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Wednesday, June 23, 2004  

Politics: We do know Jack. . .Ryan

The other shoe has dropped for Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois. It is a brogan. The material Ryan (pictured) fought to keep sealed in his divorce records is salacious and smells of spousal abuse.

The Sun-Times reported the court's decision last week.

A Los Angeles judge on Thursday ordered some of the sealed records from the 1999 divorce of Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jack Ryan and Hollywood actress Jeri Ryan opened for public scrutiny -- even though they "may be embarrassing" and "damaging."

. . .The papers in question were filed in 2000 and 2001 during custody hearings following the Ryans' 1999 divorce. Lawyers for Jeri Ryan, star of TV's "Boston Public," initially opposed closing the records, arguing that Jack Ryan was only worried about political embarrassment, but she later joined her ex-husband in calling for some of the documents to be removed from public view.

At the time, Ryan tried to brazen the situation out, claiming there was nothing embarrassing in the files. However, that claim has quickly eroded, as sleuths unearthed damaging allegations about the candidate's behavior. During the custody proceedings, Jeri Ryan described Jack Ryan's interesting inclinations.

I made clear to Respondent that our marriage was over for me in the spring of 1998. On three trips, one to New Orleans, one to New York, and one to Paris, Respondent insisted that I go to sex clubs with him. They were long weekends, supposed 'romantic' getaways. . . .

"The clubs in New York and Paris were explicit sex clubs. Respondent had done research. Respondent took me to two clubs in New York during the day. One club I refused to go in. It had mattresses in cubicles. The other club he insisted I go to. . . It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling. Respondent wanted me to have sex with him there, with another couple watching. I refused. Respondent asked me to perform a sexual activity upon him, and he specifically asked other people to watch. I was very upset. We left the club, and Respondent apologized, said that I was right and that he would never insist I go to a club again. He promised it was out of his system.

"Then during a trip to Paris, he took me to a sex club in Paris, without telling me where we were going. I told him I thought it was out of his system. I told him he had promised me would never go. People were having sex everywhere. I cried, I was physically ill. Respondent became very upset with me, and said it was not a 'turn on' for me to cry.

"In September 1998, I told Respondent it was not just Paris, I had been unhappy for years. We briefly tried counseling, but it did not work. . . I told him I was in love with another man, whom I fell in love with after our relationship had fallen apart that spring.

She says the continual pressure from her husband to participate in public sex resulted in emotional turmoil.

Ryan is the Great Republican Hope for the Senate, needed to retain control. Party leaders are attempting to shrug off the allegations of shady sexual behavior and psychological abuse of his former spouse. It has been falsely claimed the judge in the case, Robert A. Schnider was appointed by former California Gov. Jerry Brown, a liberal. Though Ryan is running as a pro-life and pro-family candidate, the implications of his abuse of his spouse are being ignored. Some people are even casting aspersions on Jeri Ryan's credibility. William Saletan, writing at Slate, isn't drinking the Kool-Aid.

Six years ago, Republicans demanded that Bill Clinton be investigated and impeached for having sex with an intern and covering it up. Now their nominee for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, Jack Ryan, is brushing off his then-wife's allegations that he repeatedly pressured her, despite her protestations, to have sex with him in front of other people. Instead of denouncing Ryan, many Republicans are defending him.

Like me, Saletan is particularly skeptical of Ryan's effort to hide behind his now nine-year-old son. Ryan claims that the very unusual effort to keep the divorce records sealed is all about Alex. But, it is doubtful that the topic will be news by the time the boy is old enough to understand it. Furthermore, the information is not about Alex in any way. There are situations that might embarrass a minor child. For example, if the boy had been fathered by someone else, or has a hidden medical condition, that might qualify as information that he should be shielded from until the right time. But, a father's penchant for going to sex clubs is all about Jack, not Alex. Saletan tracks Ryan's plan to hide behind a child's rompers back several years.

At a press conference Monday, Jack Ryan said he had fought to keep the divorce records sealed in order to "keep information about [my] child … private." He ducked most questions, claiming, "It's not helpful to our son." According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ryan mentioned that his son had "special needs." Ryan didn't mention the "political aspirations" he had raised in his 2000 filing when he complained about Jeri Ryan making their marital troubles public. And according to the Chicago Tribune, "in September 2000, Anne Kiley, an attorney for Jeri Ryan, said in a court filing that one of Jack Ryan's attorneys had told her a few months earlier that Jack Ryan wanted parts of the file blacked out, removed, or sealed because he was 'concerned [it] would negatively impact his political aspirations.'

I don't believe Ryan is concerned about the impact on his son at all. He looked about for a pretext for keeping the divorce records sealed. The best gambit available was to imply that material in them is damaging to the boy. It is not. Ryan lied.

Jack Ryan has what the late writer and secret homosexual John Cheever referred to as 'difficult proclivities.' Instead of exercising control of his desire for public sex, Ryan attempted to bully a wife who did not share his interest into participating in it. Once he realized that his marriage was ending, he put a plan to hide the allegations into action. Not only is Ryan's current behavior continuing abuse of Jeri Ryan, it is abuse of the public trust. Ryan has revealed himself as lacking basic decency. Not because of his 'difficult proclivities,' per se, but because of his refusal to acknowledge them and take responsibility for the embarrassing situation he is in because of a lack of self-control.

I have considered only one aspect of Saletan's fine dissassembly of Ryan's 'defense' in Slate. Read the entire article.

Reasonably related

We last discussed Jack Ryan in regard to his race against Barack Obama. Read "Politics: Obama's campaign tense, touching."

9:20 PM