Since we're heading into the weekend, how about a little sex-and-intrigue? Right then, siddown here and I'll spin you a story or two. Or four. Or six . . .
I don't know how closely you Brits follow U.S. politics, but you may have noticed that our Republican Party has been pursuing a gaudy self-destruction every bit as complete -- though somewhat more salacious -- than your Labour Party's. Beyond the supernova blowup of Sarah Palin, the Republicans' remarkably-constant problem is sexual hypocrisy. This is inevitable: relying as they do on the fundamentalist-Christian vote, GOP politicians feel they needs must appear holier-than-thou. Dommage.
For instance: Not long after Senators Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and David Vitter (R-Louisiana) co-sponsored something called the Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which went nowhere), "Wide Stance" Larry got caught soliciting sex from an undercover cop in an airport gents' as little Davie engaged Washington and New Orleans prostitutes to diaper him (ewwww).
And just here recently, another goodly handful of Jesus-beating GOP office-holders have run into extramarital-nookie trouble.
Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, coulda just kissed Michael Jackson for croaking a few days after a tipped-off reporter intercepted the married Sanford flying in from a weeklong AWOL in Buenos Aires with his eye-catching "soulmate" named Maria. This occasioned a number of very unfortunate press conferences and interviews, as Sanford dug his hole deeper.
But before we could catch our breath from laughing at Don Marco de BA, Nevada's Senator John Ensign saw his credibility equally minced to flitters. He had to own up to paying off a married couple, formerly his top staffers, after screwing the wife and cuckolding the husband. Well, truth be told, Ensign himself didn't supply the pay-off; turns out the white-haired Senator's parents coughed up $96,000 to succor-and-hush the aggrieved Mr. and Mrs. Doug Hampton.
Though they'd all loudly demanded that Bill Cinton do so, neither Craig, Vitter, Sanford, nor Ensign resigned from office; indeed, Vitter and Ensign are running for re-election (if he weren't term-limited, Sanford probably would be too). But besides the parallels already apparent, our gropin' GOPers have something else in common -- something that, if you've previously followed links from here to Rodney's guest posts at folo.us, you may have seen.
"DC Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey (may she R.I.P.) only later learned that her infantile client was a United States Senator; she knew him as "David from C Street." But as Rodney explained in February, "C Street" is one of several names for a secretive, far-right "Christian" group -- also called the Family or the Fellowship -- that reveres the likes of Mao and Hitler, cultivates Third World dictators (the more murderous the better, seemingly), and hosts Washington's annual National Prayer Breakfast. Rodney told us foloers all about it on the day Barack Obama and Tony Blair led the guest list at this year's breakfast.
But Ensign and Sanford are only two of numerous current or former members of Congress who live/d -- for below-market rents -- at the Family's townhouse, a former convent now identified as a "church" for tax purposes, on C Street near Capitol Hill. Why, just yesterday the State of Mississippi contributed another name to both the GOP’s and the Family's burdens.
Boyish-looking former congresscritter Chip Pickering had been all set to assume Trent Lott’s U.S. Senate seat when Trent up-and-resigned in late November 2007, one year into his latest six-year term. (A small digression here: two days later, Sen. HelmetHair Lott's brother-in-law, the fearsome mass-tort plaintiff's attorney Dickie Scruggs -- plus Dickie's son, another law partner, and two other Mississippi operators -- got busted by the Feds for bribing a little ol' country judge. Since I'm Mississippi-born, this smelly coincidence started me posting about it on then-new folo. Long-story-short, the bribers eventually went to prison -- but not before making my little folo a website that attracted a sizeable international crowd that included a certain Man from Porlock.)
But back to this saga. The next news was that Chip P and his wife, the parents of five little boys, were separating and he was leaving the House of Representatives; though Chip soon filed for divorce, the decree isn't final yet.
Now come to find out, via folo's and TMfP's friend Ducky, that Mrs. Chip has just commenced an alienation-of-affections lawsuit against one Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, a telecom heiress who was not only Chip’s college girlfriend but, according to Mrs. Chip's complaint, his longtime mistress. Where did Chip bunk on weeknights (and, allegedly, boink Beth BigBucks) while Congress was in session? You guessed it: in the famous C Street townhouse convent church.
And things might have rocked merrily on -- except that, Mrs. Chip alleges, when Mississippi governor Haley Barbour was on the verge of naming Chip to the Senate, Beth issued a “Senate seat or me” ultimatum that he couldn’t resist (maybe they're soulmates too?). They’re a hot item to this day, Mrs. Chip claims, with Chip now living in Jackson, quite near Beth but 30 miles from wife-and-kiddies, and making his living as a lobbyist for Beth's family's company. (Oh honey, what I'd give to be a fly on the wall around Mississippi's bridge tables and nineteenth holes this weekend!)
Call it "C Street" or "the Family" or whatever, this-here boys' club just hates hates hates the publicity its horny members are drawing. Oh, it ain't the sex that bothers them (obviously), but the exposure of their agenda. For that is none other than invisible world dominion in Jesus' name. Listen to Jeff Sharlet, the guy who literally wrote the book on the Family, explaining to our best interviewer, NPR's Terry Gross, how it rolls. Thanks to Ensign, Sanford, and now Pickering, Sharlet has appeared three nights in a row this week on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, and Pickering's Problem has splashed onto the pages of TalkingPointsMemo.
With any luck, before this is over, 2009's edition will have proven to be the last National Prayer Breakfast that Barack Obama, Tony Blair, or anyone else has to attend. ThainkyaJeezes.