Evans, President Bush, and Schelske
Republicans suffer from a dearth of high-profile celebrity allies, but country star Sara Evans was an exception: an award-winning Nashville star and mother of three, she was a frequent entertainer at rallies for George W. Bush, and her husband, Craig L. Schelske, became an activist in GOP politics. “Evans sees a natural crossover between country tunes and Republican politics,” the Portland Oregonian wrote in 2002. “Like any country star worth her rhinestones, she sings about daddies and mommas, truck stops and broken hearts,” but in accordance with her Christian faith, “she [will not] write nor sing songs about adultery.” Before Evans’ exit this week from the network celeb talent contest Dancing with the Stars, a straight-faced Tom DeLay urged Republicans to vote for Evans in her dance-off against fellow contestant Jerry Springer: “We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans.”
This week, Evans dropped out of the top-rated twinkle-toed dog and pony show, alleging that her soon-to-be-ex husband is a pervy, porn-hording adulterer. Somewhere, White House flacks may have felt they dodged a bullet: in 2002, Schelske was a White House-backed candidate for a House seat. But for the good sense of Republican voters in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, who failed to elect him, Schelske could have been a Bush-anointed Congressman — and the Republicans’ right wing could have had another “family values” scandal on its hands.
As it is, the White House can’t be too stoked. Schelske was a Steering Committee Member for Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, and kept his hand in national GOP politics via his Craig PAC, which has been raising money to support Republican candidates in 2006, and to “assist the Republican Party in promoting common-sense, conservative policies to guide elected officials.” But now that Evans’ divorce filing is public, tabloid readers are likely wondering about the disconnect between Craig PAC and what Evans’ court filing calls “Craigs Lists.”
According to Evans, Schelske has recently taken leave of that good-’ol common sense he’s been promoting. The gory court filing — obtained by the Nashville Tennessean and posted on its web site — alleges everything from intoxication and verbal abuse to adultery and internet sexcapades. Specifically, the documents claim that Schelske was caught red-handed by one of the couples’ three young children while watching a porn flick on TV, that he cheated on his wife with the children’s former nanny, and that he stored on his computer scores of photographs of himself posing with a hard-on, including images of Schelske having sex with other women: “On his computer, husband maintains ‘Craigs Lists,’” the filing claims. “Many of them involve requests for three party sex and anal sex. Husband’s ‘Craigs Lists’ are composed of personal ads on his personal sex engine involving him and prospective sex partners.’” (In 2004, when I interviewed Evans for a parenting magazine, she was adamant in explaining that “I don’t let my nanny raise my kids”; however, when on the road, the family traveled in close quarters, with their nanny sleeping on the same bus as Evans, Schelske, and their young children.)