This Saturday is World Circus Day. It’s true. We confirmed the date on weirdholiday.com [seriously], and the internet never makes mistakes [not seriously]. The shadow of the upcoming celebration of circuses seems like an opportune time to delve into Missouri politics.
So, what to make of the saga of embattled Gov. Eric Greitens? It’s pretty simple, really. There are no winners. We all lose.
We lose because our nightly news telecasts and newspaper stories have become the stuff of tawdry tabloids and romance novels. Objective truth is elusive. Everybody has an agenda, everybody has a story to tell and everybody has a price at which they are willing to tell it.
We lose because Eric Greitens was a man of great potential and whether he is able to serve out his current term or not, his political career is over. Greitens’ short time as governor of the Show-Me State has indeed shown us far too much scandal, far too many nefarious dealings, far too little transparency. His potential was overridden by his naked ambition and now, well, his nakedness. He is just another man who is far too human to thrive in an age where far too much is known about humans.
We lose because a criminal proceeding of great personal and political importance is being handled [or better yet, mishandled] by a bumbling prosecutor with a political axe to grind. Let us remember a couple things:
• Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has charged the governor with felony invasion of privacy. The premise of that charge is that Greitens took a compromising photo of the victim against her will.
To date, nobody has seen that photo nor verified its existence.
• The victim repeatedly asked for privacy and fought against these charges being filed at all. In other words, the governor has been charged with a crime with no evidence against a victim who did not wish to pursue charges.
We lose because taxpayers are funding both the prosecution and the defense in this case. The circuit attorney has hired investigators, who apparently cannot remember whether or not they took notes when talking to the alleged victim, at a cost of $10,000 down and $250 per hour plus travel costs for the out-of-state firm. Greitens has hired an impeachment attorney with taxpayer funds at a rate of $320 per hour, which is at least reportedly half the attorney’s usual fees.
We lose because all of this, every bit, serves as a massive distraction from the everyday goings on of the people of Missouri. We require our political entities to serve the function and facility that we elected them to perform. This is not that. This is a million miles from that. The circuit attorney is not expected to conduct political witch hunts. The governor is not expected to embarrass himself and our state through stories of infidelity, sexual depravity and professional misconduct.
This whole thing has become a circus, the kind with only sad clowns.
In recent days, most of Missouri’s political establishment has stated that Gov. Greitens no longer has an ability to lead the state and needs to step down. We agree, so long as the circuit attorney steps down as well. Their last act can be to take down the tents, clean up the animal droppings and get this circus out of our state.