November 29 2010
You can imagine the Gary Condit story as a novelist might have done it-a congressman, playing around with an intern, who disappears. With the conviction of Ingmar Guandique of the murder of Chandra Levy, the intern who died 9 years ago and whose remains were subsequently found in Rock Creek Park, there have been a few stories about how the focus on Condit ruined his career.
Unfairness to Condit has been an an underlying theme. The pursuit of Condit may have made the police slow to notice and pursue Guandique, and, if this happened, it is a shame. Guandique had time to attack at least two more women, both of whom escaped. But do we really need to feel that bad about Gary Condit? His family deserves our sympathy-absolutely-but isn't his saga better regarded as a morality tale about a congressman who played around in Washington?
The Washington Post recently talked to Condit:
We told Condit that our investigation was centered on Guandique and that The Post was preparing to publish a series of articles that would exonerate the former congressman. But he remained bitter. "I regret that I did not sue The Washington Post," he told us at the start of the interview, and he spoke at length about how he felt he had been "raped" by the police and the press.
Condit had a tougher time articulating how he felt about Levy and her murder. In the course of the hour-long interview, he didn't offer a personal or caring word about his relationship with her. He was more comfortable saying how hard it must be for Susan and Robert Levy to have lost their only daughter.
Isn't that the way it always is? The intern just wasn't that important to the married older guy. If he'd been more forthcoming-less interested in saving his own skin than in finding Miss Levy-he might have come through with a tarnished but somewhat better image. He also might have appeared innocent of the murder early and the police could have deployed their energies looking for the real killer. No tears for Mr. Condit.