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There was nobody happier than I was when term limits ended my official position in 2008. I was tired of feeling responsible for all the problems that needed to be fixed in our state. I was also tired of getting beaten up in the press and having my enemies constantly trying to take me out. As a private citizen, I thought I would be able to be behind the scenes, work on my friends’ campaigns and not be in the crosshairs each and every day.
Unfortunately, my marriage was in bad shape by that time; and even though I was out of office, things continued to get worse. In early 2009, we separated; and by October, we were divorced. I tried to tell everyone it was a good thing for me; but inside, it really messed me up. After all, we had been married almost 20 years and had raised three wonderful kids.
I was a 42-year-old successful divorced man, whose personal life was not turning out like he planned it. My dad was a Baptist preacher, and the best parents in the world had given me a perfect childhood. I was a family values conservative Republican who was not supposed to have these types of problems. I won’t go into details, but my life was not reflecting the teaching my parents had taught me, nor was I being the example I wanted my kids to see.
I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but I do! In December of 2009, God finally had enough of my hypocritical ways and got my attention. After spending the night with a lady I had reconnected with on Facebook, I was charged with felony assault. The press, along with my enemies, had a heyday. I immediately shut down my consulting business. Soon after that, I was notified that I was a target of a federal grand jury investigation surrounding my handling of a bill in the 2005 legislative session.
Needless to say, I started 2010 with no job, very few friends and lots of time on my hands. As bad as my troubles were at the time, looking back now, I’m thankful for them. Life passes by so quickly, and very few of us get the chance to sit down and contemplate what is important. My troubles gave me a chance to analyze my weaknesses. With my pride stripped away, I was able to honestly evaluate my past actions. I saw how foolish I had been to put my family on the back burner. I learned how bitterness towards my enemies made me a bitter person toward everyone around me. The hardest thing for me to admit was that I wasn’t the same friendly and caring guy who had gone to Jefferson City in 2000.
Most of my friends say, “Rod you were not that bad, you handled it well. You were polite and treated everyone with respect. We liked you then, and we like you now.” I’m very thankful for those friends and their friendship, but I know the prideful thoughts I was thinking, and I know I should have handled things better.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m thankful for all the successes I was a part of. I’m also grateful for all the kind people I met along the way who helped and encouraged me. But I wish I would have worked less and stayed home more; been more forgiving and not gotten bitter at my opponents; been less prideful, less judgmental and more understanding. Plus, I wished I had lived the personal life I believed, instead of being such a hypocrite. Of course, I can’t change the past. I can only look to the future and focus on learning from my mistakes.
Life is wonderful for me now. Each morning, I wake up and thank God for the day. I spend more time with my family and stay connected with my friends. I have a lovely new wife, a great job and a contentment I never knew in my first 42 years of life. I was never convicted in the assault case, and the grand jury suspended their investigation into the ethics allegation and never charged me with a crime. I have slowly begun gaining back the respect I lost from my bad choices, and I am even back in politics.
Let’s face it. Sooner or later we are all going to make a mistake; we are all going to do something stupid that we regret.
Sometimes these mistakes go unnoticed and don’t cause us much trouble publicly. But for those in the limelight, their mistakes are written about, analyzed and discussed in the public square.
It happens to celebrities, business leaders and athletes; but it also happens to parents, kids and everyday people. Anyone who has made a mistake that becomes public has a problem; and how you deal with it will either make it a bigger problem or put it in the rear view mirror.
Just in case you’re thinking, “It can’t happen to me!” think about this: Powerful politicians, corporate leaders, pro athletes and Hollywood stars all have opponents, enemies and even subordinates who believe it is in their best interest to help promote problems for them. The more powerful or well known you are, the more likely it is that others are looking harder to find the mistakes you make. Additionally, the press desperately needs scandals to generate readers/viewers, and most reporters dream each day about breaking the story that takes someone down.
Click here to read the rest of Michael Steele’s extraordinary chapter by purchasing The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis for only 99 cents this week only.
From The Missouri Times:
June 03, 2013 / by Scott Faughn, Publisher
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Co-Founder and President of The Missouri Times, Rod Jetton, has co-authored a book on how to survive a crisis.
Jetton told The Missouri Times that his book, “The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis,” is about the steps necessary to handle, overcome and survive mistakes or crises in life.
The book download will be available for 99 cents for one week.
Rod Jetton, President of The Missouri Times
In the book, more than a dozen “recovering politicians” share lessons learned from some of their most difficult personal trials, from highly publicized and politicized scandals, to smaller, more intimate struggles.
In The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis, a bi-partisan collection of former politicians, readers can draw lessons from more than a dozen “recovering politicians” who use their scandals to share guidance on how everyday readers can transcend crisis, recover, and launch their own second acts.
The book outlines deliberate, focused and vigorous courses of action and reaction that are meant to be applicable to helping readers resolve and transcend their own crises in the worlds of business, finance, non-profit, religion and in their own personal lives.
“Each of the writers did an excellent job of addressing how they dealt with their individual scandals,” Jetton said. “Politics is a blood sport and the lessons learned from these political stories are more needed today than ever before. With the explosion of social media and new technology celebrities, athletes, corporate leaders and even average individuals have less privacy than ever before and even a small mistake can turn into a major crisis if not handled properly.”
Some of the stories in the book include:
- Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele plunging into a nationally televised scandal when a subordinate uses the party’s credit card at a strip club with a sexual bondage theme
- Former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith facing a year in federal prison when he lies to federal investigators about a minor campaign finance violation.
- Former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton enduring trial and tribulation when he is accused simultaneously of sexual and ethical improprieties.
- Former Pennsylvania State Representative Jennifer Mann humbled by banner headlines alleging that her top aide is implicated in the state capital’s “Bonusgate” scandal.
“This book was a bi-partisan, collaborative labor of love,” Editor and co-author, Jonathan Miller added. “It has been an extraordinary honor to bring together former elected officials from both parties, each of whom has struggled through crisis or scandal, all of whom are eager to share their lessons with everyday readers. And best of all — it is a highly engaging, entertaining and informative book.”
“Mary Pickford once said that failure is not falling down but staying down,” former state Senator and co-author Jeff Smith said. “That’s the spirit in which we approached this book and we hope it helps others face adversity with courage, humility, grit, and even — when appropriate – humor.”
“I had made mistakes and let friends and family members down,” Jetton said of his own chapter of the book. “Too many times when we make mistakes we don’t sincerely apologize and take responsibility. I hope my story will help others learn you can move on and enjoy life even after making serious mistakes.”
The book can be downloaded in digital format for the Kindle, iPad, iPhone and more until June 11th for only 99 cents. The price will go to $4.99 for the digital version after the first week. A paperback version will be available soon for $8.99, and Miller, Jetton and the other authors will launch a national book-signing tour later this year.
“We are excited to offer over 200 pages of wisdom and advice, gleaned not from the self-declared ‘experts,’ but from people who actually have weathered crisis and scandal as the principal, the man or woman at the center of the fire,” Miller said.
Get the book by clicking this link The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
If you haven’t entered the First Quadrennial Recovering Politician Electoral College Contest, you’ve got until tomorrow, Tuesday at 6:00 AM EST. Here are the details for your chance to win 2 FREE lower-arena tickets to the defending national champion University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team’s official home opener at Lexington’s Rupp Arena, versus Lafayette University, on Friday, November 16 at 7:00 PM. Remember, the first step is to become a member of the RP’s new Facebook page, Facebook.com/RecoveringPol, and provide your predictions in the post marked “Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post.” The award will be presented to the individual who most accurately predicts the final Electoral College vote, with tiebreakers of predicting the Senate and Housr partisan compositions after the election.
The 2008 Electoral College Map
As a service to all of you procrastinators out there, our experts — contributing RPs and friends of RP — have weighed in on their predictions. You can choose to go with one of their picks, or stick with your own and feel smarter than a recovering politician.
So here goes. Feel free to comment below, but remember according to the rules, only comments at the Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post at the RP Facebook page will be qualified for the grand prize.
The RP: Obama 303, Romney 235. (Obama wins WI, NV, IA, NH, CO, VA and OH; Romney squeaks out the narrowest victory in FL); Senate: 50 Dems, 48 GOP, 2 Indy; House: 239 GOP, 196 Dems
Contributing RP Rod Jetton:
President– Romney 277 and Obama 261. Romney takes the true toss ups of NH, CO, IA and WI, while holding the safer states of FL, NC and VA. Obama keeps OH, MN, MI, NV and PA. The auto bailout keeps Obama with Ohio, but Ryan and the debates help Romney hold WI which Ohio is not required on their path to victory. PA will be close but O will hold on there. R wins popular vote 52-48. With unemployment at 7.9% and even worse, gas prices up over $3.50, it is amazing that any incumbent could even keep it close. When we add in how Obama seemed to have a bit of the Bush 42 attitude of not really wanting to mess with a re-election campaign plus the Libya debacle it is hard to see Obama winning. Romney is a solid steady campaigner that nobody loves, but he has a good resume and seems to be up to the job of fixing the economy.
Senate– D-52 and R-46. (I-2) The Republicans will pick up a few seats but the weak candidates will keep them from taking the majority. My state of Missouri is a good example of that. McCaskill was in bad shape and should have been defeated in 2012 but with all Akin’s messaging problems she is poised to survive.
House – R-237 and D- 198. There will not be a big change in the House and Romney’s debates and October surge will help Republicans down ticket in many of the battleground seats.
Jordan Stivers (Friend of RP): Obama 280, Romney 258; Senate: R-47, D – 51, I-2; House: R-237, D-198
Contributing RP John Y. Brown, III: Election Day will be followed by Wednesday….and, if all goes as planned, followed by Thursday. Short of cataclysmic fallout on Tuesday night, Thursday more than likely will be followed by Friday. And then we will probably see something resembling what we used to call “the weekend.”
Friend of RP Zac Byer (traveling with VP GOP nominee Paul Ryan): My head still says Romney tops out at 256, but after visiting 6 swing states in the last 56 hours, and my gut says otherwise: Romney: 277, Obama: 261; 51 D, 47 R, 2 I; 238 R, 197 D
Contributing RP Jeff Smith: Obama 277, Romney 261; Senate: R-48, D – 50+2I; House: R-240, D-195
Ron Granieri (Friend of RP): Obama: 280, Romney: 258; Senate: 51-49 Dems (with independents); House: 245-190 Reps
Contributing RP Nick Paleologos: Obama 275. Romney 263.
Steven Schulman (Friend of RP): Whatever Nate Silver says.
Contributing RP Jimmy Dahroug: Obama 275, Romney 263; Senate: Dems 51 GOP 47; 2 Indy; House: GOP 241 Dems 194
David Snyder (Friend of RP): Obama wins 290-248. Senate – 51 Democrats 47 Republicans, 2 Independents. House – 234 Republicans, 201 Democrats
Contributing RP Greg Harris: Obama: 332, Romney: 206 (Polls indicate presidential race is neck and neck among “likely” voters. Obama’s lead is greater among “registered” voters. These votes, under-represented in polling, will redound to Obama’s advantage in states like FL and CO.); Senate: R-44, D – 54, I – 2; House: R-232, D-203
Robert Kahne (Friend of RP): Obama: 332, Romney: 206. Senate: D:53 (inc 2 IND) R: 47. House: D: 205, Rep: 230
Contributing RP Jason Grill: Obama gets 294 and Romney 244; Senate – 52 D 46 R 2 I; House – 234 R 201 D.
And watch this for more of Jason’s analysis:
All throughout 2012 Missouri’s U.S. Senate race was garnering significant attention because of its implications on the outcome of the majority, but after Congressman Akin’s offensive comment on rape he has became a talking point to all political commentators, a joke to average citizens around the water cooler, and a lightning rod of sensitivity to those who have suffered rape.
Many national political observers are asking, “How did this guy get elected in Missouri?” His rise from an unnoticed conservative backbencher in the minority Missouri state legislature to the Republican U.S. Senate nominee is not that complicated.
Akin is not that well liked by the establishment of the Missouri Republican Party and has never been respected by party leaders and other elected republicans. You probably expect all Republicans to say that after his comment, but as a former Republican leader who is now out of the party I can tell you Akin never did much to help other Republicans.
Sure, most politicians take care of themselves first, but usually they do something to play ball and help the “team,” but not Todd Akin. He never needed the help of the party to win any of his primaries, and they never respected him so he never lifted a finger to help anyone unless it helped advance his principles (something hardcore conservatives admire him for).
My point is not to bash Todd Akin, he is a patriotic American whose son’s serve in the military (U.S. Marines!) and I have no doubts about his genuine commitment to our country and its founding principles. He is a hardcore conservative and proved it when he was one of the few Republicans to vote against President Bush’s Medicare expansion for prescription drugs. He has a wonderful family that anyone would be proud of and he sticks with what he believes. He also avoids negative campaigning which attracts many of his supporters. I have always said, “If you want a conservative who will vote no on everything then Todd Akin is your man. He doesn’t get many reforms passed or change things but he can always be counted on to cut spending and vote no.”
Read the rest of…
Rod Jetton: How Todd Akin Won
Biden will most likely be on the attack from the start.
I think his first attacks will sound good and score points, but his problem will be Ryan knows the facts better than Biden and his counterpunches will land and Joe won’t know what to do. That is when we will get the gaffe or crazy sound bite we are all expecting.
The only thing Biden has going for him is everyone thinks he will mess it up and the expectations for him are very low. This is Ryan’s first big debate so nobody knows what to expect from him but I bet we will get a heavy dose of gas prices, personal income and deficit talk. If Biden hits to hard it will be easy for Ryan to use some of his own comments against him.
(Cross-posted, with permission of the author, from Politico’s Arena)
BuzzFeed Politics asked contributing RPs Jeff Smith and Rod Jetton –both who served with Todd Akin in the Missouri legislature whether GOP donors will ever follow their political leadership and support Akin’s bid for the U.S. Senate. Here were their responses:
Rod Jetton, a former Republican speaker of the House in Missouri who works now as a political analyst, said major donors have about a week left to reevaluate and contribute money to Akin if they want to make a difference in the race.
But, Jetton told BuzzFeed, donors will remain wary of investing in Akin who, as a candidate, has been inconsistent at best.
“I don’t know that they have the confidence that the last four weeks of the campaign will be any different from what the past six weeks have been, from a messaging standpoint,” Jetton said.
“Let’s be honest,” he added. “Whether they like Todd Akin or not — and they don’t — if it can put them to 50, it doesn’t matter: They’re going to have to spend the money. But these misstatements make them wonder if they should be spending money in one of the other contested races.”
“Your standard Romney bundler is not going to start bundling for Todd Akin,” said Jeff Smith, a professor at the New School and a former Democratic Missouri state senator. “That person would be embarrassed to bring Todd Akin to Manhattan.”
Because major Missouri donors have also stayed away, Smith told BuzzFeed, outside groups will be the ones who keep Akin afloat—or not, as the case may be.
“Obviously this is the seat of last resort, the one they don’t want to have to give to, but it keeps coming back,” Smith said. “If they can figure out any way to get the Senate back without spending money in Missouri, they’ll do it.”
Click here to read the full piece in Buzzfeed Politics.
I think it is a great pick. Republicans need to remind voters about all the economic, deficit and budget promises Team Obama made during the 2008 campaign and the 2009/10 recovery efforts.
These promises and efforts have fallen short. To Republicans and many other Americans, Obama promised a lot that he didn’t deliver on, and his recovery efforts broke many of the promises he made about the budget and deficits.
Republicans want to keep the campaign on the economy, deficits and our budget problems. Obama needs to keep it on Mitt Romney and how out of touch he is.
Ryan is a conservative, but his ability to lay out the numbers in a very factual way will cause the Democrats problems.
He will perfectly contrast with Joe Biden. I love Joe; he seems like a great guy who means well, but how did he ever become a senator and VP?
Let’s face it: This guy hasn’t seen the ball since kickoff.
I bet the Obama team is already shaking about the VP debate. Hopefully they can keep it on foreign policy and not the budget or economy.
Sure he is conservative, but he backs up exactly what Republicans want this campaign to be about- A president who understands the economy and jobs, along with a VP who knows the budget and government programs.
I’m sure the Democrats will want to make the campaign about their conservative views and how that will cut government programs and hurt people, but even that gets to the debate Republicans want.
I don’t know if they can win that debate, but it is worth having and it will be fun to watch.
This bio was unbelievable: [Missouri Political Bug]
[Click here for a link to the entire RP Debate on Roger Clemens]
Yes, Roger Clemens should be admitted and given an extra award for being dragged through the dirt!
It seems the government and our Congressional leaders should have more dangerous criminals to track down and go after.
I fear this all started because a few Congressional leaders wanted some headlines and signed baseballs from the superstars. I’m sure some serious steroid use was going on, and we know it is unhealthy for the players and should not be an example for the young kids, but surely we can let baseball police their own sport.
To me it was all a big waste of money and probably ruined many lives.
Check out these pictures and the accompanying narrative to Rod’s recent mission trip to Ecaudor: [Click here]