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Archive for August, 2011

Ah, what to make of this unfortunate turn of events for Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder?

By now, I’m sure, many of you have seen the intriguing photo of a sharply dressed Kinder next to a come-hither-looking bartender who nearly 20 years ago was a Penthouse “pet of the month.”

Kinder, who has been expected to seek the Republican nomination for governor next year,  hasn’t had much to say about the photo or his relationship with the bartender, identified as Tammy Chapman. This afternoon, however, he issued a statement, which opened like this:

“Like most people I am not proud of every place I have been but this woman’s bizarre story is not true.”

For her part, Chapman has had quite a bit to say about Kinder. She told a reporter for the Riverfront Times (RFT) of St. Louis that she met Kinder, who has never been married, in about 1994, when she was working as an “entertainer” at a nightclub in the St. Louis suburb of Sauget, Ill.

By Chapman’s account, Kinder became a regular patron of hers — and the club — paying her up to $200 a visit for lap dances and personal attention. She eventually cut off contact, she said, because Kinder became very aggressive, grabbing her by the shoulders and trying to force her head into his lap.

The next time they saw each other, according to RFT, was four years ago at a National Rifle Association convention. (I have no idea what to make of that, except that I guess the nightclub business can be pretty dangerous sometimes, depending on your clientele.) Apparently they didn’t speak on that occasion.

Fast forward to earlier this year when, according to the RFT, Kinder showed up at a St. Louis bar famous for its “Pantsless Parties,” where bartenders “sling drinks while clad only in their underwear.” (It was there that the intriguing photo was taken.)

And, wouldn’t you know it, that old flame started burning again in Kinder’s hears (or elsewhere in his body.) Chapman said she mentioned that she was looking for a new apartment and that Kinder replied, “I just got a nice place in Brentwood (a St. Louis suburb). You can come live with me.”

Ah, but then Tammy abruptly snuffed out the flame, the RFT says, with this shot-to-the-gut response: “Oh, honey, I don’t think my girlfriend would like that.”

Gasp! It turns out that the 1992 pet of the month, the woman Kinder had been sniffing after for years, is gay! With that revelation, Kinder made a relatively hasty exit from the bar, and Chapman told the RFT that she hasn’t spoken to him since.

But here’s the capper, in my opinion: The “entertainer” told the RFT that she was speaking out because”she’s disgusted by Kinder’s behavior.”

Yes, disgusted! Can you imagine…the lieutenant governor hanging around low-rent places with slutty women…hanging out and looking for sex, just like he was a trucker, a cop or a reporter?

I guess he’s supposed to be ashamed of himself, while she….she goes on her way, working her ass off, trying to make an honest living for herself and her family. (To be honest, I don’t know if she and her girlfriend have any kids.)

Well, I have a different take on this situation.

Kinder wasn’t in an airport restroom stall trying to get a quickie from the guy in the next stall. (See former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho.)  He wasn’t wrestling, tickling and propositioning male members of his office staff. (See former U.S. Rep. Eric J. Massa of New York.) And he didn’t send photos of himself in his underwear, with an erection, to women he connected with through Facebook or Twitter. (See former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York.)

No, he was out trying to get heterosexual sex the old-fashioned way — chasing low-down women in low-down bars. Somehow, I find that perversely inspiring.

To see if I was alone in my reasoning, I went straight to the Sage of Kansas City Politics, the one and only former Mayor Charles B. Wheeler, who this week celebrated his 85th birthday.

Charlie Wheeler

You can always count on Wheeler, a pathologist by principal profession, for a scientific, unemotional assessment of troubling situations involving human frailties.

I asked Dr. Wheeler, who served in the Missouri Senate when Kinder was a state senator and later lieutenant governor, for his overall impression of Kinder.

In his inimitable, nasal tone, Dr. Wheeler said, “You can quote me as saying the lieutenant governor I know has always been a paragon of virtue.”

Very, very comforting; good to hear, Dr. Wheeler.

Then I asked the big question: Do you think this situation will compromise Kinder’s political prospects?

“No,” the good doctor replied. “I think these things are a matter of Kismet or karma.”

That led us to a brief discussion about the distinction between Kismet and karma. We concluded they are essentially one and the same.

So, from this corner, it looks like Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder still has a clear run at the governor’s office. And if he wins, maybe he can get Tammy and her girlfriend — and any children they might have — to move into the governor’s mansion.

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