History will record that Eric Greitens announced the end of his governorship in the grand ceremonial office on the second floor of the Missouri Capitol on Tuesday afternoon.
The end might have actually come several hours earlier and a few blocks to the southeast at the Cole County Courthouse.
There, Circuit Judge Jon E. Beetem ruled that the governor had to comply with subpoenas issued by a Missouri House committee investigating, among other things, his campaign funding and a Greitens-supporting nonprofit group called A New Missouri.
After numerous courtroom maneuvers and judicial intrigues, after the dropping of one felony charge in St. Louis and the governor claiming he would fight on to continue serving Missouri, this proved to be just too much.
A governorship dies by writ, not impeachment.
When Gerald R. Ford took over the American presidency following Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, he told the American people, “Our long national nightmare is over.”
In the case of Greitens, this seems more an unsettled nap.
Missourians learned in January about an affair the married Greitens had with a St. Louis woman in the time before he ran for the office. The allegation followed that he had taken a semi-nude photograph of the woman as leverage to keep her from talking about the relationship.
One felony indictment became two as questions piled up about the use of a charity fundraising list to fatten his campaign treasury in 2016.
An impeachment panel formed in the Missouri House, a group that grew increasingly troubled by the fundraising minefield and found an escalating credibility in the sworn testimony of the former mistress.
The Republican governor suffered, too, from the fact that he had done little, in the closed-in world of Missouri governance, to build alliances with his party mates, who control both chambers of the General Assembly.
In announcing his resignation, Greitens said he took pride in what he accomplished during his nearly 17 months in office. What did he accomplish?
He brought a conservative bearing to the governorship that appeared to match the mood of Missouri’s electorate. He held forth on children’s adoption and foster care issues. He mirrored the Trump administration in doggedly speaking about jobs and cutting regulations and honoring the military and law enforcement.
What Greitens did not do in his brief Tuesday remarks was take responsibility for the mess he made in Missouri. He confessed to being “not perfect” but never said anything on the order of, “I brought this on myself.”
As Missourians, we could have used that.
Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a farmer, Army veteran, former sheriff and legislator, will take over as governor. He has been described as “a straight arrow.”
In a state roiled by this gubernatorial controversy for most of 2018, Missourians could use a little of that, too.