Compromising positions? McGreevey-ous culpa

By Maralyn Lois Polak

All this tumult! And just for the gay governor of Joisey coming out, and then resigning, on live TV!

Flanked by his uncomfortable-looking parents and adoring second wife, Gov. James McGreevey out-realitied reality TV, confessing to what he claimed was an adulterous “consensual” relationship with another man …

This, of course, was before the other man – never-married, darkly alluring Israeli opportunist Golan Cipel, cried “sexual harassment,” insisted he wasn’t homosexual, denied charges of attempted multimillion-dollar extortion, and fled home to Mommy and Daddy in Israel. Wah!!!

Meanwhile, Cipel’s alleged “ex-lovers” begin to emerge from the woodwork. Yup. Guys. Watch for the T-shirt: “I DIDN’T SLEEP WITH GOLAN CIPEL EITHER.”

So tell me something about the McGreevey affair I don’t know: What if McGreevey’s “Monica” really is a Mossad operative who was the actual aggressor, pressuring the governor into hiring him, the supposed paramour, thus ensnaring the Democratic politician in a much larger homeland security-compromising sting operation? Now that would be intriguing.

Look, although I’m originally from New Jersey, I know I’m not alone in wishing McGreevey hadn’t resigned. And, as far as I’m concerned, Joisey isn’t nearly as corrupt as my current residence, the state of Pennsylvania. Political scandals everywhere are, to borrow a cliche, “as American as apple pie.”

Nevertheless, in pursuit of larger truths, I consult two old friends from New Jersey. Amazingly enough, we all formerly worked together at a Shop Rite Supermarket in the Garden State years ago, during college. They still live there, I don’t.

“Carstairs,” a businessman and sailor:

I’m sure we’ll be reading about the adventures of Jim McGreevey in one of your columns.

What a sleaze – trying to cover up so much mismanagement, graft, etc., by painting himself as a “gay American.” Who cares if he’s gay, bi, or asexual?

For years I listened to so many N.J.-bashing jokes and paid no attention to them. Now, I’m actually embarrassed to admit I live here. It’s almost as if I allowed this idiot to get away with it on my watch.

The saddest part of this lunacy is that I (along with every other person in N.J.) am going to pay for the McGreevey faux outing. I’ll end up footing a massive legal bill, sitting around while state government does nothing positive until November of 2005, and being on the receiving end of even more Jersey bashing.

Do you think they’ll let me move to another state once they know I’m from New Jersey?

Dear “Carstairs,” I e-mail back:

I feel your pain. Yes, you can move. Just throw away all your old T-shirts. And no one will ever be the wiser. Actually, I think N.J. is nothing compared to PA. And then we have N.Y. Everyone I know thinks their particular state is the most corrupt.

I guess as a N.J. resident you have a closer view of things. However, I don’t dislike McGreevey – why slam him for possible bad judgment and an apparent tin ear, what with his misplaced fondness for poets who later seem to betray his trust (Cipel and Baraka) – but then, I’m an outsider. Are you a Republican? I forget. Many people still seem to like him – so far, his poll numbers are holding. Apparently this scandal was brewing for years.

I found McG’s predicament affecting because my gay brother was in the closet til the day he died.

From “Oswaldo,” a retired insurance executive:

  1. There must be more here than meets the eye … the whole story has yet to be told.

  2. This, on top of all his other blunders with appointments, shows he uses very bad judgment and should resign effective yesterday.

  3. I think his first two wives must be bimbos for being so understanding. I actually read the first one say he is a good father. I guess it depends on the definition of “father.” In my book, all he was is a sperm donor.

Why was the McGreevey resignation so upsetting to me?

Maybe because he also was the former mayor of Woodbridge, which is where the bodies of my late mother, father and brother – my entire family – are all buried. Or maybe because, for me, his wife’s predicament hit close to home. I suspect many single women have slept with their share of “secret bisexuals” in the Age of AIDS.

Bottom line: Once again, the charismatic, people-pleasing ex-altar-boy Jim McGreevey demonstrates a politician of any preference can no longer have a private life in America.