When elected Republicans leave office in disgrace, they generally spend the rest of their lives rehabilitating themselves, with mixed success. Case in point: the victorious Nixon-Agnew presidential ticket of 1968 and 1972.
Democratic miscreants who get caught with their hands, or other body parts, in the cookie jar can simply go back to school. “James E. McGreevey, who resigned the governorship under a cloud of scandal, has a new job teaching law, ethics and leadership at one of New Jersey’s public colleges,” Josh Margolin reported in the Newark Star-Ledger on April 19th. “McGreevey is now an ‘executive in residence’—a combination teaching and consulting post—at Kean University in Union, where he is earning $17,500.”
“The former governor came on board without any announcement on Nov. 1, Kean officials said, and the university makes no mention of his role on its Web site or faculty directory.” By way of a recap, McGreevey came out of the closet as the country’s first openly gay governor after appointing the object of his affection to the post of state homeland security advisor.
For some Democrats, such as former U. S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, famous for punching a cop in the Capitol, the Ivory Tower can provide an appreciated paycheck between elections. For other Democratic officeholders, academia offers a comfortable retirement, e.g., former U. S. Senator David Boren.
McKinney sojourned at Cornell. Boren retired to the University of Oklahoma.
For McGreevey, it is a little bit of both way station and resting place. “With the new post, McGreevey can once again accrue credits for years of service in the state pension system because Kean is a public college,” Margolin writes. “McGreevey, 49, already has more than 19 years of service in the pension system.”
“His final retirement benefit will be calculated based mostly on his nearly three years as governor, when he earned $157,000 a year,” Margolin explains. “He will be eligible for his full pension once he has 25 years in the system and reaches his 60th birthday.”
And here is the ultimate irony: Kean U was named after a prominent Republican family. Surely the powers-that-be at Kean could recruit someone less ethically challenged to teach an ethics course.
Two names that come to mind are those of the man who lost to McGreevey—former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler—and, for that matter, McGreevey’s ex-wife—Dina Matos McGreevey.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.