Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

If you accept former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s view of his attempt to justify his political world, his marriage to former Washington Redskin cheerleader Maureen McDonnell was a sham staged before voters and little else.

That’s the portrait presented to the jury in the federal trial that could go to the jury Friday and decide whether or not the McDonnells go to prison and/or face millions of dollars in fines.

Whatever the jury decides, the image of McDonnell loses what little credibility he had remaining with the voters he apparently loved more than anything else — the same voters who bought into his con for nearly all of his political life.

His defense was, at best, a hardcore dependence on “image” over everything else. His testimony revealed a monomaniacal politician who put himself over everything else — including his wife, his family, his voters and his state.

He often appeared in public, with his wife at his side, as a solid “family man” who had God as his partner.

Now, it appears, the only God in his life was his own image of himself, driven by self-determination as a political almighty. What the public saw in this trial was a man in love with himself and little else.  The trial, if nothing else, revealed a callous, shallow and corrupt man.

Yet voters elected him to office more than once — including state jobs as attorney general and then governor — and he was once considered Presidential material by those who apparently didn’t know the real Bob McDonnell.

Sadly, in many ways, McDonnell is a poster boy for the American political system — a smiling face where style triumphs substance and reality disappears from the landscape.

He’s not the only con artist in politics — just one of the few who got caught in his carefully-crafted web of lies and deceit. He was voted into office by partisans who never looked beneath the surface and didn’t care. He served a vapid agenda without substance and a fantasy disguised as philosophy.

Sadly, most of the politicians from both sides of the aisle are a lot more like McDonnell than what Virginia and America need as leaders.

Politics is a sleight-of-hand game controlled by billionaire brokers who serve agendas that have nothing to do with the needs or concerns of the masses.

Bob McDonnell is not an exception — he is just part of the murky world that supplants power without policy, prejudice instead of principle and platitudes without point.

He’s a symptom of a far bigger problem that poses a far greater threat to our way of life. That threat is non-partisan because it exists within both parties and their philosophies.

It thrives because the only ones with the power to change it are the ones who benefit the most from the current, corrupt and carnivorous cadre that controls the governments and our future.

If Bob McDonnell is convicted, and that is still as big “if,” the punishment will not be enough.

It never is.