Former Idaho Senator and GOP Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee
John McGee began winning elections before he was 20 years old and didn’t stop until he became chairman of the Idaho Republican Majority Caucus—he had become the 21st-century face of what many people considered the future of the Idaho GOP. But today, at 41, McGee has had his face plastered on more mug shots than campaign posters and is considered a political pariah.
Following his June 2011 drunk driving arrest, McGee admitted to imbibing a bit too much at a Father’s Day golf tournament. He was also charged with stealing an SUV that night (complete with a utility trailer) and crashing it in a neighbor’s front yard, prompting a bathrobe-clad woman to rush to her bedroom window. Police said McGee emerged from the wreckage, mumbled something about the woman being an angel, made some passing remarks about driving the stolen vehicle to Jackpot, Nev., and promptly passed out.
McGee, who by then was an Idaho state senator, saw that his political career was hanging in the balance. So he underwent a series of mea culpa TV interviews in which he spoke in hushed tones about how eager he was to “move forward.”
But after he retained his Republican leadership and returned to the Idaho statehouse politically unscathed, it turned out that some of McGee’s moves were more than forward; they were inappropriate. A female staffer said he had sexually harassed her on several occasions at the state capitol. According to the staffer, McGee exposed himself, asked for sex and groped the subordinate. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but after 44 days behind bars, he was released “for good behavior.” He hasn’t been heard from, at least publicly, since. (George Prentice, Boise Weekly)
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton
In 2000, liberal Democrat Mark Dayton purchased a one-term U.S. senator gig with $12 million of his inheritance and then immediately began forging, as the New Republic put it in 2004, a remarkably bipartisan impression inside the Beltway that he was “crazy.” In 2006, Time named him one of the nation’s five worst senators, and his Capitol Hill nickname became “the Blunderer.” Dayton cemented his place in Washington’s cuckoo’s nest in 2004, when he closed his D.C. office and shooed his entire staff back to the provinces. Dayton explained he had been credibly, confidentially apprised that the Capitol itself would shortly be laid waste by terrorists.
Meanwhile, Dayton was adjudged less than zero as a policymaker, known only for introducing legislation that would create a cabinet-level position of “Secretary of Peace and Non-Violence.”
He gave himself an “F” when asked by a high school class to grade his Senate performance.
Dayton returned to Minnesota, where he’d always enjoyed giving unsolicited confessions—that he was a recovering alcoholic, that he was a medicated lifelong depressive, that he’d begun drinking again as a senator.
In 2010, again working the politics of pity, he was elected Minnesota’s governor after spending another $4 million of his allowance. Yet he had changed. He had morphed into just another political hack. He played the backroom-in-Brooklyn ward heeler so the Minnesota Vikings would have their new football stadium. And though he has gained relief from enough psychotropic drugs to fill a Walgreens warehouse, he refused to support a medical marijuana bill this spring because it was opposed by statewide law enforcement, whose support provided the wafer-thin margin of Dayton’s gubernatorial victory. Yet there were still signs of the lost, rich doofus who meant well. Confronted by angry parents demanding medical marijuana for their children suffering from epilepsy, Dayton suggested they get their weed on the street, illegally. (Neal Karlen)