Claims to fame: First Republican Governor of Mississippi since 1874; “pro-business redneck” (as described by one Republican strategist); Confederate flag waver; big-time Clinton-basher; adulterer
The mystery: Suffered serious injuries in 1996 when he flipped his Jeep Cherokee on a trip from Memphis, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss. Refused to discuss the circumstances of the accident with anyone. Swore he had amnesia; that was his story, and he was sticking to it.
The truth: He was in Memphis for a clandestine rendezvous with a woman he wasn’t married to. (Wife Pat was in France at the time.) Everybody knew he was shacking up with some broad long before his road wreck; the accident just pushed the issue out into the open.
Result: Wife Pat told press Kirk had been fixing up a home for himself and his new girlfriend, but that there would be no divorce — at least not until after he finished his second term as governor, three years hence. (In truth, Pat didn’t want a divorce at all; “I will proudly continue serving as First Lady unless forced from the position,” she said.) Kirk finally spoke up, too; first he said the Fordices were working to “strengthen” their marriage — and then one-eightyed, apparently wanting to get the divorce (& remarriage) over with.
Height of hypocrisy: Was a major critic of President Clinton for the Lewinsky affair.
Last stand: In final State of the State address, compared Mississippi state legislature to former Soviet Union. Audience sat in stone silence.
Fun fact: Wanted to bring chain gangs back to Mississippi, and turn the state into the “capital of capital punishment.” (White rural Christian voters loved him for this.)
“We had to rein him in. He was throwing dirt at Clinton, but the wind was pushing it right back in his face.”
— Unnamed Republican quoted in the Washington Post
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Fordice:
The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.
— Job 24:15