I admit it: At first I thought Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (right) was being childish when she kept mum after losing in the election earlier this month -- the topic of the November 7 blog "When Is Marilyn Musgrave Going to Concede Defeat to Betsy Markey?." But with each passing week, I'm feeling more and more impressed. There must be tremendous pressure on her to act like a mature human being, and yet she's standing her ground. That's a rare quality in a politician, even if it's being demonstrated in the most passive-aggressive way imaginable.
In the days that followed the aforementioned blog, other news organizations began noticing Musgrave's silence, too, with the ribbing and the revelations growing ever more embarrassing. For instance, Newsweek gave Musgrave a 78 on its "dignity index," described as "a weekly mathematical survey of dubious behavior that measures, on a scale of 1 to 100, just how low you can go." (That same week, Ralph Nader only got a 70 for asking whether Barack Obama would be an "Uncle Sam or an Uncle Tom," and then defending his remark.) Shortly thereafter, Politico shared rumors that Musgrave hadn't even bothered to thank her own campaign staff. Given that, it's no wonder that she's turned down repeated interview requests from the Rocky Mountain News, as the paper reported today. And if she's still working for her district over the course of her waning days in office, her official website shows no evidence of it. The last new entry at this writing dates back to October 3.
So what's Musgrave doing? No one seems to know for sure -- and the sense of mystery is awesome. At this point, I hope she never makes another public remark and becomes a notorious recluse -- a J.D. Salinger for people who think gay marriage will destroy America. As the years pass, there will be occasional reports about Musgrave sightings ("I saw her in the grocery store! She was buying eggs!"), and perhaps even a blurry photo or two of a woman said to resemble that onetime rising Republican star of the early 21st century. But no one will know for sure if these images are the genuine item or examples of wishful thinking by fans fascinated by a legendary woman who went from being a presidential confidante to a living ghost over the span of a single day in November 2008.
Disappearing may turn out to be Marilyn Musgrave's best career move ever. -- Michael Roberts