Let's face it: For a significant segment of the male population, Tom Horne is The Man. He is the ultimate role model for all those people out there who want more than they deserve, who want to lie because it's easier, and who want to cheat because they can.
Now, some males (but not "guys") might want to be Brad Pitt. You know, hang out with an actress-y woman, kick ass as Billy Beane in Moneyball, make lots of money doing indecipherable commercials. But Brad Pitt is almost scary good-looking. He's way too out there.
Tom Horne, on the other hand, is as ugly as a mud fence. This man could get a job standing in front of a hospital, making people sick. (The president caught some heat for referring to the good looks of a female attorney general, but that's understandable. It's that man/woman thing that tends to slight the woman's accomplishments. Suffice it to say that President Obama never would have said the same thing about our attorney general.)
I've mentioned before that my sainted Italian mother once said to me, "There are two ways to get girls to like you: Either be good-looking or have a good personality. So you'd better get to work on that personality."
Gee, thanks, Mom.
Comedian Flip Wilson used to do this bit about ugly people. He said that if you're ugly you might as well embrace it because you're going to be ugly for a loooong time. And he noted that ugly people know who they are ... and the people sitting next to them know who they are as well. All I'm saying is that when I mention Horne's appearance, I know of which I speak.
Anyway, few of us could ever look like Brad Pitt. But we could all look like Tom Horne if we just let ourselves go enough.
People might ask what his looks have to do with this. It's not just his looks (or lack thereof) that matter. It's the combination of his looks, his ridiculous luck and his position of power that makes him the icon to which the average sleaze would aspire.
First off, he has this high-paying job that he neither deserves nor does well. He got it by engaging in really dirty politics, including using as a springboard his previous job, in which he spent most of his time attacking public school teachers.
Horne, who is married, also has a mistress. But not just any mistress. He has a bought-and-paid-for mistress, one for whom he used his position to put on the payroll. See, that's where the combination of things comes in. There's always a chance that Ugly Sewer Worker might have a mistress, but it's highly unlikely that he would be able to use his position to hire his mistress at $80,000 a year in a position for which she is completely unqualified.
Actually, (at Horne's urging) the mistress, Carmen Chenal, was initially hired by the Department of Education at a salary of $63,000 as a "program specialist" in special education, this despite the tiny fact that she has absolutely zero experience in special ed. Her salary soon got bumped to $80,000.
When Horne squeaked into the office of attorney general, he immediately set out to bring his mistress over to his new professional digs. That would make their now-famous afternoon trysts easier to coordinate. Plus, he could give her a salary bump. (Snicker.)
There was just one tiny problem: Her law license had been suspended by the State Bar for some serious ethical lapses. Horne went to bat for her and said that he would hire her if she got her license back. When somebody at the hearing suggested that supervisors might be reluctant to hire her, the ever-ballsy Horne said that he would see to it that he would hire people that would hire her. She must be really good at oral depositions.
She was reinstated on April 11, 2011, placed on two years' probation, and ordered to see a shrink. By then, she had already been working at Horne's office for three months. She now gets paid $108,000.
My favorite Horne-y tale involves his incredible dumb luck with the law. Horne was knee-deep in illegal campaign funding when he ran in 2010. The evidence was so compelling that even Carmen Chenal probably couldn't have screwed it up. However, in pursuing the case, Arizona law says that the secretary of state (currently Ken Bennett) has to go through the office of the attorney general, even if the attorney general is the same person who used illegal campaign funds while running for attorney general. Yes, sometimes the law is an ass. Horne will probably skate on that one.
Oh, yeah, there was still the matter of the fender bender that the feds witnessed after Horne and Chenal emerged from her apartment one afternoon (delightfully). Horne reportedly had his lawyer time the entering of his no-contest plea to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges to coincide with the announcement of the Jodi Arias verdict, so as to be buried in the media coverage of the high-profile murder trial. What a class act.
He's up for re-election next year. Let's those of us who don't aspire to be Tom Horne do something about that, shall we?