Saturday, June 26, 2004

Jack Ryan

Jack Ryan is officially out of the Illinois Senate race, and I actually think that's pretty lousy. I didn't care for Ryan from the beginning--he's pretty much your average Republican, saying nothing new about anything. He was an investment banker who made a few million dollars, then went into teaching at a private school four years ago in a paper-thin move to pad his resume before moving into politics. Maybe he thought his grin-and-wink good looks could get him through, and maybe they would have, if there hadn't been a Democratic candidate in Barack Obama who was genuinely exciting, charismatic, and possibly even principled. He's been leading Ryan in the polls since they won their respective primaries, and by all accounts he would have thumped Ryan in November. Ryan was desperate, and even tried having aides trail Obama with a video camera everywhere he went, defended by a Ryan spokesperson with, "If he%92s running for public office, he should expect public attention."

So, yeah, Jack Ryan knew he was losing and the tricks he was trying to turn things around were low and weren't working. But when the Chicago Tribune sued to have the files from his divorce unsealed (which Ryan fought, in spite of the above quote, I suppose) it was revealed that his ex-wife Jeri Ryan had claimed that her husband had pressured her to go to "sex clubs" in various cities and have sex in front of strangers. Ryan claimed this wasn't true, that they had gone to oneavantte-garde" club in Paris that made them both uncomfortable, and that they soon left, never to return. They both stuck by their original stories when the records were unsealed, and the leaders of the GOP turned on Ryan. Ryan weathered a week of controversy, vowing to soldier on, then dropped out of the race on Friday.

I don't like Jack Ryan and I never did, but I think that's pretty lousy. Aside from being a jerk to his wife for trying to pressure her into something she was uncomfortable with, he didn't do anything wrong--he didn't even do anything illegal. He did something kind of dumb, in expecting sealed documents pertaining to his sex life to remain private while he was running dirty tricks of his own in a Senate campaign, but as far as I know being dumb doesn't disqualify someone from a political life. It doesn't even disqualify you from buying fireworks, if that's your bag.

So One, I don't think Ryan should have to give up his bid for Senate for being an asshole to Seven-of-Nine; and Two, it would have been really cool to watch Obama bury him in November. Back to teaching rich kids, I guess.

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