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A designer diva can become wrapped up in contrived imaging, which is part and parcel of being a politician’s wife. And if her husband is a next-in-line Republican, as Mr. McDonnell was before the style hit the fan, then perhaps somebody needed to gently tap the wife on the shoulder and simply say, “Political substance over town-and-country taste.”

One of the most damning allegations that came out of the closet on Tuesday was an email from the then-soon-to-be first lady. According to the 43-page indictment, Mrs. McDonnell wrote to an aide in December 2009: “I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget. I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I’m charging up in credit card debt. We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.”


Beer money and champagne taste — it’s a political killer.

“Bob is screaming,” she wrote.

“We are broke,” she wrote.

“I need help,” she wrote.

Oh, well.

America’s prisons aren’t exactly known for their behavior modification programs.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at