problems, which makes them better men than that sanctimonious fraud Sponge Bob. And that is one of a gazillion reasons that Bob McDonnell is malaka of the week.