Michael Vick's Next Career: Right-Wing Pundit
With his plea deal yesterday on charges of running a dog fighting operation, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick likely brought his NFL career to an end. But Vick's next calling awaits him as soon as he is released from prison. Michael Vick, it would seem, is supremely qualified to be a conservative pundit.
Far from a barrier, a felony conviction is often a feather in the cap for the aspiring right-wing radio host, Fox News commentator or conservative movement mouthpiece. After all, Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy enjoys a fine livelihood as a talk radio host and author, while Iran/Contra hatchet man Oliver North is a regular on Fox News. (His street cred was no doubt damaged when his conviction was overturned by an Appeals Court led by reliable Republican Laurence Silberman.) As they show, Michael Vick need not worry about the loss of his lucrative endorsement contracts.
As jailed Nixon aide Charles Colson can attest, finding God while behind bars definitely helps pad your resume for work among the conservative chattering classes. His prison ministries enjoy government funding. And the born-again criminal is now a featured attraction at religious right events such as Justice Sunday. (Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.)
But Michael Vick's impressive qualifications as a Republican talking head don't end there. As it turns out, casually torturing animals for fun, profit or just mere convenience is commonplace in GOP leadership circles. The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was a frequent visitor to animal shelters where the future Doctor adopted stray cats only to dissect them later as part of his learn-at-home medical studies. And more recently, it was revealed that GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney was a repeat practitioner of rooftop canine waterboarding, strapping his dog Seamus' kennel to the top of the Romney family car. Vick's conviction will keep him off the much discussed Romney-Vick '08 ticket. But if Bill Frist is any indication, his past record of animal abuse might still allow the ex-Falcons QB to make videotape diagnoses of the comatose. At the very least, he can start his own blog.
Finally, Michael Vick can play up the "family values" angle so near and dear to the radical right. His younger brother Marcus, after all, followed Vick as the star quarterback of Virginia Tech. Like Michael, Marcus made an obscene gesture to fans. After multiple run-ins with the law, Marcus Vick was expelled by Virginia Tech. In much the same way that older brother Michael claimed he would be vindicated in court, Marcus confidently predicted he would be validated in the NFL draft. And while both of the tremendously gifted brothers are now out of football, Michael on July 30th signaled to his future right-wing friends that he is on the path to redemption:
"It's a crisis situation for me, but I'm going to get through it and I feel, by the grace of God, that's the only way. I believe in the outcome at the end, and that's why I put my faith in the man upstairs."
Michael Vick's playing days may be over, but his future as a purveyor of right-wing rage is there for the taking. It may not be football, but politics is a contact sport. And in the dog-eat-dog world of no-holds-barred right-wing punditry, Michael Vick is a natural.