Manchester, N.H. - The most surprising development at the recent meeting of the Administration Committee of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that was tackling the "Spice" overdose epidemic was the appearance of reactionary radio talk show host Rich Girard in the aldermanic chambers. It was the first public appearance by the man known as "Stinky" since the news of his sexting of a fan broke in the press.
The question on the minds of many people I have encountered since breaking the Girard sexting scandal is simple: What makes Rich stink? What makes him such a loathsome lout, so willing to attack others in the most vicious manner possible, not only engaging in petty personal attacks but reveling in the pain he causes? What makes this poisonous toad then croak "Victim!" as soon as his stunning hypocrisy is revealed? What makes this man such a shameless bully? What spun his soul into that of a world class phony who cried crocodile tears during the first half hour of his show after he was caught with his pants down, who then merrily went back to business in the second half hour after delivering his transparently false mea culpa?
The answer provided by people who have known Rich Girard since he was a child is this: A sense of personal inadequacy.
Didn't Measure Up
The diminutive, balding reactionary gadfly apparently always was a pain the backside, even as a kid attending Parkside Junior High.
"He was a needler, even then," one man who knew him when he was an adolescent told me recently. "Always needling, trying to push someone's buttons."
Another woman who had known Girard at this same time told me some months ago that Rich the kid had been a quarrelsome, obnoxious child, a true brat who always complained about everything. She found his behavior stunning in light of the fact that his parents were such dear, sweet people. She also told me she had recently encountered him after many years and was appalled by the fact that he hadn't changed at all. He was a 40-something adolescent.
When I asked the man I was interviewing about this, he agreed that Girard was obnoxious.
"He's mean," the man said. "It comes from a sense of inadequacy. He was never good at sports. He never measured up."
For an adolescent with the normal desire to fit in, his failure to excel at sports, in which he evaluated himself against other boys his age, apparently was devastating. An obstreperous child to begin with, his humiliation in junior high, as he was making the transition to young manhood, turned him bitter.
"A needler," the man repeated. "A bully."
Not a physical bully, but one deft in psychological warfare.
"He was known as 'Stinky' even then," I was told, which startled me.
It is not much of a secret that Rich Girard is obsessed with Joe Kelly Levassseur, in a most unhealthy way.
"Simple jealousy," one Queen City politico told me. "He would like to be Joe."
How so? I asked this man who was a player behind the scenes. I told him I knew Girard was a failure as a politician, having been humiliated when he gave up his alderman-at-large seat to run for mayor a baker's dozen years ago. He had failed as a politician, while Joe was still going strong. I pointed out that Girard's still burning hope to be mayor had been dashed by the sex scandal.
"Oh, don't count on that," the politico said. "Stinky will always want to be mayor. Joe Kelly wants to be mayor. Everybody wants to be mayor.
I didn't tell him I had no desire to be mayor. What I did was ask him what was the real germ of the animus Stinky has for Levasseur. Ideology? The fact that he was a factotum and water carrier for The Wiz and now plays lickspittle to Uncle Teddy Gatsas while Joe remains his own man?
The politico sighed.
"Simple jealousy," he repeated. "Look, Joe is tall and good looking," the latter of which was a revelation to me, "and is popular among regular people, not your typical insider [expletive deleted]."
I admitted that I was surprised by how many Democrats, even liberals, liked Joe personally, respecting his "testicular fortitude", to use a Tammy Simmonsism.
"Joe is our Manny Ramirez," the politico said. "Just like Manny being Manny was 'Manny being Manny'...."
"Joe being Joe is 'Joe being Joe'."
"Bingo," he politico said. "He's also changing, maturing, probably since he became a father. Having children, having children you care for, and being with a good woman will do that to a man who was as reckless as Joe has been."
"Look," the politico said, "Joe has a future. Stinky has what? He's totally dependent on the good graces of Will Infantine, and don't believe any of that [expletive deleted] about Infantine wanting to fire Stinky. Infantine would be lost without Stinky. He does all the work at the station."
"The same station that Infantine told me he didn't own?"
It was time for the politico to make his exit.
"Listen, and I will say it slowly that so even a concrete-headed half-Irishman like you can understand: Stinky... is ... jealous ... of ... Joe.
"He'd like to be six feet tall instead of four feet ten. He'd like to be the 'Hail fellow well met' type of regular guy that people enjoy being with. He'd like to own a popular spot that people like coming to. He'd like to be in a healthy relationship rather than being the bullying paterfamilias chez Girard and hiding in the rumpus room, making like some horny old fart on the sly, begging for nookie from some poor kid handed around like a joint by the libertarians."
He then hit me with a bombshell. "You do know that Stinky introduced the girl to Phil Greazzo, and Greazzo took her to a Republican bash, don't you, or are your sources drying up?"
While I was digesting that bit of information, the politico gave me his parting remarks: "Would you rather be Joe Levasseur, who some day just might be mayor, or a bitter little handyman, a messenger taking orders from Infantine and delivering messages for him and Mayor Fatass?
"You know the answer," he said. "When Stinky dies and by some miracle gets to heaven, he's going to yell at god for letting him lose to Bob Baines."
Is it a sense of personal inadequacy that is the root cause of Rich "Stinky" Girard's bullying behavior and habitual nastiness? Is it a sense of personal inadequacy that fuels the jealousy that has made Stinky the self-appointed nemesis of Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur?
Is Rich Girard's failure to measure up to his male peers the root cause of his appalling treatment of women? Not only did he try to sexually exploit a vulnerable young woman fan who looked up at him as a hero, but sources tell me that he sexually harassed a woman employee at his Primerica financial services office. The woman reportedly quit when Primerica did not take her charges seriously.
Apparently, she was not the only woman Girard had harassed, but the first one that complained to his bosses. Girard reportedly was given a pass by Primerica as he was a top producer for the high-pressure financial services company many in the industry consider little better than a pyramid scheme. It's little wonder that Girard, always ready to exploit the vulnerable, remains firmly ensconced at Primerica.
Rumors about Girard the sex harasser have circulated among the Queen City cognoscenti long before I began writing about local Manchester politics. The rumor of Girard the sex harasser is a near universal "tip" I receive from people whom I interview about Girard.
If the sources are right and Girard did indeed sexually harass his former Primerica employee, this completes a portrait of a profoundly troubled man working out his inadequacies not just on his perceived (and mostly imaginary) enemies, but more troublingly, on vulnerable women. Girard, a "Professional Christian" in his public life, likes to pose as the savior and defender of women and families. He is nothing of the sort; rather, he is the most monumental hypocrite in Queen City history since the passing of William Loeb.
Weeks before the sexting scandal broke, I appeared on television and predicted that I would not be surprised if Rich Girard was caught in a sexually compromising situation. That came to pass. Do not be surprised if, in the near future, other rumors about Girard turn out to be true.