Yes, but when will his other shoe drop?

In what was the most amazing press conference I’ve ever seen, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy announced he was gay and was stepping down from office. Regardless of the fact that the historically boring press conference genre has set the “amazing” bar pretty low, it was certainly something that even had normally cynical newsies pulling their jaws from the floor – and admitting it in their newscasts.

McGreevy’s announcement was certainly a bold one, but it left most people feeling like they’d only heard half the story; a feeling that will almost certainly be validated over the coming days. The thrust of the press conference was the Governor’s long struggle with his own identity, his love for his wife and children, and the admission of his extramarital affair. Oh, and he’s resigning.

There’s the disconnect. Let’s face it, this is not 1954, ’64, ’74, ’84 or even ’94. Does being gay really mean you have to resign as Governor in 2004? No. And McGreevy, I think, knows it. This is certainly a milestone in McGreevy’s life, and one that will lift an enormous burden he’s been carrying for many years. But it’s not why he’s resigning – so why didn’t he just say so?

Maybe it was a little selfish desire for sympathy for a couple news cycles. Perhaps because he doesn’t want to endanger his legal standing in the reportedly-pending lawsuit against him. For whatever reason, however, he chose to make his announcement in a way that essentially draws a line between being gay and not being fit for public office – a correlation that some bloggers have already crucified him for.

Thankfully, some pundits were acknowledging this disconnect in their commentary. The mistress of political gossip, Wonkette, hoped that someday, “this kind of announcement comes at the beginning of someone’s political career, not the end.” But that doesn’t stop the headlines from proclaiming: “I’m gay and I quit.”

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