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“Family Values Week Is Over”: A Rough Week In America For Women

Mark Sanford’s heralded engagement to Maria Belen Chapur is apparently over. The rep. from South Carolina released the news to America through a Facebook post. That’s how Chapur found out, too.

Gallantry has been in especially short supply this month. Prominent American men have been roughing up their women in spectacularly public ways — ranging from coldly calculated mind games to a knockout punch.

September opened with former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s unsuccessful attempt to swat away felony charges by making his wife take the entire rap for rampant corruption. The governor’s lawyers smeared Maureen as “manipulative,” “unpredictable,” “deceptive” and, most famously, a “nut bag.”

For a taste of the media response, Google “Maureen McDonnell under the bus.”

McDonnell had long touted his traditional values, pasting pictures of his photogenic wife and children on every available surface. His master’s thesis was on family breakdown and contained the line, “As the family goes, so goes the nation.”

Guess family values week is over.

To think, many Republicans had put McDonnell on their list of potential presidential candidates.

As for Sanford, an antiseptic breakup note marked the latest in a series of callous behaviors toward women and just plain weirdness. Recall that as South Carolina governor, Sanford sneaked off to Argentina to visit Chapur, a TV journalist there, for nearly a week. He told his staff that he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” and could not be reached. Recall that his disgusted wife threw him out of the house and initiated divorce.

To pretty up the adulterous activity for his socially conservative voters, Sanford framed the affair as an unstoppable joining of soulmates. He promised to put aright the perceived wrong by marrying Chapur. And he layered on top of that an inspirational journey of redemption, starring himself.

“I’ve experienced how none of us goes through life without mistakes,” he said in a campaign ad when running for Congress. “But in their wake, we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances, and be the better for it.”

Two years went by, and Chapur eventually demanded an actual wedding date, which he wouldn’t make.

“I think that I was not useful to him anymore,” she told an interviewer. “He made the engagement thing four months before the elections.”

The ex-wife is now trying to restrict Sanford’s visits with their 15-year-old son. She also wants the court to order the congressman to have psychological counseling and take anger management classes.

True to form, Sanford is now blaming his ex-wife’s custody fight for his inability to wed Chapur. Don’t blame the ex-wife, Chapur responded.

To think, many Republicans had put Sanford on their list of potential presidential candidates.

To be clear, narcissistic abuse of women is hardly a Republican monopoly. Consider the Democrats’ 2004 vice-presidential nominee, John Edwards — who declared devotion to his cancer-ridden wife on the campaign trail while fathering a child with a tawdry filmmaker.

Between the McDonnell and Sanford stories emerged the video of football star Ray Rice punching his girlfriend, now wife, cold in an elevator and then dragging her limp body out. The now-former Baltimore Ravens running back saw no need to blame the woman for provoking the attack. She did it for him.

Say this for the Rice assault: It was straightforward brutality. It happened in a moment and without burdening the public with baroque explanations. The victim knew exactly what had happened to her, once she came to.

But what are Rice’s prospects of getting a second chance? The practitioner of psychological cruelty tends to be slicker than the man with the fist. And the businessmen running the NFL are a tougher sell than the electorate.

Meanwhile, September isn’t over.


By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, September 18, 2014

September 19, 2014 Posted by | Conservatives, Family Values, Women | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

” My Wife Made Me Do It”: Virginia’s Ex-Governor Is a Political Crook For Our Times

In an era of small-bore politics and lowered ambition, the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was the scandal best suited for the times. It did not feature outsized personalities or grandiose schemes. Unlike former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, McDonnell wasn’t trying to sell a United States Senate seat. And, unlike former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, McDonnell didn’t try to portray himself as a loveable rogue.

Instead, McDonnell, who was found guilty on 11 counts related to public corruption on Thursday, spent the trial trying to convince jurors that he was just a henpecked husband struggling with his family’s credit card debt.

The scandal revolved around McDonnell and his wife Maureen, who herself was convicted on eight counts related to public corruption for taking gifts from Jonnie Williams, a businessman trying to promote a tobacco-based dietary supplement called Anatabloc. These gifts ranged from$120,000 in low interest loans to Williams simply allowing the Virginia governor to spend a few hours driving his Ferrari. Prosecutors argued that in exchange for these gifts, McDonnell inappropriately used his office to promote Anatabloc and help Williams get state research grants to further study the drug.

McDonnell, who turned down a plea deal earlier this year, argued that he and his wife couldn’t have conspired to accept gifts from Williams because their marriage was so irretrievably broken.  The former Virginia governor’s lawyers portrayed their client as a man trying to save a marriage on the rocks to a woman who was increasingly prone towards “fiery anger and hate” toward him and had “a crush” on Williams.

When the verdict was announced in the federal court in Richmond on Thursday, McDonnell immediately broke down in tears and wept openly. It marked a huge fall from grace for a politician who was once considered a potential presidential candidate and rumored to be under consideration to be Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.

The former Virginia governor and his wife are due to face sentencing in January 2015, although McDonnell’s attorney already said he will appeal the verdict up to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.  In the meantime, if the conviction stands, McDonnell will be the first governor in the nearly 240-year history of Virginia, ranging from Patrick Henry to Terry McAuliffe, to be convicted of a crime.


By: Ben Jacobs, The Daily Beast, September 4, 2014

September 5, 2014 Posted by | Bob McDonnell, Public Corruption | , , , | Leave a comment


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