Like millions of Jerseyeans, I was caught flatfooted, initially by the late afternoon rumors that the Governorâ€™s resignation was imminent, and later by the actual resignation and his stated reasons for doing so (being gay and having had a consensual homosexual affair).
The initial reactions were predictable. There were the expressions of sympathy and support for the governor and his family for his having to make such a public announcement. That was followed by the statements of gay rights advocates, who were happy that the governor came out, but who were saddened that his sexual preference resulted in his leaving office.
I, for one, am glad to see him go, not because he is gay (I really donâ€™t care about his sexual preference), but rather because he was and is a very bad governor.
Everyone should take a breath before we conclude that the governorâ€™s resignation was solely an â€œintensely personal matter,â€ the announcement of which necessitated the first openly gay governorâ€™s resignation, lest he (and we) be tortured by swarms of homophobes. No way. In the days and weeks ahead, we will see more of what is really going on here, none of which is terribly surprising, given the administrationâ€™s performance over the last couple years.
More specifically, we shall see that the governor had appointed Golan Cipel, his significant other, who is an Israeli poet and PR guy, and who could not get a US security clearance, to serve as his special counsel for Homeland Security at $110,000 per year. Homeland security, for Chrissake! And, when Cipel could not get a security clearance, and the FBI refused to share sensitive information with him, he stepped down, but retained his special counsel title, salary and a staff of there people.
Now we learn from DynamoBuzz that Cipel currently works for Charles Kushner. You remember him. Heâ€™s the McGreevey friend who arranged for a prostitute to have surreptitiously videotaped sex with a potential witnesses against him and then forwarded the tape to the patsyâ€™s wife (Kushnerâ€™s sister)!.
In addition, the effective date of McGreeveyâ€™s resignation shows that it was not the selfless and apolitical act that he would have us believe. His resignation is not effective until November 15th, which will deprive the citizens of New Jersey of the opportunity to elect a new governor on November 2nd. McGreeveyâ€™s timing of the effective date of his resignation ensures that Richard Codey, the democrat president of the state senate, will occupy the governor’s office until 2006, a time when Codey can run as an incumbent, or he can step aside for now-Senator John Corzine to run for governor. Remember, these are the same folks who engineered the Torricelli â€“ Frank Lautenberg switcheroo.
Keep an eye on this one. It will be a wild ride.
Update 8/13/04: The Editorial in the Star Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, questions the timing of McGreevey’s announcement, as well as the timing of the effective date of his regisnation.