Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens and wife Sheena hold their children, Jacob (left) and Joshua.

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REARDON: What We've Learned During The Greitens Saga

Mark Reardon
June 01, 2018 - 2:04 pm
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Five months into the sordid saga of now former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, here’s a list of what we’ve learned so far in this episode:
 

  • A guy with all the political promise in the world threw it all away with terrible decision making and behavior. He was well-positioned to make a run for the White House after one or two terms in Jefferson City.

 

  • We have an incompetent Circuit Attorney in St. Louis who should have *never* brought either of the charges she filed against Eric Greitens. She’s been an embarrassment to the city and if she were a Republican (yeah, yeah, I know that would've never ever ever happened in St. Louis City) every single Democrat would be calling for her resignation. She was barely pressed this week by the weak-kneed members of the Board of Alderman about how much money she wasted on her politically motived pursuit against the governor.

 

  • We still don’t know who is behind the $120,000 in cash that was dropped to attorney Al Watkins. There seemingly are only a few member of the legislature who seem to be interested in finding out the truth about the wads of cash.

 

  • The media served as a cheerleader for removing the governor from office and didn’t seem interested in any of the more questionable aspects of this case. They only wanted to assist in bringing down a guy they didn’t really like because he didn’t give them enough access. The role of a free press is to report -- on all aspects of a case or story. But that karma thing certainly bit the former governor in the….well, you know.

 

  • With new Gov. Mike Parson, it’s back to business as usual in Missouri with the lobbyists dictating the winners and losers.

 
My biggest disappointment is that I really deep down felt that Greitens was for real. That he would fight the powerful special interests in Missouri like the low income tax credit gang and not be beholden to the lobbyists behind the scenes who are pulling the strings. In other words, that he was capable of draining the Jefferson City swamp. But when you run on a platform to clean up the corruption and then you yourself behave in a way that reveals a character opposite to the Navy Seal image portrayed in your campaign, you pretty much get what’s coming to you.

A few years back, a guy who knows Eric Greitens a lot better than I do, told me that his Achilles heel was his ambition. I knew what he meant because it was pretty clear that the 2016 race for governor was also about setting up a possible run for the White House down the line. Did he take his eyes off the task at hand in Missouri? Or did he fool everyone who believed in him, and in the end was a complete fraud?
 
Friday - the day the governor officially steps down - is also the second birthday of his youngest son. I’m very concerned about the long-term damage that has been inflicted not only on Eric’s wife and kids, but also the kids of the alleged victim in this case. It’s an ugly chapter in Missouri politics, but my hope for my friend Eric Greitens is that he focuses on his family and figures out how to correct the missteps that may have just snuffed out a promising future, whether in or out of politics.
 
The night my daughter was born 3 years ago, I had Eric’s book “Resilience” in the hospital room and was reading it while my wife rested during hours of long labor. I remember texting him that night with a picture of the book cover. That was around the same time that his affair with “Witness 1” was taking place. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how someone so smart could make decisions that were so stupid.
 
If he’s really truly resilient, he’ll have to prove it to his family first.