A great actor
He was a great actor!
That was the picture Dina McGreevey painted of her estranged husband and former New Jersey (D) Governor, Jim McGreevey.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said, "I think it was all a charade for him."
She also explained that on the day her husband announced, "I am a gay American", she was made to smile in spite of the internal turmoil.
Dina said, "As his world was falling apart, he was still choreographing the entire day." Jim asked her to play the role of Jackie Kennedy, stoic and courageous in the face of adversity.
This snapshot of the life of a votrepreneur (politician) is exactly as I imagined. The votrepreneur is a salesman who must sell himself to his voters. He must present an image of himself that is designed to appeal to his potential voters.
If his voters are religious, he must present a religious image even if he is not। If his voters are secular, then he must be secular even if he is not. It must put a strain on an honest man who has to pretend to be what he is not.
That is why there is an element of the con-artist in most votrepreneurs. A very honest person is probably unelectable. In Jim's case he must present to the public the picture of a straight guy who is happily married. That image appeals to the middle American voters. A gay living with another man does not.
In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Dina said, "You know he had the entire day scripted. His entire life had been choreographed, and even as his world was falling apart, he was still trying to script everything and making sure that day went as he wanted it."
Choreographing scenes for the TV cameras is standard behavior and as a political wife, Dina should have known better. Even though Jim's political career was over, I guess he was still choreographing out of habit. A picture of a tearful wife suggests weakness which does inspire confidence with the public.
So Jim asked her to play 'Jackie Kennedy'. It was all an act. How do we keep our elected leaders to really mean what they say? How do we get them to say what they mean? How do we stop them from behaving like salesmen and instad behave like statesmen? The only way is to take away the fear of re-elections from their minds. In earlier essays for example, I suggested that Senators be elected for life or at least for a long time. That way they can be themselves and be honest with the public.
In the case of Jim McGreevey, the strain of public life is finally over. Now he can be himself. His political career is over but he is probably happier now - and feeling gay.