Dominique Strauss-Kahn is having a bit of a rough time of it these days, what with a Bronx judge rejecting his claim of diplomatic immunity against the charges of “violent and sadistic” acts brought forth in a civil suit by the hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, an investigation continuing into his involvement in a prostitution ring, and his former rival François Hollande, the French Socialist who’s likely to be the next President of France, saying that the former IMF chief and Socialist party once-favorite “no longer has a role in political life.”
Maureen Dowd called him fat, and his wife, Anne Sinclair, was bumped from her job performing on-air election night coverage for the second round of French voting, leaving us all to imagine that, behind the scenes on the elegant Place des Vosges, the woman who once defended her husband’s freedom “to seduce” (“As long as he seduces me and I seduce him, that’s good enough for me,” she said in the wake of the Diallo scandal), isn’t finding him all that seductive.
(PHOTOS: The Case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn)
Given all this, I feel that the practice of compassion and the upcoming one year anniversary of his arrest at JFK airport now demands that we extend an olive branch to the poor man, and with it I would like to add the gift of a possible road map toward personal and political resurrection:
Come back to America, Dominique. You must know that we love a sinner – so long as he gives us a good redemption story. Something we can really sink our teeth into. Something that can play on multiple platforms. Something that can distract us from our own really grim presidential race, which is no fun at all since Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich dropped out of the picture.
Play by our rules – just a little bit – and we’ll get you back on your feet. Who knows? If you’re willing to set up residency, you might even be able eventually to launch a political career again.
Impossible, you say? Think again. We’re not as “puritanical” as your confreres like to say. Bill Clinton was never so popular as in the wake of his Monica Lewinsky disaster. Eliot Spitzer rebounded quite nicely from his own prostitution problems, and even though the John Edwards ick-factor is very, very high just now, one can easily imagine that, in a few years, a carefully managed rebranding campaign might just earn him a place in our hearts once again.
That is, if he visibly suffers. Loses and learns. Repents, and is reborn. And, somehow, makes us believe it.
I think you’re due for just this sort of rebranding. Which is why I’d like to suggest my own tailor-made six-step redemption program:
One: Take responsibility. Claim to see the error of your ways. Forget libertinism. Forget conspiracies. Give up the “it was consensual” argument. Don’t pretend prostitutes are in it for the fun. Own these words: “I am a sex addict.” Use them to message your comeback.
Two: Embark upon a program of recovery. Preferably in California. Tweet about your progress, which you may call a “process.” (But hire a publicist to keep it clean; no more talk about hot young women as “equipment,” please. And while we’re at it, no more lawyers who say things like, “I dare you to distinguish between a prostitute and a naked society woman.” Very, very bad for the brand.)
Three: Attempt to have a religious awakening. Try a cleanse. Or two or twelve. And when you’re ready to emerge from your time in the desert, get yourself a magazine cover. (“DSK: Back from the Brink”). Its purpose being to seed the market for:
Four: Your memoir. Possible title: “From J’Accuse to J’Accepte.” Or, recapturing the glory of your 2004 title, “Yes!: An Open Letter to the Children of Europe,” you might try, “No Means No!– An Open Letter to the Women of the World.” I’m just throwing around ideas here; I’m sure you have many of your own.
Five: Post-publication, you’ll need an interview, preferably tearful, with Barbara Walters or perhaps Spitzer himself — I myself am in tears at the thought of this. The presence of your famous, accomplished, beautiful, wealthy and media-savvy wife by your side is optional. Which brings us to:
Six: Run for office here. You’ve got nothing to lose. And if you fail, there’s always the reality show. Now, we could really have some fun with that.