The Widdershins

E I E I, Oh…

Posted on: September 9, 2014

You are probably wondering why I would title this post after the refrain from my first grade debut PTA performance — think Eddie Munster with Kathy Bates bangs gone bad. Even at the vintage age of six, knowing my singing was cat-cringingly awful, I had no other option but to turn the “E I E I O” part into an Oscar-worthy overly dramatic reading. That was a harbinger of the diarrheal wordiness of someone whose screen name is Prolix.

The other title I mentally work-shopped (I really need to get a life) was not in keeping for my usual standards of Bob in Shades Drivingobliqueness bordering on the opaque. The other title was, “Old McDonnell lived a fraud“ — a bit too obvious for my tastes, but now you know the topic. I just couldn’t allow the salacious Bob McDonnell trial and verdict to slither away into the ether without comment.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you are thinking, “Yeah, that’s all well and good Prolix, but what separates Bob McDonnell from any of the other legion of fallen pols who have splayed themselves before us?” There’s Anthony Weiner whose electronic communication was always identifiable since he sent along anatomical proof of his surname. There’s John Edwards who believed a potential president ought have both a first and a second family. There’s so many D.C. examples I’m not sure why Viagra commercials aren’t just still photos of the Washington Monument — after the scaffolding came down that is.

With that said, I still think Bob McDonnell is different from all the rest — both quantitatively and qualitatively. Just in sheer numbers, the volume of McDonnell’s bad decisions puts all other comparisons to shame. From the engraved Rolex to the beggar’s loans to the New York shopping sprees to the Ferrari joyriding to the $15K of fried chicken for his daughter’s wedding to his cockamamie defense, McDonnell’s cavalcade of horrendously bad decisions should be an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. The inexorable result of his anorexic judgment is the Olympic equivalent of an ever accelerating bobsled team forgetting their brakeman at the top of the hill.

Bob and RolexIn terms of the quality of his bad decisions, no one holds a candle to the caliber of his impeccable insipidity. Just one example is needed here: Who could possibly think it is a grand idea to forego a one-count non-corruption guilty plea for a roll-of-the-dice defense centering around unmercifully trashing the mother of your children and wife of thirty-eight years? Who? Someone whose posterior should be immortalized on the “Mt. Rushmore of Inglorious Assholes“.

That tells us the “how” of the long “can’t take my eyes off it” fall, but nothing of the “why” — so I fired up the old googling machine. I started with the supposition that like many politicians, McDonnell labored under a hyper-extended sense of “Significance”. In positive psychology, Significance is akin to classical extraversion — getting your self-esteem from the way others see you.

You probably know people with Significance. They are the people with the most pristine lawns in the neighborhood. They have the largest or newest or most exotic cars that are always shiny enough to perform open heart surgery on their hoods.

People with Significance are devoid of self-esteem until they are filled with words of admiration, adulation, or jealousy by onlookers. They are emotionally fragile and cold unless they are warmed by the envy of others. It goes without saying, in such an internal vacuum there is little habitable space for others.

So I asked the googling machine for clues to support my hypothesis. It didn’t take long for the ones and zeroes to report Bob Prayingback aplenty. The first clue was McDonnell being a Notre Dame and Boston University educated, middle-aged Catholic man who calculatedly enrolled in the 700 Club’s Regent University. Quickly McDonnell became a protégé of Pat Robertson and a regular on the 700 Club teevee show. Robertson was a heavy contributor and an inevitably inane early cheerleader for McDonnell in his Virginia political rise.

Another clue might have been the 93-page thesis he wrote while cultivating his culturally conservative creds at Regent University. The paper entitled, The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family, contained unforgettable pearls of wisdom like:

Working women are detrimental to families. The government should favor married people over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators. The government must restrain, punish, and deter the exercise of liberty when it takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality. Birth control should be constrained and discouraged for married people.

Another clue might be McDonnell, once the trial began, started bunking down with a priest for appearance’s sake in keeping with his trifling defense. This was the same priest who happened to have pleaded guilty to a sex crime “arising” from an arrest the day before Thanksgiving for giblet nibbling in a parked car at a local park. I’m quite certain the priest didn’t hear McDonnell’s confession about leading a Commission for the recriminalization of sodomy. For those with unbridled Significance like McDonnell, situational morality is genetically imprinted.

Bob and MaureenThere is no greater clue of what makes McDonnell tick than allowing his wife to be labeled a “nut bag” in need of medication who was out of her league as First Lady of Virginia. Where can you go from there? McDonnell saw such limitations as a challenge and he didn‘t stop there, he stooped even lower by actually having his children testify as to his wife’s, their mother’s, peculiarities and foibles.

Obviously in his Regent University education, McDonnell either failed to read or failed to understand Ephesians, Colossians, or I Peter, where cherishing, honoring, and not being harsh to your wife is pretty succinctly explained. But then again, consistency in values is not a hallmark of those with Significance.

Without so much as even touching upon the policies McDonnell championed as Governor, he paints a pretty vivid self-portrait of self-indulgent opportunistic hedonism. The lesson here is that politics didn’t create the beast — the beast merely came to feed at the trough of politics.

Unfortunately, for people like McDonnell the innocence of childhood is not a chronic condition and likewise, the opportunity for twilight atonement is a fast-passing blur of missed fortunes. It’s too bad he’s filled the years in between by trying to fill a unrequitable chasm of insecurity. For anyone who is not above using anyone or anything, whether it be a wife, children, or religion in the furtherance of their own Don Quixotesque quest for love, acceptance, or respect, it is indeed a fool’s errand.

On the positive side, he has the years that come with eleven federal convictions to figure out what we just learned by asking, “Why?” Perhaps in the years to come he will too.

Take this conversation wherever you would like since this is an open thread.

Have a Widderful Tuesday.


10 Responses to "E I E I, Oh…"

As always, an excellent post. The McDonnell case has been a dazzling thing, and may set the b ar for the “throw your spouse under the bus” defense for years to come. I am not an attorney, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express, but I am entertained by the question of how one cannot possibly have entered into a conspiracy with a person to whom they are not speaking, Emails? Sticky notes? Flash cards? Singing telegrams?

@1, Chat, that question alone proves you could have been a most intuitive and successful attorney.

The inside skinny on the decision to go with that defense must be SNL skit worthy. Here you have attorneys, real attorneys not ones rolled out in the theistic Regent U. way, knowing what a cockeyed theory it was and not wanting to be that “guy” — the lawyer who tried the “wife under the bus” defense. Just like the Twinkies defense is still a punchline, I imagine it will be many years before McDonnell’s defense team lives this one down.

The decision to go with the wife-bashing defense was probably made in a hermetically sealed room with just crusty, translucent, old lawyers sitting around the table — much in the same way Republican policy is formulated over at the musty Heritage Foundation.

Excellent post Prolix. From what I had seen on the Rachel show, it appears ethics laws were rather lax in Va so ole McDonald may not have violated anything state-wise, hence the Federal prosecution.

It also seems like this has drawn the attention of the lege members who are thinking about drawing some laws up.

Virginia’s ethics legislation, among the most lax in the United States, says that state officials, spouses and immediate family may not accept any “tangible” gift valued at more than $250.

The law puts no limits on gifts such as meals, transportation, vacations and trips, although officials are supposed to report them.

@2 The main difference is that the Twinkie guy won his case.

#3 How about wedding receptions, or are they not specifically addressed?

Well…from 42nd street (with a couple of changes)

Off I’m gonna shuffle, off I’m gonna shuffle,
Shuffle off to Buffalo

@chat: Oh I have no idea.

My God. What a horrible person.

annie@7: I think he is truly deserving of the term: d-o-u-c-h-e.

Fredster, Colbert is really funny tonite. He did an hysterical bit on Scott Brown. You should try to catch the repeat tomorrow at 7pm.

@annie: Okay…maybe I can also see it on Comedy Central.

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