What He Said

I thought this Dickerson piece in Slate about Sanford was perfect:

Mark Sanford is no longer missing, but he’s obviously lost. The South Carolina governor’s press conference was excruciating: apology, followed by self-flagellation, followed by apology. It was like watching a man light himself on fire. I thought about his kids mustering up the courage to watch it on YouTube some day. I thought about his wife having to suffer the anger and the loss. Perhaps even worse, she’s also going to have to endure the armies of pity and the people like me trying to guess at what her feelings are.

***

I’m not offering Sanford’s humanity as an excuse. I’m just marveling at how few people stopped for a moment to even nod to it. My thoughtful colleague William Saletan and Andrew Sullivan were exceptions. Maybe there are others. Maybe people expressed these views in private conversations. But in the e-mails and Twitter entries and blog posts I read in the aftermath, Sanford’s human ruin was greeted with what felt like antiseptic glee. The pain he’s caused, the hypocrisies he’s engaged in, seemed like license to deny him any humanity at all.

Sanford’s fumbling efforts to explain how he’s tried to rescue himself with his faith offered some people an opportunity to make fun of his religion, as if a confused, lost, flawed person were the right spokesman for anything. People tend to think the most awful thing about a person is the most true thing. They also apparently think it’s the most true thing about his or her associations. So an e-mail arrived asking, “[I]s there any Republican not sleeping around?” Maybe Sanford should have been a presidential candidate. He apparently represents an entire party and an entire religion.

What Mark Sanford seemed to be trying to say is that he screwed up, in the biggest possible way, because he lost his bearings. He lost his self-control. He was indulgent. He forgot that there were other humans in the world. Yet in the constant flow of abuse, joke-making, and grand conclusions about his failings, it seemed everyone having a good time pointing at his self-indulgence was also engaging in a form of it.

I’m not trying to be a scold, because I know I can be as bad as anyone when it comes to the schadenfreude. And I know that Sanford has worked to marginalize a number of people who only want to be able to be married. But unlike when I watched Ensign last week and saw a tough politico with no soul doing whatever he could to just salvage his career, when I watched Sanford yesterday, I saw a confused, and lost, and hurting person. I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.






218 replies
  1. 1
    SGEW says:

    Thank you, John. O! Humanity. Love and ruin. Who are we to judge?

  2. 2
    flukebucket says:

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

  3. 3
    John Cole says:

    @SGEW: Except I am judging. I am reacting completely differently towards Sanford than I did Ensign.

    Like I said, I’m no better than anyone else.

  4. 4
    James Gary says:

    I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.

    Great. Nominate the man for Best Actor, then, and let’s move on.

  5. 5
    WereBear says:

    You have an extraordinary depth of humanity.

    What I saw was a guy who refused stimulus money for his entire state. Putting the citizens of that state at great risk while he has an estate and a rich wife, who threw him out two weeks ago because he kept seeing his mistress in South America. On the taxpayer’s dime. Over Father’s Day weekend. And didn’t make any provisions for transfer of power or reporting to foreign governments when heads of state visit.

    But I’m supposed to feel sorry for him. Got it.

  6. 6
    Zifnab says:

    when I watched Sanford yesterday, I saw a confused, and lost, and hurting person.

    A confused and lost and hurting person who would happily watch his constituents starve for lack of food stamps or get kicked to the curb for lack of unemployment aid if he thought it would give him a leg up in 2012. An injured soul that probably decried the Laurence v Texas verdict. A tortured man plagued by inner demons, but more than happy to wave the confederate flag above the capital building.

    I’m with you, John. I don’t care what he does with his personal life. He can cry all the tears he wants over his broken marriage, but that doesn’t make him any less worse of a governor.

    P.S. Oh, and he backs the death penalty for sex crimes.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....A9609C8B63
    So, you know he’s a swell guy. :-p

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    And I know that Sanford has worked to marginalize a number of people who only want to be able to be married.

    but there was something genuine about Sanford

    These two phrases are wholly incongruent. He’s NOT genuine if he’s railing against gay marriages as a scourge to traditional marriage when he’s out fucking some whore on the side. He’s a PHONY. Hypocrite, liar, and PHONY. Looks like you may be one of the last to see it.

  8. 8
    Trabb's Boy says:

    I actually do understand that it is not necessarily hypocrisy for Republicans to argue for traditional “family values” while cheating on their wives or having a weekend of meth and male hookers or whatever. The argument is that everyone is weak and has failings, including people who believe in family values, and that the system has to be structured to favor the “right” thing, otherwise even more people will give into those failings.

    So it’s not the initial hypocrisy that sticks in my craw, it’s the post-coital hypocrisy. If they want the system to be unforgiving, then they do not get to buck the system. You say Clinton should be impeached for getting his dick sucked? Then resign your Governorship when you find yourself in the same situation. The double standard is a real sympathy killer.

    Plus, there’s the whole abandoning your very important job for a week thing. What would get you fired from McDonalds should not be shrugged of in the chief executive of a state.

  9. 9
    JenJen says:

    Ugh. I’m just not feeling it. The person who got closest to what I’ve been thinking was Mike Barnicle on Morning Joe today, when he said, “It wasn’t the Governor standing up there. It was just some guy in love.”

    And I guess that’s what I found so icky about the whole thing. The guy seemed to show a lot more remorse toward breaking up with his mistress than what he did to his family; is it maybe a “woman thing” to have felt such utter disgust when he spoke of crying for 5 days, over a broken heart? More importantly, he showed almost no remorse for his severe deriliction of duty while he jetted to Argentina to indulge his urges.

    Maybe his rambling, heart-on-a-sleeve speech of yesterday worked for some people, but it completely turned me off. Get up there, read a statement about how you are working on some deeply personal matters, and go away. I’m not your therapist, Sanford.

  10. 10
    ItAintEazy says:

    Oh, so I should practice empathy for that guy?

    Fuckim.

  11. 11
    Porco Rosso says:

    It’s Sanford’s republican responsibility distortion field at work.

  12. 12
    numbskull says:

    I completely agree that Mark Sanford has made a hash of his personal life. I take no joy from his pain. None.

    But, none of the pain and anguish that Dickerson writes about (that pain and anguish of the children and wife having all this publicly aired, that is) would even exist if Sanford hadn’t held a presser to just talk about his personal shortcomings (pun intended).

    Nobody held a gun to Sanford’s head to make him stand in front of millions and embarrass the hell out of himself, his wife, and his kids. Nobody.

    He could have, and should have, resigned for dereliction of duties as governor. Period. That’s all that needed to be said in the presser. The rest is personal stuff that is none of my business, none of your business, and none of anyone else’s business. It’s just not.

    But what did Sanford do? He gets up there and and the only thing he does is embarrass his wife and kids. Why? Because by doing this he knows that the focus will remain on the personal and not the professional. It allows him to keep his job AND it heads off questions about the actual important stuff, like why he shouldn’t be impeached by the citizens of South Carolina for skipping out for a week.

    BTW, has anyone asked that his pay be docked for four days?

  13. 13
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    Speaking from experience: even lost, confused and hurting people can still hurt other people deeply. The hurt they deal out isn’t lessened by their incompetence at being mature human beings.

    Sanford made a number of horrible decisions, and some part of me feels a little pity for him, but this was a PLANNED press conference. It speaks a lot to his basic character that he paid quick lip service to his family’s pain, but spend a lot more time meandering through an account of his own infatuation and pain and guilt. Not one iota of the pain and guilt he felt lifted the burden from his family, and CHOOSING to ad-lib his way through the most important speech of his life was also very illuminating.

  14. 14
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Sanford’s fumbling efforts to explain how he’s tried to rescue himself with his faith offered some people an opportunity to make fun of his religion,

    Dickerson is right about this. It is what initially set me off about his mea culpa to where I didn’t pay attention to the sadness and lostness of his overall delivery. I guess the God stuff was a knee jerk obligatory response for a wingnut in SC. It wasn’t till later when I calmed down did the agony of his demeanor register. I still have no sympathy for him and the epic stupidity he displayed, and I don’t care if he was in love, or lust, but his pain and honesty needs to be noted.

  15. 15
    harlana pepper says:

    @James Gary: Indeed. I think Sanford really is, however, not based in reality right now. Otherwise, he would go ahead and resign asap. Dropping off the face of the earth for 5 days is just unacceptable for a man in his position. The affair aside, it was incredibly reckless. Have a hunch that Jenny Sanford was the source of the anonymous e-mails, btw.

  16. 16
    Edwin says:

    Every day, some number of men are tempted to cheat on their wives, and don’t. Many stay faithful for the duration. If I have no sympathy for Sanford, it doesn’t mean I’m holier-than-thou. It just means I’m sick of the Jimmy Swaggart I-have-sinned scenes for the narcissists who cheat repeatedly.

  17. 17
    donovong says:

    I don’t give a shit if he was out on the Ap Trail fucking bears or in Argentina fucking a woman-not-his-wife. Or both.

    What I do give a shit about is that fact that he is a liar and hypocrite and behaved as if he were entitled to do anything he fucking wanted to while also the Governor of the state I happen to live in. The brief moment of “genuine” yesterday was surrounded by years of the most inexcusable mismanagement of a state and intentional dereliction of his duties toward its citizens, not the least of which was the patently absurd rejection of stimulus money. His few tears whilst he experienced his public comedown don’t mitigate a goddam thing.

    The worst part of the whole fiasco is that the Lt. Gov is a dipshit as well, so we would be no better off if Sanford resigns.

    What a clusterfuck.

  18. 18
    jrg says:

    Maybe Sanford is a decent person, despite being a culture war hypocrite. He did sound confused about where his heart belongs. He’s certainly in a lot of pain.

    I think that the people (myself included) who have been ragging on him want to make this a “teachable moment”. A lot of us are sick of hearing people like him say that gay marriage (or sex before marriage) is a threat to healthy adult relationships, when he’s out banging a hot latina.

    It’s also rich to hear him say that the lights and cameras don’t help the situation when that’s exactly what he was involved with in the Clinton fiasco (only multiplied by 100).

    “Live and let live” implies reciprocity. Since it was never extended, a lot of us don’t feel the need to do this guy any favors.

    Personally, I hope Sanford puts his life back together and finds peace. I also hope that when he does, he re-evaluates the way he treats other people, their relationships, and their privacy.

  19. 19
    DougJ says:

    It was like watching a man light himself on fire

    No, it wasn’t. That’s overdoing it.

  20. 20
    michael says:

    The humanity of his narcissism was all that I took from his confession. At one point he lists the people that he has harmed in this order: The mistress, the people of SC, his wife, and then his kids. While gloating over something like this is perhaps a tired response, when the guy slated to speak at the Values Voter Summit about how the sodomites are destroying traditional marriage is having an affair…

  21. 21
    Barbara says:

    I suspect the difference is that Ensign was seeking recreational sex after his wife had already left him — so he slept with his employee’s wife, though he later reconciled with his wife.

    Sanford, on the other hand, seems to me more typical of someone for whom an affair is the last best flashing red light signaling that a marriage is in trouble, for whatever reason. He isn’t reconciled to either staying with or leaving his wife so he acted out and let others get the ball of consequences rolling. So he comes back, and guess what — he’s still conflicted and still in love with another woman. Not fun, not fun at all.

    I have no idea what he should do because maybe he doesn’t love his wife, and though cheating is wrong, I also think it’s wrong to try to box human beings into a one size fits all fundiegelical bullet point memo for how to live your life. If only Sanford had seen the light sooner. Reading the comments that his wife made, which sound like they had been lifted directly from that memo, made me kind of ill, and kind of hope that the governor can keep the passion in his life.

  22. 22
    Xanthippas says:

    I saw a confused, and lost, and hurting person. I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.

    That’s because you possess some basic decency and humanity. But it irks me that people want to write about how it’s okay to feel bad for Sanford, and how ugly it is for people to be so mean about him, when his wife gets to wake up and read in the paper e-mails where he describes his lover’s sexy hips. Yes people can be ugly, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve it. And anybody who wants to write a whole column about how authentic his suffering is, should also ponder for a moment how authentic the suffering of his wife and children might be.

    Somebody should tell Dickerson that there are better candidates for articles whose purpose is to scold people for being mean.

  23. 23
    Deborah says:

    For me, the glee came more in “Oh come on…the government (Sanford’s office) is lying to us….they’re covering up…stay on them, press…They’ve lost the governor, but this happens all the time?” If the man had just lined up his ducks before taking off, like any semi-competent executive, this would still be a secret unless Jenny Sanford opted to file for divorce and cite his ongoing affair as the reason. For which I think a lot of Republicans must be grateful that at least this came out before they nominated him.

    I think he is really in love, but that makes me feel that much more for his wife and children….and I get what he’s saying about religion guiding you, but all I could think with that line was “because nothing else, like respect for your wife and compassion for your children, would hold you back?”

    I will give him props for asking for a zone of privacy around his wife and children, and I hope they get it. (He may get props for not asking her to attend the presser, but for now I’m giving her props for not showing up to stand supportively in the background.)

  24. 24

    I think I grok what John is talking about. I think Sanford, and to a large extent, a lot of fundie religious conservatives, think that if they spout the party line, go to church, pray, and do all of those “right” things, they will be immune to human weakness. As if being religious and believing in Jesus represents a magic protection spell that relieves them of the constant battle we all have to do the right thing. I’m sure he quite honestly believed that when people like Bill Clinton messed up, he was right to castigate them because they never would have screwed up if they just did what he did and lived the religious life. But yesterday, he just found out that no matter how pious you are, you are still human, and you can’t rely on some invisible sky buddy to do the hard work for you. You have to make the moral choices yourself.

    So to that extent, you can definitely feel for a person when they realize, very publicly, that a belief system they had for their entire life doesn’t quite work. Of course, that doesn’t negate the awful things he has done as governor and the awful things he has done to his family, and if he doesn’t take this opportunity to reflect on his choices and his beliefs he will not become a better person, but for now he’s like Wile E. Coyote who has suddenly realized that he’s run right over the edge of the moral cliff and no longer is there anything beneath his feet.

  25. 25
    harlana pepper says:

    I wish I could find a clip of one of Sanford’s appearances on Washington Journal. Some poor man who had lost his job and was trying to care for his family, including his parents, called in about the stimulus and downright humbly begged the man not to put politics before the people. Sanford’s callous reaction to this poor, unfortunate soul spoke volumes about his character, how he feels about the less fortunate of his constituents, and whether or not he is deserving of all this hand-wringing. Color me unmoved.

  26. 26
    Jackie says:

    I agree that he was a more sympathetic figure than Ensign. Falling in love is one of nature’s great drugs and I hope all of us have had the opportunity to be giddy on the high. He is hardly alone in writing bad prose under the influence and I don’t need to read the emails . I find it distasteful.

    There are alot of things people do that I disapprove of. I am able to bear in mind that, usually, their behavior is none of my business. I certainly don’t think that everything that I think is wrong should be illegal. I’ll be happy to leave him alone to his clean up his own mess. The problem is the need to stomp out the power of people, like him, who fight to make our personal lives subject not just to disapproval ,but legal sanction. He’s the one who stood up and said an affair should disqualify other people from their elected office. He ran for office telling people that’s what he stood for. I’m asking him to judge himself by the same criteria. If he runs again and gets elected than people know what they’re getting.

  27. 27
    georgia pig says:

    John, I hope you don’t mind being reminded of a similar dimwitted defense you made of Jim Cramer’s tearful confessions after getting schooled by Jon Stewart. Cramer’s tears were later revealed to be a bunch of manipulative horseshit. Just because someone immolates on stage in the midst of getting caught with his pants down doesn’t provide atonement.

    Larry King had a couple of psychologists on last night who made this point. A mea culpa from Sanford would mean a lot more if it came after a resignation and a couple of months of soul searching, rather than in the middle of being caught in the act. This likely isn’t real penance, and more likely it’s sentimental manipulation (e.g., some have alluded to a setup for a soon-to-follow “I bared my soul to Jesus and have been redeemed” comeback).

    You seem to be vulnerable to this particular ploy, probably because you have a soft spot for puppies and kittens that shit on the floor. Remember, however, that dogs and cats are not known for guile, while it is one of the most uniquely human traits.

    BTW, quoting Dickerson (who, of course, quotes Lord Saletan) is a sure way to lose credibility, and Sullivan (he of the mancrush on George Bush) tends to be a bigger sucker than you.

  28. 28
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Running off to Argentina, while you are a Governor of a state is highly irresponsible behavior, he should resign and take the time to fix his messed up personal life. After watching parts of yesterday’s press conference I am not sure he is up to handling the stresses of his very public job.

    John, I am curious what did you think of the entire Clinton impeachment saga, back when you were a Republican.

  29. 29
    Sputnik_Sweetheart says:

    Maybe it is because I’m a bad person, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for Gov. Sanford. It doesn’t matter to me that he had an affair– that is a private matter between himself and his wife, which the two of them were working to move past. What matters to me is that a state’s executive took off for days without telling anyone where he was going and how long he would be away. That is just not acceptable and in my opinion, he should resign.

  30. 30
    gah says:

    Adultery: just between Sanford and his wife

    Dereliction of duty and misuse of state funds: unforgivable

  31. 31
    Fern says:

    @Barbara:

    Yes – her statement was a little distressing. It was written by a very, very angry (justifiably) woman, but the tone of self-righteousness was not pleasant, and I don’t imagine she loves him either – and maybe hasn’t for a long time. It’s all very sad.

  32. 32
    Xenos says:

    I get no pleasure out of watching a man be humiliated. But if he learns some humility in the process, he will be a better human being for it.

    He might even be a decent public official some day. He has a lot of bad karma to unwind, so he had better get to work.

  33. 33
    tagged45 says:

    It was like watching a man light himself on fire

    No, it wasn’t. That’s overdoing it.

    It was more like watching Glenn Beck pretend to light a man on fire.

  34. 34
    The Saff says:

    What JenJen said:

    More importantly, he showed almost no remorse for his severe deriliction of duty while he jetted to Argentina to indulge his urges.

    I haven’t heard a whole lot about this aspect of the story. Sure he’s a lost soul who’s acting like a love-struck teenager. I have no sympathy for him since he won’t have to worry about paying the mortgage or his kids’s college educations or his health insurance. Maybe if he had had a little more sympathy for those less fortunate than him (and he wasn’t a sanctimonious hypocrite), I’d feel a little sorry for him. As such, I don’t. At least he can afford a therapist.

  35. 35

    I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.

    Genuine is as genuine does. I’d feel a lot more sympathy for Sanford if he’d resigned, or said he’d discovered that his worldview wasn’t working.

    I do pity the man, but not the politician.

    I also don’t like the double standard. People like Ensign and Sanford (or fucking newt gingrich) get this “live and let live” treatment, yet hold Democrats (and poor folks) to a different standard.

  36. 36
    Fern says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I don’t think he is capable of doing his job either – he shows every sign of being in a major crisis and being unable to think clearly or make good decisions.

  37. 37
    Johnny B. Guud says:

    But unlike when I watched Ensign last week and saw a tough politico with no soul doing whatever he could to just salvage his career

    I agree with this. Watching Ensign reminded me of Edwards and his crocodile tears—completely bereft of any sincerity, trying to salvage any scrap of political viability.

    Sanford was cleary a broken man yesterday during the presser, and he seemed like he didn’t give a damn about his political future.

  38. 38
    R-Jud says:

    @Doctor Gonzo:

    I think Sanford, and to a large extent, a lot of fundie religious conservatives, think that if they spout the party line, go to church, pray, and do all of those “right” things, they will be immune to human weakness. As if being religious and believing in Jesus represents a magic protection spell that relieves them of the constant battle we all have to do the right thing.

    I was about to say this. Part of what attracts about the teachings attributed to Christ is the idea that you are loved even as you sin. I think it is just sad that so many Christianists forget that teaching until they themselves are caught sinning.

    For me, the initial scrambling on the part of the press flacks was the funny bit. This– Sanford’s meltdown, and the fact that he probably will not recognize how his private behavior makes a hypocrite of him politically– is sad and infuriating.

  39. 39
    Rey says:

    The most striking thing that stood out for me was that he apologized to the mistress first, then his family. Maybe, that’s why his wife wasn’t by his side because he admitted to her that he really loves this other women. Oh well, Palin/Huckabee or Romney/Jindal 2012 !! Good times ahead…

  40. 40
    Stacey Green says:

    Sanford was about to be publicly exposed by his e-mail trail, AND HE KNEW IT. He gets no credit from me for having a weepy press conference before that could happen. That’s like quitting so you can’t be fired – it does nothing to improve your standing with anyone but yourself.

  41. 41
    passerby says:

    I’m cross posting this comment I just made on the “Reward the Good” thread.

    I think it’s a sign of the times that publishing someone’s intimate correspondences would appall some while others don’t give it a second thought. It brings to mind the days when a glimpse of a woman’s ankle was shockingly indecent—nowadays women can wear dresses cut all the way to here and we don’t give it a second thought.

    So cultural change comes with each passing decade. The mini skirts that I wore in my youth must have been horrifying to those of the previous generations, for me they were the fashion of the day, what’s the big deal, right?
    Like LauraW, I’m not trying to debate the issue, nor am I preaching. I’m not defending my reaction nor condemning other’s for not sharing my sensibilities.

    On the issue of why publish these emails, setting emotional response aside, I have reasonable questions and observations—these may be rhetorical:

    What purpose is served by releasing these emails?

    Sanford had already made a public confession before they were published. The threat to release them may have been the force behind his decision to fess up, and so they had already served their purpose, so why do it anyway?

    What justice is served by releasing the emails?

    It wasn’t a matter of a court order, or anything to do with legalities. Maddow (who could not bring herself to read them aloud on her show but put one up on her screen) claims that it explains why all this is happening. The emails don’t explain anything. Interesting that Geena, the reporter, said they checked with their atty prior to publishing. Well, if a lawyer said it was okay to do then, it’s okay, right? This falls into the “I’ve done nothing illegal” column of defenses which, though not illegal, are arguably unethical.

    Who was vindicated by releasing the emails?

    Mrs. Sanford and their sons are the ones to bear the brunt of humiliation. She had already be told about the affair.

    As a public watchdog, how does The State serve their community and public at large by printing the emails?

    Since Sanford had already confessed, printing the contents of the email for public consumption essentially boils down to dishing dirt. The only service they provide is to themselves. No doubt the contents of the emails are sensational and the media loves them some sensationalism. After all, inquiring minds want to know. In the twisted logic of their justification there is no heart and no soul, only imagined glory for the reporter who broke the story, and a temporary increase in circulation which an editor’s primary goal.

    So, in my view, the release of the emails was unnecessary and therefore done for its sensational value, appealing to our voyeuristic nature, which we unconsciously feed without regard for something that used to be known as decency.

    No doubt, Sanford is an asshat politician and, schadenfreude and scorn aside, how do we benefit as a society and as individuals by riding him down with humiliation when he’s already done an excellent job of fucking up his life all by himself.

    What good?

  42. 42
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Meh.

    I guess the political gain from having yet one more Republican be revealed as not being able to live up to what he and most of them are always preaching to others is worth noting and even welcoming, if it helps reduce the power these puritan moralists have over others in the country.

    On the other hand the utter absurdity of how this perfectly human occurrence is turned into such high drama in the US never ceases to amaze me, not to mention somewhat repulse me and make me embarrassed for us.

  43. 43
    liberal says:

    @georgia pig:

    A mea culpa from Sanford would mean a lot more if it came after a resignation …

    Yeah, actions speak louder than words.

  44. 44
    The Saff says:

    I wish I could find a clip of one of Sanford’s appearances on Washington Journal. Some poor man who had lost his job and was trying to care for his family, including his parents, called in about the stimulus and downright humbly begged the man not to put politics before the people. Sanford’s callous reaction to this poor, unfortunate soul spoke volumes about his character, how he feels about the less fortunate of his constituents, and whether or not he is deserving of all this hand-wringing. Color me unmoved.

    Exactly!

  45. 45

    I realize I’m piling on here. The level of hubris that comes from “I have a job where people depend on me, but I really, *really* need to see my mistress.

    “Oh, and my job, in my eyes, is playing cold political gains with people’s lives and futures in the name of a culture war. When caught, I will hide behind baby Jeebus to make sure that you remember you’re supposed to pity me.

    “I will not resign, because that would mean that I not only take responsibility, but that I realize my actions should have consequences.

    “Oh, and if you do take pity on me, and I’m somehow re-elected, I’ll make sure to remind everyone that Democrats are mommies and coddlers, and point out that only a strong Daddy, who flies off to fuck mistresses and screw the poor is just what this country needs.”

    Dems get suckered again.

  46. 46
    slag says:

    I didn’t watch the press conference, and if I did I probably would feel more sympathetic. But @Trabb’s Boy makes a good point. Sanford voted to impeach Clinton. Yet he didn’t resign his governorship after this affair (which has been going on for a year). Even after he just bailed on his state for several days. In fact, all indications are that he wouldn’t have admitted his behavior at all if he didn’t get caught outright.

    The reality is that I don’t think many of us care what people do with their personal lives. Which is really why we didn’t care so much about the Clinton affairs. But when you’re publicly enforcing standards for others that you reject for yourself, you should be held accountable for it. Yes, we’re all hypocrites in our own ways. And we should expect to be held accountable for that hypocrisy when it makes itself known.

    That said, I do think one day of castigation for the guy was enough. Dragging it on is just sad.

  47. 47

    I saw a man who looked like he was trying to destroy himself.

    Sanford has the ability to cheat on his wife and still not recognize that others have human failings and might have come to the wrong decisions in a moment of passion. We have Sanford who wants the Ten Commandments posted in every classroom but can’t seem to get his lobes around #7. Sanford, and this is a hoot, believes in abstinence-only sex education and can’t even keep it in his own pants. So does he really expect fifteen year-olds to have a moral superiority and greater self-control than such a man as himself?

    I’d have more respect for him if Sanford came out and said something like, “I’ve viewed a lot of these things in the light of my behavior and the whole Ten Commandments on the schoolroom wall is not a guarantee for moral behavior. I’ve got a Bible in my desk drawer. I realize that if I can fall prey to my own passion then a teenager falling in love for the first time won’t be protected from unwanted pregnancies by merely teaching abstinence-only sex education.” But he won’t. He, or the clown who replaces him, will continue with the same hypocritical garbage that the Right feeds its base.

    Yes, I feel sorry and embarrassed for a man who destroys himself. I feel more sorry for the people he’s destroyed.

  48. 48

    I saw a man who looked like he was trying to destroy himself.

    Sanford has the ability to cheat on his wife and still not recognize that others have human failings and might have come to the wrong decisions in a moment of passion. We have Sanford who wants the Ten Commandments posted in every classroom but can’t seem to get his lobes around #7. Sanford, and this is a hoot, believes in abstinence-only sex education and can’t even keep it in his own pants. So does he really expect fifteen year-olds to have a moral superiority and greater self-control than such a man as himself?

    I’d have more respect for him if Sanford came out and said something like, “I’ve viewed a lot of these things in the light of my behavior and the whole Ten Commandments on the schoolroom wall is not a guarantee for moral behavior. I’ve got a Bible in my desk drawer. I realize that if I can fall prey to my own passion then a teenager falling in love for the first time won’t be protected from unwanted pregnancies by merely teaching abstinence-only sex education.” But he won’t. He, or the clown who replaces him, will continue with the same hypocritical garbage that the Right feeds its base.

    Yes, I feel sorry and embarrassed for a man who destroys himself. I feel more sorry for the people he’s destroyed.

  49. 49
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Fuck ‘im. People like Mark Sanford are the reason this world sucks as much as it does.

  50. 50
    r€nato says:

    So an e-mail arrived asking, “[I]s there any Republican not sleeping around?” Maybe Sanford should have been a presidential candidate. He apparently represents an entire party and an entire religion.

    Perhaps Dickerson wouldn’t be getting so many emails like this one, if the GOP had not spent so many years branding themselves as the ‘holier-than-thou’ party and then spent the last three years demonstrating how unworthy they are of that brand.

    …oh and it’s worth re-reminding y’all that Sanford was in Congress during the Clinton witch hunt trial impeachment, and he voted for impeachment.

    Has anyone kept count of how many of Sanford’s ilk had their own infidelities?

    Sanctimonious, hypocritical assholes usually get the kind of scorn Sanford is getting by the truckload, and deservedly so.

  51. 51
    Rey says:

    The worst part of the whole fiasco is that the Lt. Gov is a dipshit as well, so we would be no better off if Sanford resigns.
    What a clusterfuck.

    this made me Lol… atleast you don’t live in Tennessee- dipshit Repubs everywhere.

  52. 52
    Graeme says:

    I have no sympathy, given his public persona before this chink in the armor. When you show your opponents no mercy, expect none in return.

    I love seeing these sanctimonious twits go down in flames.

  53. 53
    Shinobi says:

    Admitting you made a mistake is a garaunteed way to get people to like you more. SRsly. There is research, this is a known psychological phenomenon.

    And y’know it takes guts to get up in front of the national media and admit to what a dickhead you were.

    But you wouldn’t have had to do that IF YOU HADN”T BEEN SUCH A FUCKING DICKHEAD.

    If he’d been a fucking ADULT about the situation and talked to his wife about it, and perhaps separated from her and pursued this relationship this whole thing could have been handled like everyone involved was a fucking ADULT.

    But instead he ran off like a 17 year old who just had a fight with their parents and didn’t bother to call, so now we get to hear about how hard it’s all been for him to be a gigantic douchebag to everyone in his life? (Including an entire state.)

    And you know what, I do blame a lot of what he is feeling emotionally on stupid social norms like religion and enforced gender roles and such (Patriarchy hurts men too 101.) Perhaps the pressure of being the governor and father of 4 was just too much for him on top of not loving his wife.

    But there are lots of people out there in the US standing around saying “social norms are stupid bullshit, maybe we should ignore them.” LOTS. And he chose not to listen to them. He chose to stick to boring, out dated, traditional values that have no basis in reality. He chose to attempt to force these values on a whole state.

    So forgive me if I really just don’t give a shit about him. I hope his wife grows some ovaries and publicly destroys him, he deserves it, and it will teach her 4 boys that that is NOT how you are supposed to treat the people in your life.

  54. 54
    Michael Sheridan says:

    @jrg: This bears repeating:

    I think that the people (myself included) who have been ragging on him want to make this a “teachable moment”. A lot of us are sick of hearing people like him say that gay marriage (or sex before marriage) is a threat to healthy adult relationships, when he’s out banging a hot latina…. “Live and let live” implies reciprocity. Since it was never extended, a lot of us don’t feel the need to do this guy any favors.

    What is happening isn’t mere schadenfreude. It’s an expression of the frustration we justifiably feel for constantly being bombarded with holier-than-thou crap by these assholes.

    I sincerely hope that the Sanfords, as private individuals, find the space they need to figure out what they’re going to do about the rest of their lives now. His wife and kids certainly deserve not to be dragged any further into the public eye. But as a repeat practitioner of moral outrage against anyone who had the misfortune of being caught engaging in exactly this same behavior, Gov. Sanford should expect that we will hold him to his own high “standard” – until and unless he starts to publicly admit that who people sleep with and how isn’t any of his fucking business, either.

  55. 55
    David says:

    Those were just excerpts from emails. More to be released today — supposedly.

  56. 56
    Hacienda says:

    @jrg:

    Personally, I hope Sanford puts his life back together and finds peace. I also hope that when he does, he re-evaluates the way he treats other people, their relationships, and their privacy.

    THIS. Thank you.

  57. 57
    Xenos says:

    Who was vindicated by releasing the emails?

    The Mrs., of course. That is why she released them to the paper — so her martyrdom and his humiliation could be complete.

    As for the newspaper, they held the emails until they could be confirmed as accurate. That counts as admirable restraint in this day and age.

  58. 58
    Raenelle says:

    Good grief. Mercy is a virtue; self-pity is not. He’s in pain, and it’s a bad time for him right now. OK–that deserves a bit of compassion. When cornered, he’s suicidal rather than homicidal–earns a few more sympathy points.

    But I’ll never admire this guy until he is able to make the leap most humans made somewhere in their adolescence–using one’s own suffering and vulnerability and frailty to realize just how much slack we need to cut everyone else. I’d bet a few bucks he’ll just blame the snares of Satan and sneer even more judgmentally against those who aren’t people of faith.

  59. 59
    Michael Sheridan says:

    @Doctor Gonzo: I think you’re missing something here:

    I think Sanford, and to a large extent, a lot of fundie religious conservatives, think that if they spout the party line, go to church, pray, and do all of those “right” things, they will be immune to human weakness.

    I think these people actually understand that they’ll never be immune to human weakness – which is why they are constantly trying to create an environment in which they have eliminated all temptation to “sin”.

    Outlaw sexuality of any sort outside of marriage, so there will be fewer or no strumpets on the street corner to “lead them astray.” Outlaw drinking and drugs, so they won’t be available to them. Burn any books which would cast doubt on the ideas they hold so dear.

    They don’t do this because they are confident their worldview is correct – they do it because, deep down where they won’t even admit it to themselves, they’re scared to death it isn’t.

  60. 60
    Betsy says:

    I think that what it basically comes down to is that it’s hard for us to show compassion to those who have shown no compassion for others.* At least that’s what it is for me.

    I do pity him; he seems to have felt deep and genuine emotional conflict about this. But he never extended anyone else the benefit of the doubt; he never acknowledged that life and love are messy and difficult and that most mistakes (financial or sexual) shouldn’t have have life-destroying consequences (extreme poverty, STDs, unwanted parenthood). Even in this hour of his most public vulnerability it was all about him. So I can pity him, but that doesn’t change my opinion of him as a human being or a politician.

    Further, John, I think that the resistance a lot of us are showing is that all too often, sympathy or compassion is conflated with the position that there don’t need to be any consequences. I know YOU aren’t saying that, but I think that’s how a lot of people interpret it. We can have compassion for someone and still think it’s incumbent upon him to step down. We can have compassion and still judge what he did and continues to do as immoral in the broadest sense of the word.

    * I do think it would probably be better for humanity if we could all extend such compassion even to those who have done irreparable harm. That was one thing that made the civil rights movement so incredibly powerful.

  61. 61
    harlana pepper says:

    @David: And who of us are going to avert our eyes out of sympathy?

  62. 62
    tworivers says:

    He’s a God-awful governor, and has some seriously whacked views on matters. Some of these views I find abhorrent. But I mostly feel sorry for him too.

    That said, I sensed some self-absorption in his press conference statements. I think much of what he said was heartfelt and honest, and this is to his credit. At the same time, however, it’s possible to be self-absorbed at the same time as being honest and heartfelt.

    I didn’t get the sense he really felt a great deal of guilt towards what he did to his family. The impression I get is of a person who is still seeing things from his own perspective, and is not fully comprehending of the effect of what he’s done has had on his family. Not “owning” it, so to speak. And frankly, there seemed to be a bit of a self-pitying tone to some of the things he said.

    The fact that he abandoned his kids on Father’s Day is pretty bad too, IMO

    On the other hand, I agree with some commenters that what he emailed Maria about is really none of our business.

  63. 63
    Betsy says:

    Ok, weird, it’s not letting me edit, but I didn’t mean for that last part to be in bold. It was supposed to be the footnote to my star in the first sentence.

  64. 64
    cfaller96 says:

    Forgive me for the inflammatory words I’m about to write, but I feel I must. John, you don’t live in South Carolina, so you don’t get to tell us what to feel about our Governor:

    1. attempting to inflict massive economic pain on us by fighting stimulus funds for the unemployed (2nd-4th highest in the nation).
    2. attempting to inflict future pain on us by fighting stimulus funds for our education system.
    3. leveraging his “principled” stand and our pain into a more national political presence…all for the futility of getting his ass handed to him by Obama in 2012.
    4. putting the governing of the state in limbo by playing hooky for close to a week, while lying about it the whole time.
    5. aaaaaand the whole time he’s been screwing us, it turns out he’s been screwing his wife and his children as well.

    After all that, we’re supposed to just STFU because he shed some tears? No, John, you don’t get to tell us how heartfelt and genuine this mofo is, because you haven’t been the one forced to deal with his crap. He gets no breathing space from me.

    This isn’t your fight and this isn’t your call. As a resident of SC who has been experiencing Mark Sanford’s paternalism for years, I unequivocally say “fuck him.” Even if you assume that his remorse is genuine (which I personally doubt), then there is no way the Governor of a state in crisis should be distracted with repairing his marriage.

    Make no mistake, South Carolina is in a crisis. And his unexcused absence and personal failings obviously show Sanford to not be up for the job right now. His tears mean nothing to me.

  65. 65
    slag says:

    @Xenos: Wow! John Dickerson compared Sanford’s press conference to watching a guy light himself on fire, and you’re talking about HER martyrdom? Get a grip.

  66. 66
    Ramalamadingdong says:

    John, if you base your evaluation on the press conference I would agree that he was a bit of a lost soul and you could see his humanity.

    However the statement from his wife is telling, and more reflective of his behavior than the press conference.

    I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.

    I think every woman knows what that means. He kept seeing the woman, in front of his wife and family. He tried to have it both ways. He flaunted it until she couldn’t take it anymore. She put up with it for five months and he still couldn’t get it right. And lets get real – it doesn’t take 5 days to break up with anyone. He was on vacay and got caught. Schadenfreude may not be the right reaction, but I can’t work up any sympathy.

  67. 67
    Betsy says:

    @Punchy:

    He’s NOT genuine if he’s railing against gay marriages as a scourge to traditional marriage when he’s out fucking some whore on the side.

    A little off topic, but I would point out that not all women who engage in sexual activity outside marriage are whores, mkay?

  68. 68

    Cheating on the mother of your four children is a very bad thing to do. If my brother in law did it to my sister I dont’ think I would ever forgive him for it.

    I didn’t hear anything from Sanford to justify treating him any differently.

  69. 69
    r€nato says:

    @cfaller96:

    I for one have a lot more sympathy for the unemployed Sanford F’d in the A in order to score some political points to further his presidential ambitions.

    I give Sanford some credit for owning up rather than blaming the liberal media or blustering his way through it (Blago).

    But I have to wonder how probable it is that he would have handled it the same way, if he had not been met at the airport by a reporter from his local newspaper.

  70. 70
    Dinah says:

    Sanford was still trying to bluff his way out of this when the reporter met him at the airport in Atlanta. It wasn’t until he got back to his office and found out about the e-mails that he made his confession and apologies. This makes me wonder how much of his obvious pain was over his family or a woman he loves and how much of it was realizing that his political career was over. All of us can rationalize our feelings, so the true measure is how we behave, and he behaved badly.

  71. 71
    John Cole says:

    What is it about you all that you can not keep two completely different thoughts in your heads.

    I am fully aware he is a shitty governor. I am fully aware that his policies have been disastrous for a lot of people. I am fully aware about his stimulus bill follies. I am fully aware that a lot of you hate his politics and hate his style of governance. I’m not asking you to think any differently about any of that.

    What I am saying is that I saw a confused hurting guy whose personal life is in shambles, he looked like he was in love and didn’t give a shit about politics or his political future and who was somewhat distressed. Now I may be wrong about that, and he may just be pulling a job on me, but that is what I saw.

    What, exactly, that has to do with all your personal grievances about his politics is beyond me. I feel like I am reading a god damned thread at Red State discussing the Clenis.

  72. 72
    demimondian says:

    @Fern: I was wondering if I was the only one who read that into the statement. It makes Sanford’s behavior more understandable — although even less acceptable; it appears that he remained married to further his career, rather than being honest.

  73. 73
    Chinn Romney says:

    It was more like watching Glenn Beck pretend to light a man on fire.

    I thought it was more like watching Shock Jock Mancow getting waterboarded. He didn’t have to submit to it, it was hard watching him squirm. And yet I couldn’t help but think “Just a couple more seconds. It won’t kill him…”

  74. 74
    slippytoad says:

    I have no sympathy for judgmental sanctimonious motherfuckers, and I hope Sanford feels the fires of Hell nipping at his heels.

    He’s made his fucking bed. He can fucking lie in it.

  75. 75
    A Mom Anon says:

    The emails came from his private email address,not his work one. My guess is his wife is the one who leaked them,or a staffer who had some computer savvy and access to his computer.

    I’m having trouble feeling compassion for the guy,for most of the reasons already commented on. If he was truly sorry,he might have stayed in South Carolina thinking about how the hell to make this right for the 4 kids he’s a father to. Adults can take care of themselves,but it’s the kids who don’t have much choice in how their parents conduct themselves.

    What pisses me off is the refusal to give a shit about his constituents. SC schools are falling apart. County and city budgets are stretched,the unemployment rate is through the roof and this nitwit used the stimulus as a political wedge instead of taking the chamce to be a hero and allocate those funds where they were needed most. I know that’s separate from the affair,but it’s just part of the whole hypocrite package.

  76. 76
    Mike in NC says:

    Sanford was cleary a broken man yesterday during the presser, and he seemed like he didn’t give a damn about his political future.

    Well, that was yesterday. Expect to see him planning his comeback tomorrow. Anybody remember someone named Nixon, who whined about how the big bad media wouldn’t be able to kick him around anymore? Whatever happened to that guy? Gingrich? Palin? These right-wing sociopaths are like monsters in some cheesy horror movie: no matter how many times you think they’re dead, they manage to get up and come back at you.

  77. 77
    gnomedad says:

    I’m a little tired of hearing “I don’t care what the guy does in his private life.” Being dishonest with your spouse reflects on, well, your honesty, which is a relevant job qualification for a politician. Now, I am resigned to the fact that politicians tend to be alpha male types who may be less inclined to fidelity than your random human. So it’s not a deal-breaker but, yeah, it matters. And it should matter more if you’re carrying on about how you are a guardian of “traditional values.”

  78. 78
    kay says:

    I just didn’t buy the press conference at all. I feel as if I’m on a different planet from those who found it moving and heart-felt. I didn’t think it was any of those things.

    I think it’s up to South Carolina whether he stays or goes, I could care less, but I was not impressed by the extended apology. Sorry. It didn’t come off as true to me. I think he’s got an enormous, almost frightening sense of his own importance, in the general scheme of things.

  79. 79
    BruceK says:

    For his personal pain, self-inflicted though it might have been, I can summon a bit of sympathy. Of course, he was among the cabal that set out to punish anyone who didn’t live up to a lofty moral standard that he proved he couldn’t measure up to, so that sympathy’s mitigated quite a bit, but not snuffed out completely.

    However, to simply drop out of sight with no explanation – not even telling his lieutenant governor, whose whole purpose is to be the governor’s proxy when the governor’s out of commission – and leave the entire state with no clue of who’s in charge for the better part of a week, while his staff stacked up the lies about what had happened to the state’s chief executive … that’s gross dereliction of duty, and shows him to be unfit to serve as governor.

    (Oh, and to the next person who gripes about Obama taking an evening to be with the First Lady, while even attempting to defend Sanford in any way … may I suggest a nice cool glass of siddown-and-shyaddap. With a twist of lime.)

  80. 80
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Fnck Sanford and Fnck John Dickerson at Slate. This has nothing to do with “humanity” and everything to do with upper-crust white male privilege. Neither one of them would show an ounce of compassion or pity for one of the little people, who when they screw up like this get their lives destroyed for far lesser offences than what the Gov. has done. Dickerson’s piece is a classic case of the Villagers closing ranks around one of their own.

  81. 81
    Betsy says:

    @John Cole:
    That was my point above. That it is hard for people to feel compassion for those who seem to have none themselves, or who have done things that have harmed many people. That’s not to say that we *shouldn’t* have compassion for them. I agree with you there, and admire your ability to do so. But I think it’s understandable why there’s so much resistance to it.

  82. 82
    cfaller96 says:

    Renato, you bring up an interesting (and as yet unanswered) question: would Sanford have admitted to this affair if The State hadn’t simultaneously confronted him at the airport arriving from Argentina and with emails to a woman in Argentina?

    I say no. I say the press conference was scheduled because the jig was up. I fail to understand why I’m supposed to sympathize with a guy who was simply trying to get ahead of a scandal, after all the pain that he’s inflicted on his constituents.

    It’s times like these I’m reminded that John Cole used to be a dumbass Republican. Every now and then he forgets that whatever their personal failings, their clear disqualification to govern competently should be a big deal. The whole governance thing is not a serious consideration for Republicans to begin with, and this post illustrates that John considers the governorship of South Carolina to be a secondary concern behind “sympathizing for Sanford.” John’s still got a lot to learn.

  83. 83
    Jason says:

    @passerby: Well, now I’m curious. What justice or good is failed by the publication of emails? And because I wanted to make a specific reply to this thread before your comment caught my eye, I’m going to try and merge the thoughts.

    But I’ve been thinking about the use of the word “human” since I caught discussion of Jeffrey Goldberg’s defense of Sullivan’s work on Iran’s election protests:

    That said, the liberal interventionist/neoconservative position is the easier one to understand, because it is the more human response.

    [emph. mine]

    Not “humanistic,” or “humanitarian,” but “human.” There is a real line-drawing moment here, indicating some irreducible core of recognition that we either fail or achieve. So used in this from Dickinson:

    I’m not offering Sanford’s humanity as an excuse.

    In that there is something in Sanford that acts as an imperative for all of us, and that he failed it, and our failure to recognize that puts us in the same boat. So Dickinson doesn’t offer it as an excuse, but as as an argument (from pathos, really broadly), as if there is something about the way we act as beings that is surprising to see in political talk. The interventionist response does not deny human suffering, the Sanford presser performs human suffering, and therefore enacts some kind of meaning beyond politics; and politics is the sort of thing that politicians do. So when a politician performs this kind of suffering, it is not politics, but something more human, something that transcends politics simply as a matter of living.

    Therefore it’s worth noting that Sanford is being human when he evinces suffering, and that our failure to reproduce that suffering in our own responses reflects poorly on us – we didn’t even notice what was most human about the whole drama, namely Sanford’s enacted turmoil, or we rejected it or spat on it, which makes us less human (and not interventionist? har har).

    This is an awfully odd view of human emotion – as if this moment that Sanford had at the presser was discrete and removed, intentionally, from the email and the travel and all the other things that the man did. It seems more likely to me that the emails, affair, the love and expression of it, or the desire and the expression of it, were the matters of despair and/or elation that led Sanford to this public expression of contrition about the affair. Because lies and cover-ups and cheating and sneaking around are pretty fucking human, and it strikes me that if I’m going to react to anything as another human, it’s the bare bones and meat of the relationship itself. Because really it didn’t seem at all like he was showing humanity and not politics at the press conference, but the opposite – or, at least, the extension of one into the other. But the emails, the mockery, all that other stuff, all that strikes me as human. Shallow, sure, but human. So why not turn to that? Which statement – the email or the public self-abasing – is the more human?

  84. 84
    passerby says:

    @Michael Sheridan:

    What is happening isn’t mere schadenfreude. It’s an expression of the frustration we justifiably feel for constantly being bombarded with holier-than-thou crap by these assholes.

    I had the same thought. Throughout yesterday’s gargantuan Sanford thread there was the whole gamut of emotional responses: vitriole, scorn, bitterness, hatred, pity, anger, indifference, vindictiveness, et al. I even saw all of these elements in one comment.

    It all reminds me of a scene from The Devil’s Advocate. In it, during jury selection, Keanu Reeves’ character advises against choosing a particular woman saying: “No, not that one. Someone hurt her and she wants revenge.”

    In the final analysis, acknowledging the need to triumph over the rampant hypocrisy in our world, do we achieve the catharsis we need using Sanford as a scapegoat for our frustration with the oppressive, holier-than-thou elements that exist throughout our society?

  85. 85
    anonevent says:

    How many Republicans is this since we found out about Edwards? Three or more. What you’re hearing here is that we all know that by Sunday another Republican will be standing up talking about how Democrats are destroying the country with the ghey and abortions and moms out of wedlock. And David Gregory will not ask anything about how they reconcile this with the Republican’s inability to keep it in their pants or take responsibility for it when it happens.

  86. 86
    cdmarine says:

    Could not agree with you more, John. I heartily approve of mocking his execrable hypocrisy, and I heartily approve of mocking and prosecuting any lawbreaking he may have engaged in while conducting this affair, and I believe he should be impeached for dereliction of duty. But I can’t fathom mocking the fact that he fell in love with someone he shouldn’t have fallen in love with. The publication and broadcasting of their love letters is just pure salacious cruelty.

    Love, relationships, and marriage are complicated, often heartbreaking things. He should not have done what he did, but he did. That horse left the barn a long time ago. And then he fell in love, and that’s a painful thing for everyone involved.

    Like you, I find that there is something about this that presses my empathy buttons in a way that every other “politician has an affair” story never has, and I’ve been trying to identify just what it is. I don’t have any good answers. I just want the content of those letters to go away from the public eye (though, of course, that horse is long out of the barn now, too). I don’t need to know that stuff. All I (as a concerned citizen) need to know is that the letters exist.

  87. 87
    slag says:

    @John Cole: Ummm…okay. What is it exactly that you expect people to say?

    “Yeah. He was probably really, truly, genuinely upset. So sad for him.”

    I believe most comments agreed with that sentiment (or some variation thereof) and yet expressed their continued dislike of him. Which is kind of the definition of being able to hold two thoughts at the same time.

  88. 88
    cfaller96 says:

    John Cole said:

    he looked like he was in love and didn’t give a shit about politics or his political future and who was somewhat distressed.

    O rly? Did Sanford resign? No? Well okay then.

    A man who did all of this but did NOT resign is a man who is still, IMO, “giving a shit about politics or his political future.” He has not resigned from the Governorship. Therefore, his politics are very much part of this discussion.

    You can’t just insist he get sympathy because he’s somehow “over” that part of his life when he has not, in fact, gotten over that part of his life.

  89. 89

    What I am saying is that I saw a confused hurting guy whose personal life is in shambles, he looked like he was in love and didn’t give a shit about politics or his political future and who was somewhat distressed. Now I may be wrong about that, and he may just be pulling a job on me, but that is what I saw.

    He isn’t 15 years old John. Being “in love” isn’t an excuse for acting like an inconsiderate asshole and abandoning your post. Everything that happened to this guy was a direct result of his own decisions. A tearful press conference isn’t even close to the proper amends this guy owes to the people of South Carolina and to his family.

  90. 90
    Joel says:

    I can empathize but not sympathize.

    Sanford voluntarily put himself in this position. As tough as it is for his family to deal with this now, they’ll find a way. In the end the man will be held accountable to those that matter. Cest la vie.

  91. 91
    Ash says:

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for cheating bastards. It’s REALLY not that damn hard to keep your penis in your pants and have the dignity to divorce your wife first.

  92. 92
    georgia pig says:

    @John Cole: I admire the Clenis’s gifts, but he was an emotional manipulator, too. I didn’t care that he had a blowjob, just that he made the country go through months of his personal pyschodrama, which ended up feeding trolls like Ken Starr and leading to eight years of Bush. That was a major fuckup, and one I will never forgive him for, and the asshole still won’t acknowledge his errors. He could have simply said “yeah, I had an affair” and I would have been fine with him, as the affair itself had no effect on his job performance.

    Sanford disappeared. Look, the majority of politicians are narcissists and engage in narcissistic behavior that is hard on their families, but doesn’t necessarily affect their job performance. I don’t have a lack of sympathy for Sanford’s plight as a husband, but the guy should resign because he’s a drama queen and it’s interfering with his job. SC is a fucking mess on its good days, and it sure doesn’t need a soap opera now.

  93. 93
    gwangung says:

    What I am saying is that I saw a confused hurting guy whose personal life is in shambles, he looked like he was in love and didn’t give a shit about politics or his political future and who was somewhat distressed. Now I may be wrong about that, and he may just be pulling a job on me, but that is what I saw.

    OK, John, you’ve convinced me. I have a certain amount of sympathy for someone who’s caught in an emotional bind like that.

    However, he still screwed up royally. He can get sympathy for his emotional life, but he still can be punished (politically) for his political behavior.

  94. 94
    gex says:

    As a gay person whose fucking humanity is denied by these morality crusaders, Sanford can FOAD. I start out with a generous view of human beings, I’m full of that dreaded empathy. All my friends and family know me for my tender heart.

    But fuck this asshole and others like him. Could I feel bad if I really stopped to think about what he and is family are going through? Sure. But I’m not inclined to do so since he has shown ZERO inclination to do the same for me.

    Here’s the bottom line: I fucking hate myself. I’m a miserable SOB. I feel like I’ve been extremely damaged by internalized homophobia and the homophobia that our society has inflicts on gay people. Suicide attempts, meds, and therapy have done nothing to improve the situation. Jerks who gleefully cheer for this kind of damage to be done to others get no sympathy from me. I’ll save it for someone who deserves it. Besides, he has Jesus if he needs someone to sympathize and forgive.

  95. 95
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    “Maybe if he had had a little more sympathy for those less fortunate than him (and he wasn’t a sanctimonious hypocriteprick)”

    There, fixed that for you.

    Seriously, after having done some digging around and having read some of the stuff he’s said in the past, I’m not feeling a lot of sympathy for him, though I’m afraid I will have to admit to feeling some for his immediate family, and also his mistress… she’s getting a real winner in that one.

    I’ll start to feel some sympathy for him when he resigns… I can understand having the affair, but not holding himself to the standard he so loudly demanded of others? That forecloses any sympathy I may have for him.

  96. 96
    passerby says:

    @Xenos:

    they held the emails until they could be confirmed as accurate. That counts as admirable restraint in this day and age.

    I respectfully disagree. The State held those emails until which time they could safely reap the promised benefits of releasing them. They held them back in a cowardly fashion until which time their lawyer said it was okay.

    No, they didn’t ride into this on a white horse. Their restraint was for the sake of their own self-protection, self-interest.

  97. 97
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    While I agree with you in principle, I also don’t condemn those who are venting on Sanford maybe to excess. Most of us have been on the receiving end of wingnut smears and headwhacking with the sharp end of the Good Book, not to mention every inane holier than thou judgments on a long list, for decades. It’s a tough set of ROE that the right has brought to the political arena and the culture wars they have designed and applied. If they were capable of recognizing their hypocrisy and to learn from it, things would be different. Since that is not the case, we play by the rules they made. It’s the only thing they understand and the only hope to cause them to change, unfortunately.

  98. 98
    gwangung says:

    Could not agree with you more, John. I heartily approve of mocking his execrable hypocrisy, and I heartily approve of mocking and prosecuting any lawbreaking he may have engaged in while conducting this affair, and I believe he should be impeached for dereliction of duty. But I can’t fathom mocking the fact that he fell in love with someone he shouldn’t have fallen in love with. The publication and broadcasting of their love letters is just pure salacious cruelty.

    Yeah, I agree with that.

    The extent of any mockery towards his love affair should be, “Let’s not be so hypocritical from now on, eh?” Acknowledging it, noting its relevance, but not wallowing in it.

    Everything else…to the limit of the law. Running out on his job? From someone from the party of Personal Responsibility? Let ‘er rip!

  99. 99
    demimondian says:

    @Jason: well said

    I want to focus on something else Dickerson said:

    Sanford’s fumbling efforts to explain how he’s tried to rescue himself with his faith offered some people an opportunity to make fun of his religion, as if a confused, lost, flawed person were the right spokesman for anything.

    Ironically, his fumbling, desperate monologue *is* the best possible argument for his faith.

    Christianity, at its core, is supposed to be a religion about redemption — church is not a spa for saints, but a hospital for sinners. Right now, Mark Sanford is very much in need of that, and I hope his church provides it.

  100. 100
    J. Effingham Bellweather says:

    Should personality deficits and moral failings ever land me in the dock, I only wish for the likes of JD and JC on my jury.

  101. 101
    Winston Smith says:

    Sanford was using religion to “godwash” his misbehavior.

    Proof? Watch the video. Every time Sanford manages to insert some factoid that makes him look a little better, it’s followed by a “tongue-poke.” This is an involuntary facial gesture that usually indicates that someone has either just told a lie or otherwise “gotten away with something.”

    McCain famously tongue-poked every time he managed to insert a campaign soundbite into his debate responses with Obama.

    (Ooh! comment 100. I so rock)

  102. 102
    Rey says:

    At least Clinton just got a blow job, didn’t go and fall all in love and crap. If I were the Mrs. I would give the Governor his divorce and go find me a nice, young, hunky dude named Fernando.

  103. 103
    Comrade Dread says:

    I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.

    I think it’s the difference is that Sandford honestly seems to be penitent about his failings. That’s something that I can, at least, empathize with, even though I have not committed the same sins he did.

    Or as someone far better than I put it, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”

  104. 104
    Tom says:

    Great post, John, definitely why I read the site. I find his politics abhorrent but I also feel some pity for the guy. Unfortunately politics now (and in earlier years, too, but I think especially recently) is all about demonizing the other side, and new media, for all its positives, can produce an echo chamber that reinforces dehumanizing the other. Happens constantly on both right and left forums, although of course I’m more sympathetic to the left.

  105. 105
    kth says:

    Every day, some number of men are tempted to cheat on their wives, and don’t.

    You have this exactly backwards: not that all or even most attractive people cheat, but the locus of resentment against people who desire and who are desired is precisely the set of people who are so ill-favored that they are never faced with the dilemma. And make no mistake, outsized resentment of a politician’s indiscretions is a variant of sexual Puritanism and totally co-extensive with all its other noxious manifestations.

  106. 106
    johnosahon says:

    no one told him to climb up to the highest “Holiness” building and then kick the ladder to the ground when “people like” wanted to climb.

    he forget that one day he may have to climb down from the building, so now that he is dropping down to ground, i am supposed to feel sorry for him, as i watch him (FROM THE GROUND WHERE HE LEFT ME) scatter into pieces?

    please I LAUGH WITH AMUSEMENT.

    next time leave the ladder for “people like me” to climb, you may also need it in the future.

  107. 107
    srv says:

    I’m sad an compassionless politician who rules by the concept of unforgiveness gets all weepy and upset once it was obvious his philandering ways was becoming public knowledge. That is the true mark of a man who is trying to rescue himself.

    And my compassion is not measured by my nodding to his sob story. I didn’t watch it, I don’t revel in it, but I don’t have any fewer reasons for hating him and his ilk. Give him his Oscar now, so I don’t have to see him on Oprah or a book tour with Rudy.

  108. 108
    Emma says:

    just that he made the country go through months of his personal pyschodrama, which ended up feeding trolls like Ken Starr and leading to eight years of Bush. Bit of a disagreement there. Bill Clinton didn’t makes us live through his psychodrama. Ken Starr did, by getting the republican congress and their spineless democratic allies to extend the investigation into Whitewater, which was turning up NOTHING, into Clinton’s private life.

    On to Sanford. John, I understand what you’re saying, but, let me give you a slightly different view. I think he was in pain, yes, but I also think he was using it as stagecraft. I think he focused on the affair because he knows that, for a Republican, it’s not a deal breaker/ Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards… history. Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Bob Dole, John McCain, all the Bushes in creation, etc., etc., all good Republicans, all still considered high and mighty in Republican circles. So, if he can ride out the personal scandal he still has a life in the Republican party.

    You ask why I’m so evil-minded and suspicious? Because it’s part of a pattern, John. It seems I’ve been watching Republicans beat people over the head with morality for decades, and nobody calls them on it. Responsibility and ruined careers? That’s so Democrat. Forgiveness and let bygones be bygones and it’s all personal anyway? Exclusive property of Republicans.

  109. 109
    johnosahon says:

    no one told him to climb up to the highest “Holiness” building and then kick the ladder to the ground when “people like me” wanted to climb.

    he forget that one day he may have to climb down from the building, so now that he is dropping down to ground, i am supposed to feel sorry for him, as i watch him (FROM THE GROUND WHERE HE LEFT ME) scatter into pieces?

    please I LAUGH WITH AMUSEMENT.

    next time leave the ladder for “people like me” to climb, you may also need it in the future.

  110. 110
    johnosahon says:

    no one told him to climb up to the highest “Holiness” building and then kick the ladder to the ground when “people like me” wanted to climb.

    he forget that one day he may have to climb down from the building, so now that he is dropping down to ground, i am supposed to feel sorry for him, as i watch him (FROM THE GROUND WHERE HE LEFT ME) scatter into pieces?

    please I LAUGH WITH AMUSEMENT.

    next time leave the ladder for “people like me” to climb, you may also need it in the future.

  111. 111
    Will says:

    I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.

    I think the difference is simple: Ensign was just screwing around. Sanford appears to be clearly in love with someone other than his wife.

  112. 112
    Brachiator says:

    I’m not trying to be a scold, because I know I can be as bad as anyone when it comes to the schadenfreude. And I know that Sanford has worked to marginalize a number of people who only want to be able to be married. But unlike when I watched Ensign last week and saw a tough politico with no soul doing whatever he could to just salvage his career, when I watched Sanford yesterday, I saw a confused, and lost, and hurting person. I can’t explain what the difference between the two cases, but there was something genuine about Sanford, and I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought it all on himself.

    I hear what you are saying, and I noted in a couple of posts that I felt kinda sorry for Sandford because he seemed to be stumbling into a bigger hole the more he tried to dig himself out.

    And, as an aside, I note that his emails were kinda sweet and romantic, even though they weren’t to his wife. I also note that Sanford still has some stuff to resolve since he apparently still feels deeply for his querida from Argentina.

    However, I tire of the ethical failure of people who see themselves as people of faith, and yet want understanding and compassion for themselves when they stumble and fall, but do not hold any out for other people for similar failings.

    To this extent, Stanford still doesn’t get it. He and some other Republicans still live in the delusion that being conservative or being Republican or being Christian not only immunizes you against human nature, but elevates you to some platform from which you can cast others down.

    But then again, this is how I look at questions of religion and ethics. It is about what you owe to yourself and what you owe to other people. So far, all these mea culpa fandangos over sexual pecadilloes — especially but not exclusively from conservatives — are still at the end feeble attempts by small minded narcissists to salvage their own reputations and political careers, and perhaps their families.

    I am still waiting in vain for that Aha! moment when politicians retire the nonsense that you can simplistically yoke all matters of private character to behavior as a public servant.

  113. 113
    Robin G. says:

    I honestly don’t give a shit about the affair (though I feel for him about those emails — no one, under any circumstances, deserves to have their love letters published). What annoys me is that by forgiving him his human fallibility in the infidelity (or, alternatively, just letting it go), it’s sweeping under the rug the real issues — that he left his state with no one in charge for a week. The staggering level of negligence in that is the worst part. Okay, he didn’t want anyone to know where he was going. You can’t honestly tell me that there wasn’t a way for him to take the LG aside and say, “Hey, I’m leaving town for a week and I can’t tell you where I’m going. It’s personal. But here’s the paperwork, if something happens, you’re authorized to deal with it. If at all possible, though, don’t tell anyone I’m gone.” There was no, no, no reason not to do that, except that he valued his privacy higher than his responsibilities to the people of South Carolina.

    He should have resigned. If he’d done that, I’d be saying, “Okay, that’s the end of it, let’s drop it.” But he didn’t, and I refuse to let the “Let’s accept he’s human” brigade give him the cover to escape punishment for his dereliction of duty.

  114. 114
    Tsulagi says:

    While I can definitely attest to the siren allure of Argentinean women, have mentioned in the past my SO is Argentine, I have zero sympathy for Sanford. It’s not as if he slipped on some wet grass on Naked Hiking Day innocently landing on top of an Argentinean woman. His decisions, his actions over an extended period of time got him to where he was yesterday…own them.

    If he is honestly feeling his pain right now, then I applaud that. Could mean that unlike Ensign he’ll learn something and may do some things a little differently in the future.

    Do have plenty of sympathy for Sanford’s wife and kids. And also a little for the Argentine. As for her actions in their extended tango, she owns it every bit as much as Sanford. But if there were a Christ figure for quiet discretion, you could pretty much tag that stupid incompetent fucker Sanford as the anti-christ.

    Though she wasn’t named in yesterday’s news, you can make a safe bet Sanford’s dance partner is already known in BA and within a week it will be common knowledge. While Argentina is more progressive than most South American countries, and certainly BA more than the country as a whole, her life is going to change.

    There is an unwritten social class system, and family rep is very important. And yes, there is a big double standard when it comes to male/female marital indiscretion. It’s the culture; she has no control over that. Literal stones won’t be thrown, but Sanford’s brain dead incompetence will negatively impact her entire family including her children.

  115. 115
    cfaller96 says:

    Comrade Dread:

    I think the difference is that Sanford honestly seems to be penitent about his failings.

    I strongly disagree.

    He’s absolutely not penitent about his failings as a Governor, which are- and this is important- absolutely linked to his personal failings. There was no remorse expressed for his going AWOL for a week. There was no discussion of how many trips to Argentina he’s taken on the taxpayer’s dime. There was no mention of how his personal failure has caused him to reflect on his own judgments he’s made of other people as a Congressman and Governor. All these things I listed are a reflection of his ability to govern, but they were all caused by his personal failings.

    These things are NOT separate issues, they are linked. His personal failings will obviously affect his tenure going forward, so unless Sanford resigns, I see no reason to give him any sympathy.

    It’s called accountability, and Sanford wants to duck it. Dickerson and Cole seem all too willing to let him.

  116. 116
    Michael Sheridan says:

    @passerby:

    In the final analysis, acknowledging the need to triumph over the rampant hypocrisy in our world, do we achieve the catharsis we need using Sanford as a scapegoat for our frustration with the oppressive, holier-than-thou elements that exist throughout our society?

    I’m not looking for catharsis, really. I was just noting that what John was seeing wasn’t a matter of simple glee at the misfortunes of another.

    I’d like to see this be, as jrg put it, a “teachable moment” for the hypocrites. If we succumb to sympathy for Sanford and back off, that isn’t going to happen – though I see no need to dwell on the particulars (like the emails) or keep his family in the spotlight along with him.

    If he comes out of this with a healthy dose of humility and a changed heart regarding his positions in the culture wars, then I will be more than willing to cut him some slack at that point. Right now? Not so much.

  117. 117
    harlana pepper says:

    @cfaller96: Thanks for speaking for me, a fellow SC resident. I have piled on Sanford so much already, I was trying to show some restraint. If anybody is to be pitied, it’s us poor suckers who have the misfortune of residing in this state. I was born here, my family is here. I will never leave them. If that were not the case, however, I would have moved a long time ago.

  118. 118
    slag says:

    @georgia pig:

    I admire the Clenis’s gifts, but he was an emotional manipulator, too. I didn’t care that he had a blowjob, just that he made the country go through months of his personal pyschodrama, which ended up feeding trolls like Ken Starr and leading to eight years of Bush. That was a major fuckup, and one I will never forgive him for, and the asshole still won’t acknowledge his errors.

    Agreed. But the one thing the Clenis had going for hims was that he didn’t hold himself up as a paragon of matrimonial mores. Which, in my mind, buys him a little more leeway than the average GOPer should receive in these areas. If sexual fidelity is truly something you loudly claim to hold dear, then you have an added burden of trying to maintain it. This is especially true when you try to impose it on others.

    One interesting comparison might be with Obama’s smoking and support for anti-smoking laws.

    If you want to claim hypocrisy, you would say: He’s admitted that he smokes, and yet he’s trying to enact laws against it.

    If you want to sympathize, you would say: He’s admitted that smoking is a weakness for him, so he’s trying to prevent others from becoming addicts like he is.

    Now, if Obama were trying to avoid being beholden to laws that he signs and only punish others who engage in the illicit activity, then the hypocrisy charge carries more weight. More weight would be added if he were hiding his addiction while in the process of punishing others for it.

  119. 119
    doctor tecate says:

    I agree that it’s ridiculous to pass this onto a whole religion and party. I am also in the boat that your private life shouldn’t be quite so publicly dissected. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when it comes to love/lust and they do not automatically make you a bad public servant.

    Sanford’s situation is complicated by the fact that he just ‘poof’ disappeared. He has a tremendous amount of responsibility which he completely ignored, undelegated, for nearly a week. That’s where I have a problem with this story. You can argue against the stances he’s taken, and the decisions he’s made, but that’s just differences of opinion and he’s entitled to his. Walking away from the job for a week? That’s a big fail.

    I additionally struggle with the idea of his bravely coming out with this, considering it was shortly after his office had been notified that the State was holding emails between him and his part-time lady. Much like the situation with Ensign, it seems he wanted to be able to get it out before someone else did. Kind of hard to look brave when you’re acting on fear.

  120. 120
    donovong says:

    What, exactly, that has to do with all your personal grievances about his politics is beyond me. I feel like I am reading a god damned thread at Red State discussing the Clenis.

    You mean, it’s not?! Where am I?

  121. 121
    Jim-Bob says:

    Nah, not feeling it. Guy tripped on his own dick. Turned a little lie–about his marital fidelity–into a Goebbels-grade Big Lie, that he’s soooo sorry and seeks God’s divine assistance to set things right.

    Sanford’s sorry, alright. Sorry he got caught.

    I only hope that when he got caught, Sanford said, “This’z the big one! Ahm comin’ Elizabeth!!” Because that would be funny.

  122. 122
    passerby says:

    @Jason:

    But the emails, the mockery, all that other stuff, all that strikes me as human.

    But Jason, did we really need to see the emails to know Sanford is human? Do they provide any detail we needed to know before concluding that he’s a flawed human?

    I’m not a Bible thumper, but one of my favorite quotes is (paraphrase) “Don’t worry about the mote in your brother’s eye. Worry about the log in your own eye.”

    In other words” Mind your own business, because no one can do that for you and you cannot do it for others.

  123. 123
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Agreed. But the one thing the Clenis had going for hims was that he didn’t hold himself up as a paragon of matrimonial mores

    lutz. I think this statement has to considered the understatement of the day.

  124. 124
    Rommie says:

    I can cringe at the humiliation because I can’t imagine how I would feel in that situation.

    I also know that it’s the POINT of the entire process: Don’t DO the things he did, or you’ll be up at a podium suffering too. Outside of the ethical/moral reasons, it’s part of the punishment for getting caught. If it makes reasonable people uncomfortable – good! As long as it doesn’t cross the boundary into cruel and unusual punishment, watching dum-dums take their medicine is an incentive not to do these things, or get caught doing these things (if you are pragmatic about it.)

  125. 125
    tripletee (formerly tBone) says:

    @John Cole:

    What I am saying is that I saw a confused hurting guy whose personal life is in shambles, he looked like he was in love and didn’t give a shit about politics or his political future and who was somewhat distressed.

    I agree, but so what? He should be confused and hurt and distressed, because he acted like a complete asshole. I can empathize with what he’s going through, but that doesn’t translate into pity – I reserve that for his wife and kids.

  126. 126
    slag says:

    @John Cole: OK. comment rescinded. I guess people aren’t buying the penitent Sanford schtick. FWIW, I was buying it. Other factors just seemed more pertinent to a public conversation.

  127. 127
    srv says:

    And another thing, now that I’ve watched some of the youtube. What kind of man would go on national TV and do this? Someone who is concerned about his wife and kids? Jeez, imagine being his kid and the whole neighborhood watching that performance.

    This guy is a politician first and last. This is about his career. If he had just quietly resigned and disappeared forever, I could find an ounce of compassion for him.

  128. 128
    RH Potfry says:

    My willingness to empathize is strained when the culprit is trapped rather than coming forward courageously and honestly. Like so many before him, Sanford only unburdened himself when it became clear he had no choice. So I don’t see a man having a cathartic moment of honesty as much as I see a man who is distressed because he’s been cornered, and it’s an unfamiliar feeling.

    To forgive the combined sins of adultery and narcissism– now that takes a big person.

  129. 129
    zhak says:

    This is the thing: if the media firestorm hadn’t happened, if the various lies had been accepted — first the hiking, then the exotic break driving up the coast, etc — then this fellow would be sitting in his governor’s chair, making decisions based on his hunger for national office at the expense of the people of his state & behaving as if he was holier than thou.

    So, in all honesty, in this particular case, I’m not sure how much empathy he should be granted.

    This guy treated his family badly & left an entire state without leadership in place for a week & misused state funds for at least one of his romantic jaunts, and we’re supposed to embrace his humanity?

    I think the reason he looked so lost at his presser was because he was caught out and saw the flaming wreckage of his career before him. Given the level of selfishness he’s shown, it makes sense.

  130. 130
    harlana pepper says:

    @gex: I am so sorry. I know I said something to offend you a while back and I want to apologize for whatever asshole thing I said. I’m sure I deserved to be flamed. I am deeply, sincerely sorry for your pain and also for my insensitivity.

    harlana

  131. 131
    cfaller96 says:

    Harlana, what frustrates me about this whole saga is that a lot of media outlets are ignoring the direct connection between Sanford’s affair and his performance as Governor. This post and Dickerson’s post are but two more examples of that.

    Question: would South Carolina had an AWOL governor for close to a week if said governor wasn’t having an affair?

    If the answer is yes, well, then we’ve got an erratic governor that may need to resign, regardless of the affair. If (more likely IMO) the answer is no, though, then we’ve got a governor whose personal, flawed, and maybe broken life is directly affecting his job performance as governor…and he definitely needs to resign.

    The fact that Sanford hasn’t resigned and Cole and Dickerson seem all too willing to give him sympathy while he ducks those consequences tells me that all three do NOT take seriously the affair’s effect on his governorship. As a resident of SC, it’s very much a big deal to me and I resent Dickerson and Cole trying to brush that off because Sanford shed some tears.

  132. 132
    slippytoad says:

    Deborah @23

    I think he is really in love, but that makes me feel that much more for his wife and children…

    Let’s break this down, shall we? From the perspective of a recently-divorced man, who left his wife of almost 20 years because let’s face it, I was really in love with someone else, I’d like to add something here:

    If you’re really in love with your mistress, and not with your wife, you have a moral obligation to both of them. Unlike Mark Sanford, I didn’t fuck someone outside of my marriage. What you do is you man up, you take the financial hit, lose everything (because you WILL), and go be with who you’re happy with. Except I didn’t even get that, but I was very lucky and found someone anyway.

    Point is, if you’re not happy in your marriage fucking end it and don’t be a piece of shit to your wife. And if you’re in love with someone else than your wife commit to her and don’t be a fucking piece of shit to her by stringing her along.

    I however am highly doubtful that Sanford wanted anything other than exotic nookie. He stayed married to his wife because divorcing her in the middle of his term as Governor would have cost him politically because she was very likely nothing more than a goddamn trophy wife married to adorn his political career.

    I give a wet shit about his personal feelings in this matter. He has behaved like a selfish son of a bitch to everyone around him and has used everyone around him. Memo to Mr. Sanford: if you’re serious about these things you have to realize they have consequences, like living in a 600-sq-ft apartment for the next couple of years, you incredibly sanctimonious bastard.

  133. 133
    gex says:

    @harlana pepper: No worries. All blog comments need to be taken with several grains of salt. As I recall, you were really just trying to make a joke, but I was not in the mood. We’re good.

  134. 134
    Comrade Dread says:

    He’s absolutely not penitent about his failings as a Governor

    I don’t know. I’ll see how he reacts in the coming weeks and months. If he takes responsibility and resigns, I’ll probably be satisfied.

    I’ve been in a place before emotionally when I couldn’t think straight and I’ve done things that I look back on now and think of them as insane, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one.

    Granted I was 20 at the time and I wasn’t governing a state, but still, I don’t know. I just empathize with the guy and I hope someone in his church reaches out to him and helps him sort it all out and/or that he gets some qualified therapy.

  135. 135
    harlana pepper says:

    @gex: I’m so glad! :)

  136. 136
    The Pale Scot says:

    here’s what I posted over there

    Sorry Chiefie,

    You Don’t get to cast aside your humanity for personal gain and then pick it up with a Swaggartian “I have sinned”, Sanford proclaims himself an enthusiastic advocate for a Darwinian social order that relies on strict unyielding social conventions to enforce it. If your born to poor, flawed or ineffective parents that’s your problem, if your employer is bought out through a leveraged buyout and then closed when it can’t make the debt payments that’s your problem, if your injured or disabled at work and the worker’s compensation won’t cover your bills that’s your problem.

    But I’m supposed to examine my feelings for this privileged scumbag because why? Because he broke an oath to his wife who seems to be an important factor in his success? Because he betrays his children?

    And may I point out adultery is a crime in S. Carolina,

    “SECTION 16-15-60. Adultery or fornication.

    Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment and, on conviction, shall be severally punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.”

    so how long will we need to wait before the S.L.E.D. picks up this champion of law & order? Or will they too busy keeping the county jails filled with minorities arrested for pot possession?

    So please give us a break, really.

  137. 137
    The Pale Scot says:

    here’s what I posted over there

    Sorry Chiefie,

    You Don’t get to cast aside your humanity for personal gain and then pick it up with a Swaggartian “I have sinned”, Sanford proclaims himself an enthusiastic advocate for a Darwinian social order that relies on strict unyielding social conventions to enforce it. If your born to poor, flawed or ineffective parents that’s your problem, if your employer is bought out through a leveraged buyout and then closed when it can’t make the debt payments that’s your problem, if your injured or disabled at work and the worker’s compensation won’t cover your bills that’s your problem.

    But I’m supposed to examine my feelings for this privileged scumbag because why? Because he broke an oath to his wife who seems to be an important factor in his success? Because he betrays his children?

    And may I point out adultery is a crime in S. Carolina,

    “SECTION 16-15-60. Adultery or fornication.

    Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment and, on conviction, shall be severally punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.”

    so how long will we need to wait before the S.L.E.D. picks up this champion of law & order? Or will they too busy keeping the county jails filled with minorities arrested for pot possession?

    So please give us a break, really.

  138. 138
    stormhit says:

    @kth:

    So, thinking it’s bad to cheat means that you’re an unlikable person nobody could possibly ever want to sleep with? Is that what you’re saying? Really?

  139. 139
    The Raven says:

    I suspect that this affair was the first human things that Sanford has done since his childhood–that’s why he’s confused. Who knows, maybe it will make him more human in other areas of his life.

  140. 140
    passerby says:

    @Michael Sheridan:

    I’m not looking for catharsis, really. I was just noting that what John was seeing wasn’t a matter of simple glee at the misfortunes of another.

    I understand. I was just agreeing with your observation and expanding on your thought. The catharsis question was rhetoric.

  141. 141
  142. 142
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Argh…

    Maybe Sanford should have been a presidential candidate. He apparently represents an entire party and an entire religion.

    As much as Michael Moore represents “the left”, Richard Dawkins represents atheists, Perez Hilton represents gays, Rev. Wright represents African-Americans, etc.

    This is a standard bullshit ploy: cite bad examples of your opponents as representative of their kind while claiming that your own bad examples are unique snowflakes.

    As I’ve said before, Sanford’s family turmoil and his affair are none of my business. Sanford may genuinely be hurting, but his pain doesn’t seem to extend beyond himself and his family; as far as I’ve seen, he hasn’t said word one about the whole “leaving-the-state-with-no-functioning-executive” thing.

    The media coverage wants to gloss over the fact that he screwed his constituents over in the name of conservative “principles” and abdicated his duty as governor; instead they want to focus on the affair and the estrangement from his family. Maybe because that has a definite “story” to it; he’ll make the talk show rounds so people can castigate him for ruining his marriage, he’ll be contrite and eventually “rededicate himself to God’s law”, and we’ll be expected to lay off.

    Wake me when they decide to publish the emails that show him being castigated about not informing his staff and the lt. governor of his absence from the state — hell, the country — or from the State Department blasting him for not informing the local embassy of his presence in the country (as a government official, he could have been vulnerable to abduction or terrorist threat).

  143. 143
    Cat Lady says:

    @Stacey Green:

    I agree with this. He walked into a shitstorm, and when the reporter from The State basically called bullshit on him, he knew he’d have to confess because he had nowhere to go and no cover story that would make any sense. I think what John sees as his sincerity, and admittedly he was sincere, I see as the final acknowledgment of his inability to fool anyone for another minute. What we witnessed on TV, which is rare, is someone dealing with reality breaking through at the moment it breaks through. Should that engender sympathy? Not from me, but I admit I’m a bad person, if by being a bad person means I hold contempt for lying hypocrites who get caught.

  144. 144
    harlana pepper says:

    @cfaller96: Agreed, what is up with the blinders? So you have to have an illicit affair to be absolved from completely abdicating your duties to the state for 5 frikkin days?? He should resign immediately. The fact that he hasn’t shows he’s not based in reality and that in itself is most disconcerting.

  145. 145
    harlana pepper says:

    @Cat Lady: I loved the part of the presser where he says he told his staff he was gonna hike the trail because that was his initial plan and then he changed his mind (although exactly when he did this is unclear since his staff initially admitted they did not know where he was, if I’m not mistaken, for days). He refused to admit he flat-out lied to his staff. It seems that some see only the self-serving tears and not the egregious, persistent lying.

    Um, and did I mention the guy is whacked and needs to resign immediately?

  146. 146
    Jim-Bob says:

    @harlana:

    At least McGreevy had the good sense to step down. That he managed to play the persecuted minority card while doing so only earned him a higher degree of difficulty from our celebrity panel of judges.

    Still, I say it:

    Sanford’s hiking excuse = Appalachian FAIL.

  147. 147
    gex says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Indeed. I suspect that the quick and total confession about the affair was an attempt to put the story to bed and avoid answering questions about being away for a week without being available to govern or making arrangements for someone else to do so. After all, sex scandals only end Democrats’ careers.

  148. 148
    Robert Sneddon says:

    The governor of a US State is a person privy to a lot of secret and confidential information — national security details such as anti-terrorism efforts, emergency preparedness plans, National Guard movement plans etc. as well as financial and business information about their State’s operations and its economic future.

    Governor Sanford has been banging a foreign national for a year. Right now the CIA are climbing up a back-trail in Argentina to find out if this besotted schmuck has blown American security out of the water with pillow-talk while State Department investigators will be parachuting into Buenos Aires to try and limit any diplomatic or commercial damage done. If any evidence emerges, in public or private that his affair d’amour has been detrimental to South Carolina and the United States then expect a “resigning to spend more time with his family” statement soon.

  149. 149
    georgia pig says:

    @Emma: I acknowledge the role that Starr and others had in ginning up the Lewinsky nonsense into a full blown scandal, but that doesn’t absolve Clinton’s screwup. When you’re president, it ain’t about proving the other guy wrong, it’s about getting the job done. One way you fail to get the job done is by letting your enemies get the best of you by exploiting your weaknesses. Yeah, Ken Starr turned Whitewater into a panty raid, but that was predictable given Clinton’s history. When Ken got on the tuna trail, Clinton needed to head it off at the pass, because no one knew the truth better than Bill. Instead he tried to keep alive the fiction of him and Hillary having a “standard” marriage, which everyone knew was bullshit anyway. I’ve got no problem with him being a pussyhound per se, but trying to deny that at the cost of letting the trolls win is a fuckup that cost the country dearly. I’ve got a cousin who had both eardrums blown out by a mortar in Baghdad, and who has ongoing memory problems because of TBI. It’s crying shame, one of many over the last eight years. I can’t help but think it might not have happened if Al Gore had won just a few more votes. It’s Bush et al’s fault, but Clinton sure didn’t help matters.

  150. 150
    tripletee (formerly tBone) says:

    @slippytoad:

    Point is, if you’re not happy in your marriage fucking end it and don’t be a piece of shit to your wife. And if you’re in love with someone else than your wife commit to her and don’t be a fucking piece of shit to her by stringing her along.

    This. I understand falling in love with someone else; it’s the bullshit sneaking around and trying to have it both ways that sends my pity-meter to zero.

  151. 151

    @James Gary: E.X.A.C.T.L.Y.

    Here’s a guy who was able to put on a convincing RealAmerican(R) With Xtra Family Values act. Of course he does a great RealAmerican(R) With Xtra Contrition & RealAmerican(R) Tears act.

    Screw him and the Argentinian coastline he rode in on.

  152. 152
    Cat Lady says:

    @harlana pepper:

    It seems that some see only the self-serving tears and not the egregious, persistent lying.

    This. I saw a man trapped into confessing something he didn’t want to confess, and realizing about 2 minutes into the presser he didn’t want to call but had to call, that confessing to the affair was going to let him off the hook for confessing to all of the lies he told his staff and his poor judgment related to his dereliction of duty. To me, his performance was more about what he didn’t acknowledge but should have, than what he was forced to acknowledge. So, no pity points from me.

  153. 153
    Brachiator says:

    @slippytoad:

    If you’re really in love with your mistress, and not with your wife, you have a moral obligation to both of them….What you do is you man up, you take the financial hit, lose everything (because you WILL), and go be with who you’re happy with.

    Uh. Hmm. Well. Ur. Actor Michael Gambon (Harry Potter actor Sir Michael Gambon becomes a father at 68)

    Sir Michael, who plays Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, had the child with the 43-year-old set designer Philippa Hart, with whom he already has a two year-old son, Michael. The Irish actor’s wife of 45 years, Lady Gambon, knows about his second family and his divides his time between their two homes and a flat in London, according to The Sun newspaper….Sir Michael shares a £4m home with his wife in Gravesend, Kent, but visits Miss Hart in South West London “a few times a week”, the friend said.

    This is only to point out that life is complicated, and the decisions that people make about their romantic lives is not always based on choosing between a wife or a mistress.

  154. 154
    Robin G. says:

    @tripletee (formerly tBone):

    I understand falling in love with someone else; it’s the bullshit sneaking around and trying to have it both ways that sends my pity-meter to zero.

    I’ve seen this so many times that among my friends it’s become known in the shorthand as “Cake.”

    Ex. “I care so much about them both. I don’t want to be that guy who leaves his wife for someone new, but I just love the woman too much to give her up, she’s my heart and soul. I just can’t stand the thought of hurting anyone.” CAKE.

  155. 155
    Barbara says:

    Hey Slippytoad, I hear you, and for approximately the same reason think the schadenfreude is justified, but I would venture that no more than 1 out of 10 divorces involve spouses who actually wait to do the deed; in fact, I would bet money that Sanford (like many others) was in a state of denial about what he was actually doing or what he really wanted until he found himself alone in a room naked with his senorita.

    It’s that level of emotional numbness and denial that interests me — that his paint by numbers life led him into a situation where everything seemed right on the outside but he wasn’t getting that aesthetically pleasing effect that comes from real art or life. I even wonder whether his clear lack of empathy for the people of his state was a form of projection arising out of his own feelings of self-sacrifice (and I wonder that a lot about people who subscribe to particularly harsh moral codes).

  156. 156

    @Jackie:

    He is hardly alone in writing bad prose under the influence

    Actually, the emails I’ve seen are pretty tremendous. The guy knows how to write a love letter.

  157. 157
    Dusty says:

    This is only to point out that life is complicated, and the decisions that people make about their romantic lives is not always based on choosing between a wife or a mistress.

    Sure, some people can make an unconventional setup work, but that’s not what’s going on here. His wife’s clearly a believer in traditional monogamy.

  158. 158
    Dave says:

    That is complete bullshit.

    Where the fuck was the fucking human compassion when Spitzer stood in front of the microphone and fell on the sword??!??

    Yes, I do wish that as a collective group we humans were more compassionate. There is a great work of fiction about a guy that comes down to earth and tries to show the humans how to be show more grace towards fellow humans. The book is so popular, that millions of people think that this fictional character is real and build huge places and statues in his honor. However, these same people are the first to judge those that have misgivings. Bullshit.

    After Vitter, I didn’t hear one self-professed Christian say, “Wow, Vitter and Spitzer have fallen to sin, we should understand the pain that these guys are going through and try to help them and their families.”

    Also, Sanford is a sanctimonious piece of shit. If you spend your public life placing yourself above others by admonishing them their travails and sins, don’t go fucking whine about how bad you are being treated when people are pointing out that you are, in fact, a hypocritical sanctimonious piece of shit.

  159. 159
    gex says:

    @tripletee (formerly tBone): Following your heart and being truthful and honest with yourself and others is for DFHs. And it is destroying our culture and stuff. These children are better off going through this than having his parents be honest, civil, and split.

    /end family values take

  160. 160
    cfaller96 says:

    Comrade Dread said:

    I don’t know. I’ll see how he reacts in the coming weeks and months. If he takes responsibility and resigns, I’ll probably be satisfied.

    Um, no, that’s ridiculous. If in the coming weeks and months Sanford does resign, it will be because he was forced to by constituents, colleagues, and/or the media. Sanford’s opportunity to personally repent and take personal responsibility for his horrible governance was yesterday. He didn’t do that.

    He blew any opportunity he had for sympathy yesterday. I see no evidence of remorse for his horrible governance, so fuck him.

  161. 161
    colleeniem says:

    @132. OMFG, this. If you are truly in love, and feel sorry for the ones you hurt, get off the pot and accept the consequences of the one side or the other. It’s not a christian ethic, it’s a human one.
    He’s still not doing that. He hasn’t done it for months while he had the chance to do it without someone holding his feet to the fire (besides his wife) and we should feel bad cause he cried, and this shows how much pain he’s in?
    NO SALE.
    I empathize with your position, though, John. Does that help?

  162. 162

    And while I shouldn’t be surprised at the number of people just saying “fuck him”, it does make me and six-pound-four-ounce Baby Jesus sad. I thought lack of empathy was supposed to be a right-wing trait. I guess denying the humanity of your perceived enemies crosses the political spectrum.

    I’m more interested in seeing if and how Mark Sanford’s views change now that he’s living through this, rather than watch you lot bathe in the rancid waters of your own intolerance.

  163. 163
    gwangung says:

    And while I shouldn’t be surprised at the number of people just saying “fuck him”, it does make me and six-pound-four-ounce Baby Jesus sad. I thought lack of empathy was supposed to be a right-wing trait. I guess denying the humanity of your perceived enemies crosses the political spectrum.

    I’m more interested in seeing if and how Mark Sanford’s views change now that he’s living through this, rather than watch you lot bathe in the rancid waters of your own intolerance.

    I’d just as soon have that done as Sanford, private citizen, as opposed to Sanford, governor of South Carolina.

  164. 164
    Emma says:

    Georgia Pig: Oh I agree with you about Clinton’s mishandling of the situation. If he had just said: personal is personal and fuck off, I would have respected him a great deal more. But, having said that, the press and the government changed the rules on Bill. The extension of Starr’s brief was at best extralegal. Whoever wants to argue that, please don’t. As far as I’m concerned, going to Congress and saying: I know you want me to find him guilty but I’m not getting anything so how about I chase his underwear is about as close to spitting on the law as it can get.

    That’s why I can find no sympathy in my heart for Sandford. He was part and parcel of all the “holier-than-thou” crap that his conservative pseudo-Christian allies have put this country through for two decades. Seeing caught in his own trap, and seeing him being helped out of it by people who want us to feel sorry for “the poor schlub” makes me pissy.

  165. 165
    Shinobi says:

    I thought lack of empathy was supposed to be a right-wing trait. I guess denying the humanity of your perceived enemies crosses the political spectrum.

    Don’t confuse lack of empathy with lack of sympathy.

    And lets not confuse lack of sympathy for guys who are running an entire state into the ground and take a few days off from it to go fuck their mistress in a foreign country, with lack of sympathy for people who are actually suffering in a real and meaningful way.

    Some people suffer because they are in shitty circumstances, and some people suffer because they created their own shitty circumstances. They both deserve our empathy, but only one deserves our sympathy.

  166. 166

    @Brachiator: If Sir Michael has made a career out of wagging his finger at people who don’t adhere to Family Values(TM), then screw him too.

  167. 167
    JC says:

    Just saw this now.

    I agree with you John. This is more self-revealing, someone trying to be faithful to his faith, at least a bit, than a lot of politicians I’ve seen.

    Would it have been the same if he hadn’t been caught? Probably not.

    But if you have a soul, you can’t help feeling for the guy. In the partisan back and forth, let’s not forget our humanity.

  168. 168
    Shell Goddamnit says:

    The pain & suffering of a man who doesn’t give a shit about the pain & suffering of others does not invoke my sympathy. It invokes my contempt.

    And my mean mean sense of humor, but that’s another matter.

  169. 169
    Michael Sheridan says:

    @Dave:

    Also, Sanford is a sanctimonious piece of shit. If you spend your public life placing yourself above others by admonishing them their travails and sins, don’t go fucking whine about how bad you are being treated when people are pointing out that you are, in fact, a hypocritical sanctimonious piece of shit.

    To be scrupulously fair, I haven’t heard Sanford do much whining about this yet. I have seen a number of posts at Red State and elsewhere in the wrong-o-sphere whining on his behalf, but nothing like that yet from Sanford.

    (And, no, I don’t think John’s original post or his later comments in this thread constitute “whining” on behalf of Sanford – more like a plea to us to be our better selves.)

  170. 170
    WereBear says:

    I see this thread is still going, and forgive me for going Godwin.

    But in the Berlin bunker in 1945, there were Goebbels and his wife; and there were their six children. They all took cyanide. We can say, “oh, poor things, they must have suffered so.”

    But Goebbels and his wife were responsible for what was happening, and took their poison voluntarily.

    On a human level, anything I feel for them is eclipsed by what I feel, to this day, for their children, who were between 4-12 years old when they were murdered by their parents; who had already murdered millions.

    So compassion is on a scale; and Sandford gets a grain of sand.

  171. 171
    tripletee (formerly tBone) says:

    Following your heart and being truthful and honest with yourself and others is for DFHs. And it is destroying our culture and stuff.

    Exactly. Against the relentless onslaught of gay marriage, traditional marriage must be preserved at all costs, even if it means lying to your family and everyone around you and occasionally ignoring all of your responsibilities to jet off to Argentina for an extra-marital liaison with a hot Latina honey. It’s the only honorable thing to do.

  172. 172
    LindaH says:

    What I am saying is that I saw a confused hurting guy whose personal life is in shambles, he looked like he was in love and didn’t give a shit about politics or his political future and who was somewhat distressed. Now I may be wrong about that, and he may just be pulling a job on me, but that is what I saw.

    What, exactly, that has to do with all your personal grievances about his politics is beyond me. I feel like I am reading a god damned thread at Red State discussing the Clenis.

    The thing is I think many of the responses fall into two categories:

    1) We don’t believe that he was portraying honest emotions, just that he is a good actor trying to wiggle out of scandal by looking hurt vulnerable and sympathetic.

    2)Yes he feels bad and distressed, but let’s face it, that $2.00 will by you a cup of coffee. In other words who cares.

    I don’t know what he really feels and I don’t really care. I do care if he does his job and I do care that he abandoned that job when he wanted to have a little fling. And if he feels bad and torn on his actions he should talk to his minister, not me.

  173. 173
    Jymn says:

    Dickerson’s post was despicable. Yesterday, the TV was overloaded with praise for a man who bankrupted his state, created massive unemployment, cheated on his wife, and lied to everyone. The only reason the gullible elite rushed to Sanford’s defense is that he stood heroically alone like Randolph Scott at the podium despite obviously being forced to do so by sleazy facts yet to be unsheathed. Sanford is not noble and does not deserve our pity or our forgiveness. He is to reviled and Dickerson’s (and Cole’s, Crowley’s, Matthews’ and the rest of the fawning media) caresses are insulting.

  174. 174
    D. Sidhe says:

    How’s this for recognition of his humanity: I haven’t compared his relationship with his wife or mistress to a relationship with a box turtle or dog, nor am I interested in making it illegal.

    I’ll save my sympathy for people who’ve been hurt through someone else’s actions.

  175. 175
    cfaller96 says:

    I’m more interested in seeing if and how Mark Sanford’s views change now that he’s living through this, rather than watch you lot bathe in the rancid waters of your own intolerance.

    Oh, that was beautiful. So, in your mind:

    Attempting to hold a governor accountable == “bathing in the rancid waters of intolerance”

    Wow. How is the air up there?

    No one here is calling for Sanford to resign strictly because he had an affair- rather, it’s his horrible behavior as a governor directly related to the affair that has got some of us SC residents up in arms.

    It’s pretty obvious that his governance has been hindered by this affair, so I fail to see how calling for his resignation is some form of intolerance. Come down off your high horse and focus on what matters.

  176. 176
    Bill Teefy says:

    I am not with you here. If he was really a person of honor or integrity he would have shut his yapper and resigned from public life and moved to nowhere. The media could have been left to do the crap it always does and he could have no-commented until people were bored with him.

    The parable I hate most is the prodigal son. Mostly because the point, that if you are truly sorry god forgives, has been twisted to, “if you make a public confession everyone you screwed should forgive.” They also always leave out the part where the prodigal son NEVER goes to back to the big city.

    Maybe someday I will feel the sorry for the Sanford…There is a certain amount of cynical humor in his hypocrisy. And I will admit that I enjoy his comeuppance. But I certainly don’t feel actual joy over his failings as a human.

    An aside:
    Contrast the after-confession lives of the constant stream of please-forgive-me-I-have-sinned conservatives with the man they love to hate Jimmy Carter.

  177. 177
    Shell Goddamnit says:

    And seriously, if this makes Sanford re-think his inhumane version of “faith” then I will be a) surprised and b) at least a bit more sympathetic. But let’s see the results of this wrestling before cutting him too much slack.

    I dunno, it just doesn’t impress me when a guy who has never thought twice about his stultifying, mean-ass faith decides that since it is he who is the focus it’s worth thinking about now.

  178. 178
    Brachiator says:

    @Dusty:

    Sure, some people can make an unconventional setup work, but that’s not what’s going on here. His wife’s clearly a believer in traditional monogamy.

    The Irish born Gambon and his wife are Catholics, and believe in traditional monogamy (no divorce).

    Again, life is complicated.

    jake 4 that 1 — If Sir Michael has made a career out of wagging his finger at people who don’t adhere to Family Values…

    Sir Michael was wagging something, but it wasn’t his finger.

    Anton Sirius — Actually, the emails I’ve seen are pretty tremendous. The guy knows how to write a love letter.

    I agree with you here. And this is one of the things that makes the Sanford case a tragicomedy with political dimensions. It was offputting to hear him talk about “sparking” during his confessional press conference. He was reliving the early stages of apparently genuine infatuation with his paramour. On the one hand, this was way too much information. On the other hand, it was kinda cute.

    And yet, Sanford is still stuck in that “Christianity makes you sanctimonous” mode. It’s too bad, because there are glimmers of an interesting personality there.

  179. 179
    binzinerator says:

    The pain he’s caused, the hypocrisies he’s engaged in, seemed like license to deny him any humanity at all.

    He didn’t seem too willing to extend that acknowledgement of humanity to lots of other people. In fact, he made it part of his political career to NOT do that.

    And Dickerson and John and others seem to forget this guy’s plea for our acceptance of his humanity — that’s what it was — is a selfish act. When this guy evokes human sympathy, it’s about humanity for him.

    When Sanford takes this episode as an enlightening moment, a way to teach himself to open himself to the humanity of other people — gays and the poor — when he expresses such an emotional demonstration of humanity for these other people, then I will extend to him this humanity he wants so badly.

    Until then, it was just yet another southern conservative’s calculated political performance, one that will pull the strings and push all the right buttons of his hyper-religious constituency in the way he wants.

    Dickerson and John are suckers. Guys like Sanford are where they are because it works. And they know it. Why do you think Sanford didn’t resign?

    edit.
    Ask yourself why, exactly, did this guy apologize to the world for his affair? What was the purpose? Who was all that God and the christian code mumbo-jumob for?

    The only people he needed to apologize to for his affair are his wife and his kids. And as some seem to think — and as he himself thinks — it should be a private matter. Well what the fuck — the guy lets it all hang out there, in public, when he didn’t have to and then asks them for privacy?

    Others have touched on this, in that all he needed to publicly apologize for was his dereliction of duty as governor. And as commenter Louise noted in an earlier thread:

    he avoided the only real issue; his abandoning his post as Governor. No apology to the LG, no statement as to how he will stop ditching his state whenever he feels like it, nothing.

    And as PeopleAreNoDamnedGood said it:

    The world did not line up at his podium today to hear him apologize. It lined up to hear him explain his behavior vis a vis the governorship of the state.
    . …We didn’t need the lectures about faith, god, and sin. All that rambling, that’s all stuff between himself and his family and his pastor, and his staff.

    That whole apology god rambling bit was political theater, hitting the godbothering suckers who elected him right where he knows it counts. Humanity, my ass.

    Dickerson:

    Yet in the constant flow of abuse, joke-making, and grand conclusions about his failings, it seemed everyone having a good time pointing at his self-indulgence was also engaging in a form of it.

    Fuck Dickerson. He can blow it out his ass. He lets hypocrites off the hook he deserves to have them run his life. In fact, they are counting on this, which is gotta be one of the biggest and shittiest thing about these kind of people: They’ll shit all over others then when their hypocrisy is found out they make a tearful appeal to everyone’s better nature for being granted what they refused to grant anyone else.

  180. 180
    JL says:

    After reading Sanford’s love emails to Maria, it was obvious that he was a man who had deep feelings for his mistress. The problem is the last year he has spent numerous times on TV preaching family values and faith. God won’t help him out of this one but a psychologist might.

  181. 181
    Jason says:

    @demimondian: I think that’s an interesting point. A lot of discussion so far has centered on the discrepancies between his actions, his faith, and his policy rhetoric. But you really don’t have to be any religion in order to understand the emotional, sexual desperation of a middle-aged married man/woman en route to a serious romantic entanglement. So the hypocrisy of the thing hasn’t bothered me that much: it’s possible for me to imagine a way he does this not as Governor, or culture warrior, but as Aging Dude giving over to his desires. So I’m thinking maybe the best gauge of his sincerity, his sense of duty to his family, faith, and office, is where he’s at ideologically and professionally some time from now.

  182. 182
    Dusty says:

    @ Brachiator

    The Irish born Gambon and his wife are Catholics, and believe in traditional monogamy (no divorce).

    The Catholic Church believes in traditional monogamy, but Gambon and his wife have apparently personally managed to work their way around that. I don’t get the impression that Jenny Sanford’s interpretation of scripture or the moral code imposed by it is flexible enough to be content with her husband carrying on a long-term, emotionally and sexually intimate relationship with another woman. So I’m not sure what the point of bringing up Gambon in a discussion of what options would be available to a Mark Sanford is.

    I mean, yes, life is complicated. It’d be nice if people like Sanford would acknowledge that and be more tolerant of the failings of others, even if they themselves have never faltered.

  183. 183
    gex says:

    Listen, I’d really love if we could stop this insane puritanical morality play that is American politics as much as anyone else here. But I’m not disarming unilaterally. If I have to play by Sanford’s rules, SO DOES SANFORD.

  184. 184
    binzinerator says:

    @Michael Sheridan:

    I think these people actually understand that they’ll never be immune to human weakness – which is why they are constantly trying to create an environment in which they have eliminated all temptation to “sin”.

    That’s an excellent observation.

    It’s ironic that the people who present themselves as having the strongest faith actually have the weakest.

  185. 185
    Calouste says:

    John Cole,

    You might have build up some liberal veneer over the last few years, but deep down in your heart you are still a conservative palooka willing, nah eager, to be played like a fiddle by a smooth talking right wing politico with great hair.

    Sanford was all talk and theatre. Other than the presentation being more convincing to some rubes than Ensign’s, his actions after being caught were exactly the same as Ensign. He resigned a minor post and is looking for damage control.

    Unless Sanford comes out in the next week that he is resigning as Governor because of he realizes that his behavior was to irresponsible for the position he held, working on a painless divorce with his wife and moving to Argentina to be with his true love, I don’t see a reason why we would have any sympathy with him at all.

  186. 186
    georgia pig says:

    @Emma:

    On to Sanford. John, I understand what you’re saying, but, let me give you a slightly different view. I think he was in pain, yes, but I also think he was using it as stagecraft.

    True, but the real difficulty here is not distinguishing the real from artifice, but distinguishing the authentic from the merely possible. As many have pointed out, Sanford’s sin is excessive narcissism, and what matters to the public at large is how that affects his ability to serve his constituents. This is why it matters that he has been a shitty governor, because this incident constitutes yet another example of shitty governance and, in particular, another example of how his narcissism has negatively impacted his state (e.g., even his fellow SC repubs were telling him to let go of the “turn down the stimulus” crapola as a lost cause and harmful to SC). Repeat, there’s nothing instrinsically wrong about falling in love with an Argentine, it’s what you do when it happens. Sanford’s pain may be real enough, but there is no redemption in the expression of pain alone. Why do you resign from the RGA leadership, but not resign as governor? Are you still bargaining to get away with something, like you evidently were trying to do with your wife? Many haggle over the price and end up not buying the rug. That’s why I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon with John on this one.

  187. 187
    Jason says:

    @passerby:

    But Jason, did we really need to see the emails to know Sanford is human? Do they provide any detail we needed to know before concluding that he’s a flawed human?

    No, of course not, and I’m not going to tell you that your queasiness is some symptom of an overdeveloped privacy gland or something. You making a criticism of The State’s publication of the emails carries as much weight as any single criticism of Sanford’s words and/or deeds made here, doesn’t it? It’s just not as common at this point (though I suspect you won’t be the only one making this point).

    But by the same token, neither the affair, or the press conference, or the apology, or any one single thing confers the “human” on this guy. We’re not just judging him by or in the case of the apology, that’s just been the most glaringly judge-able moment so far. My opinion is being informed by the emails, but I see them as part of a conversation established by the governor with, I suspect, an understanding of how the conversation functions for somebody in his position. And even if he didn’t, well, I think that’s how the cookie crumbles anyway.

    Even though the emails are deliciously stupid, I understand what is happening in them as being an honest record of the relationship (whether one was charming the pants off the other is a matter of perspective), and more likely to make me sympathetic to the governor than the bullshit apology. So I’d suggest that, as many more of us have made advances on people who aren’t our SOs than have had to eat it at a press conference, this furthers the public good in a way. The press conference just seems to reinforce the distinction between public figures and the people they serve while pretending to erase it.

  188. 188
    LD50 says:

    The pain he’s caused, the hypocrisies he’s engaged in, seemed like license to deny him any humanity at all.

    I don’t know where this bullshit Hallmark idea that we’re ‘denying his humanity’ comes from. We’re not doing anything of the kind. We’re basically pointing out that’s he’s a sanctimonious hypocrite who’s never hesitated to cause pain to or demonize others for his political/personal gain, yet who is now asking for pity (and to keep his job, probably) for his own selfish reasons. Sounds plenty ‘human’ to me. But sympathy? Why? Fuck him.

  189. 189
    LD50 says:

    I’m more interested in seeing if and how Mark Sanford’s views change now that he’s living through this, rather than watch you lot bathe in the rancid waters of your own intolerance.

    This is a truly bizarre use of the word ‘intolerance’.

  190. 190
    Desert Rat says:

    And I saw the latest in a long line of pretentious assholes who use their “faith” as a cudgel to bludgeon people whose only crime is to love each other, now begging forgiveness for being that endearing combination of lying hypocrite and bigoted jerk.

    It’s not about being a person of faith. It’s not even about making a big mistake and hurting from it. It’s about sitting as judge and jury of how other people lead their lives when you’re not exactly a paragon of virtue yourself.

    A loving, committed, monogamous gay or lesbian couple will never cause as much real harm and suffering to others as Mark Sanford has. Stew in it, Sanford, you asshole. You deserve it.

  191. 191
    jvill says:

    Like John McCain, who similarly had a mea culpa moment in regards to the S&L debacle, Sanford only found religion after getting caught.

    That’s not worthy of much pity. That’s someone trying to rescue whatever they have left after getting busted.

    I didn’t detect much remorse in the emails to his lover, bragging about being on the veep shortlist.

  192. 192
    neil says:

    John Cole is a very kind, compassionate mensch. You can see it in his love of animals, you can see it in his posts every day. His sense of empathy comes from a very good, heartfelt place.

    For my part, I don’t particularly care if he gets mocked 900 ways to Sunday over this. Republicans mostly deserve it – not only for generally being holier-than-thou, “family values” platitude-spewing phonies – but because of their more evil traits – like routinely belittling, mocking, marginalizing, and demonizing great swaths of human beings (anyone not like them, essentially) as long as they think it will get them nominations or votes. Sorry – but that’s a particular sword you deserve to die by if you are vicious and nasty enough to live by it.

    Sanford has always been perfectly comfortable in the swine pen that is the modern-day Republican Party – so he deserves whatever mockery he gets.

    My own philosophy is that I refuse to waste empathy on the irredeemably callous. I just won’t do it. It’s a waste of time and frankly, I just can’t bring myself to feel it. These people are only ever sorry about one thing and one thing only – that they got caught. Boo-frickin-hoo.

    Other than that, these tacky, petty bourgeois scandals are a bore. Though – if I were a resident of South Carolina, I’d want him gone. Period. He needs to resign and do it now. Not because he had a mistress -who cares? – but because he disappeared for five days while he was a sitting governor and nobody knew how to reach him – and he left nobody in charge with the authority to act in a possible emergency while he was off having his little, narcissistic mid-life crisis.

    They should impeach him if he doesn’t go on his own steam.

  193. 193
    Amanda says:

    I could honestly care less about his infidelity, altho the hypocrisy of another family values holier than thou person not living up to the religious beliefs he wants to impose on the rest of us — yeah, that pisses me off big time. I have no patience or sympathy for him on that front. Maybe he’ll gain some insight into how it feels to be judged on that front? But despite that, seriously, there are PLENTY of elected reps who cheat on their significant others. Doesn’t affect their ability to do their jobs. (See: Kennedy, Ted; Roosevelt, Franklin, etc, etc.)

    What I find the most disturbing about this situation with Sanford is his attitude toward his job and that he felt he could just go off the radar with no provision for emergencies — and that so little of the outrage, it seems, is focused on that. This guy thought it was okay to go off the radar for close to a week, lie to his Lt. Gov. and the Legislature and his staff about his whereabouts.

    The guy has an important job. It’s not optional. If there’d been a real emergency, South Carolina’s citizens would have been up a creek potentially.

    Imagine if you will the levels of nuclear outrage among the Villagers and the Republicans and a lot of Democrats too if Mark Sandford, as FAUX NEWS suggested, were a Democrat? He would have been impeached within 2 hours and thrown out on his ear. Or forced to resign.

    Being a public servant isn’t a hobby. We as citizens should be outraged when our elected representatives treat their jobs like a hobby. It’s offensive, imo.

  194. 194
    Brachiator says:

    @Dusty:

    The Catholic Church believes in traditional monogamy, but Gambon and his wife have apparently personally managed to work their way around that.

    Quite a few Catholics make similar decisions, but do it quietly, out of the way of the public eye. They respect (or fear) the Church’s prohibition against divorce, but they also find a way to deal with the practical reality of failed or unsatisfying marriages by initiating a new relationship.

    French president Mitterrand is another example of a devout Catholic who never divorced, and had a long term relationship with his mistress, Anne Pingeot (and had a child with her).

    My main point in bringing this up is to note that in the real world, traditional monogamy is often neither traditional nor monogamous.

    So I’m not sure what the point of bringing up Gambon in a discussion of what options would be available to a Mark Sanford is.

    I’m not really that interested in the options that Sanford makes in his private life. That’s between him and his wife. And his mistress.

    What I find more interesting and sad is that Sanford still doesn’t realize that his narrow vision of his faith created the very dilemma that has tainted his public life.

    Republicans, in general, don’t get it, and so are doomed to repeat these hypocritical perp walk press conferences in which they seek forgiveness for their moral failings, after having spent much of their political careers persecuting others for the same damn thing.

  195. 195
    Tony J says:

    Point is, if you’re not happy in your marriage fucking end it and don’t be a piece of shit to your wife. And if you’re in love with someone else than your wife commit to her and don’t be a fucking piece of shit to her by stringing her along.

    This.

    It’s pretty clear that the only thing Sanford was crying about was the realisation that he’s not going to be on the ticket for 2012. He did, after all, spend the 5 months working hard to position himself as the electable darling of the wingnut right. Meaning he was never, ever planning on divorcing his wife, and had no intention of taking his relationship with ‘Maria’ past the ‘exotic sex’ phase.

    Now he can’t be, and it makes him cry. To which I say, “Good. It should.”

  196. 196
    Elie says:

    Numbskull:

    You said it all in my opinion:

    “He could have, and should have, resigned for dereliction of duties as governor. Period. That’s all that needed to be said in the presser. The rest is personal stuff that is none of my business, none of your business, and none of anyone else’s business. It’s just not.

    But what did Sanford do? He gets up there and and the only thing he does is embarrass his wife and kids. Why? Because by doing this he knows that the focus will remain on the personal and not the professional. It allows him to keep his job AND it heads off questions about the actual important stuff, like why he shouldn’t be impeached by the citizens of South Carolina for skipping out for a week.

    BTW, has anyone asked that his pay be docked for four days?”

    He gets no props from me because of the self serving nature of this confessional. I would like to see him resign. Note he is clinging to that post with no intention of doing that which tells me a lot in the face of his poor JOB RELATED performance. Save the grand opera for someone else…

  197. 197
    Dusty says:

    What I find more interesting and sad is that Sanford still doesn’t realize that his narrow vision of his faith created the very dilemma that has tainted his public life.

    Ah. Well, sure. But the poster you were originally responding to was describing a scenario more analogous to the options Sanford had available, so I still don’t think Gambon’s situation is particularly relevant as a rebuttal to his point. Even if Mark Sanford had overcome his own moral qualms, it’s unlikely that his wife would have.

  198. 198
    LD50 says:

    Some very interesting poll numbers on what the people of SC think of Sanford’s future here.

    A new poll by SurveyUSA, conducted Wednesday, shows that 60 percent of South Carolinians believe Sanford should resign, while 34 percent think he should stay in office and five percent aren’t sure. More women than men want Sanford gone — 64 percent of women said he should resign, compared to 56 percent of men — though the difference is just barely within the margin of error. But there’s a much larger difference between the opinions of white respondents and black respondents. 81 percent of African Americans said they think Sanford should resign; only 53 percent of whites said the same thing.
    The really bad news for Sanford, a Republican, is that this poll isn’t just a reflection of what Democrats think. True, 74 percent of Democrats want the governor to resign, and that skews the overall result. But 61 percent of independents feel the same way, and Republicans were split, with 48 percent saying he should step down compared to 47 percent saying he shouldn’t.

    So half of SC’s Republicans, primarily its white males, don’t think what Sanford did means he should leave his job. Color me unfuckingsurprised.

  199. 199
    Left Coast Tomt says:

    I trust we can agree on making fun of Limbaugh for claiming Sanford’s adultery is Obama’s fault.

  200. 200
    TuiMel says:

    Perhaps I’m tone deaf, but I did not hear any “confusion” at all from Sanford. I did witness a heaping helping of denial, however. As others have pointed out, if one pays attention to the time Sanford spends in public therapy for himself, one can see he knows exactly where his heart is. It is for his mistress and for himself. I cannot summon any compassion for this guy or pity for that matter. But, not to worry, he has plenty of pity for himself; he will never be short on pity.

    The press conference was a train wreck (from the giggling girl in the background to Sanford’s utter lack of focus on the salient points he needed to make). I do not know who is to blame for that (although some pundit last night wondered aloud, “Why WOULD his staff want to help him?” In my eyes Sanford would have been a much more successful “human” had he spoke of the “hurt” he has caused his family ahead of that he supposedly caused his mistress (in the emails I am sorry to confess I read she does not sound the least bit sorry). He would have been a more successful human had he acknowledged that he never cut any other person in his position the slack he was now asking for.

    I’ve tried to feel for his humanity (I do recognize it); but the “cold” switch keeps flipping.

  201. 201
    georgia pig says:

    @Tony J: Excellent point. So much for Maria’s tan lines and luscious melones (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Someone said above that this boils down to his desire for little exotic nookie on the side while enjoying the status of the church deacon, which seems about right.

  202. 202
    LD50 says:

    @Left Coast Tomt:

    But wouldn’t that be bathing in the rancid waters of our own intolerance?

  203. 203
    Ruckus says:

    I want to feel for him. I want to summon some humanity. I want to summon the humanity in all of us to find those things for Sanford.
    But I can’t seem to do that.
    Yes he is human and made a very common human mistake. Yes he has seemed genuine and human in his response to being caught out. That’s better than a lot of people, both in and out of the spotlight.
    But I still can’t figure out how to be that better person here, not after all the morality BS from Sanford. He lost my respect for his humanity with his moral and political positions.
    He has acted in an inhumane way towards the rest of the world for decades, one human failing and a very human response does not erase all of that.

  204. 204
    Mike in NC says:

    So half of SC’s Republicans, primarily its white males, don’t think what Sanford did means he should leave his job. Color me unfuckingsurprised.

    If it weren’t for term limits they’d happily re-elect him.

  205. 205
    Rupert says:

    I do not sympathize with Sanford because he appears not to sympathize with others.
    If he chooses to learn from this that we are all fallible, and those that fall should be lifted up, not ground into the dirt, then I will have more sympathy for him.
    But that would leave no place for him in the Republican party.

  206. 206
    Rand Careaga says:

    Jay in Oregon says: As much as Michael Moore represents “the left”, Richard Dawkins represents atheists, Perez Hilton represents gays, Rev. Wright represents African-Americans, etc. This is a standard bullshit ploy: cite bad examples of your opponents as representative of their kind while claiming that your own bad examples are unique snowflakes.

    I take the point, but I don’t think the scholarly and urbane Richard Dawkins belongs in that rogues’ gallery you’ve assembled.

  207. 207

    He is scum. He railed against those who Katrina displaced saying they should suck it up rather than ask for government assistance. He is a complete hypocrite and if he had his way we would all be home schooled by the religious right. He would send us to camps if we exhibited any homosexual tendencies.

    I am glad “The State” played this story so well and broke this scum’s career. I feel for his wife and kids. I have no sympathy for him.

  208. 208
    Gonzo Reiter says:

    South American media sites have identified the woman as 43-year-old Maria Belen Chapur. La Nacion , a newspaper in Bueno Aires named her and another newspaper, Le Clarin , identified her with an alternate spelling María Belén Shapur.

    A South Carolina blog has identified the woman pictured here as María Belén Shapur, but that report hasn’t yet been confirmed.

  209. 209
    dbrown says:

    @John Cole: Again, you are so wrong; just like anyone else defending this asswipe. If said asswipe had stood up and said he was wrong to judge Clinton and regretted his impeachment vote and that he would rethink his position on gay marriage because now he understands that people that do not follow his moral compass deserve compassion and understanding, then I would agree he has earned the right to stand there and apologize.

    These points were never said or even touched upon.

    That being said he also is an asshole because he did not admit to failing completely at the job he was elected and swore an oath to perform so he would now resign.

    If this lowlife asswipe had done these simple things then he would be worthy of forgiveness and deserving of his apology. Asswipe looser that would eat shit for more money and power to walk over the less fortunate is all that steaming pile of lying shit really is.

  210. 210
    bjacques says:

    In his personal life, I wish him the best of luck in growing, learning some lessons, taking responsibility and finding the strength and wisdom to reconcile things with his family and his girlfriend and to try to undo the hurt he has caused to date.

    In his political life, I wish the utter destruction of a career built on divisiveness, sanctimony and callousness to be so complete as to shock Genghis Khan and the guy who did the animation of a meteorite destroying the earth to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig In The Sky,” and to take down similarly-founded careers.

    How’s that for holding two thoughts in mind?

    But I’ve seen little evidence so far, even in Sanford’s extremity, that the former will ever come to pass, since Sanford so far seems to have noted that Dave Vitter and Larry Craig brazened it out and kept their jobs and hopes to do the same. We didn’t see remorse, we saw bargaining. As his political career has depended on invading the private lives of many of us, I’m perfectly happy to see him driven out of office for being a rotten person instead of being a rotten governor. I’d say cashier him now and agonize over it later, but I think the state GOP and any guardian angels he had at the national level will kick him to the curb, to limit the damage to the party.

  211. 211
    Ken says:

    I’m not buyin’ what Sanford is trying to sell. He’s a narcisstic ass. I’m not rolling with the forgiveness schtick because he admitted to cheating on his wife and children. The only reason he had the stumblin’, bumblin’ presser is because the newspaper told him they would release the mistress emails and he wanted to get ahead of the curve.

    The infidelity will be dealt with by Mrs Sanford; here business and her’s only. The dereliction of duty of Sanford’s is inexcusable, going AWOL for close to a week being incommunicado is another poor-choice moment. Fuck him, no sympathy at all for this nincompoop.

  212. 212
    divorcelawyer says:

    There’s usually nothing more pathetic than the middle aged narcissist who fucks around and gets caught and then realizes, after its way too late, that he actually loves and needs his wife. By then, she’s done,

  213. 213
    Kafka says:

    I enjoyed the pure spectacle of it- like it was divine art. It was real as shit, otherwise it would have been mere theater.

    We’re not hippies this time around. I seem to remember Jesus not having too much sympathy for the Pharisees and Sadducees. He did have sympathy for the poor, sick and downtrodden though- I’m on their side, not this asshat who rode his wife’s wealth to office. He bit the hand that fed- and seems to have been ‘helped along’ by his fellow Repubs.

  214. 214
    r€nato says:

    @Tony J:

    you just made me realize something, I wish this twit Sanford had not gone jaunting off to Argentina without bothering to tell anybody.

    Much better that he had been in the midst of a general election campaign in 2012 (either as pres or veep) when this all came down. He did the GOP a great big huge favor by going AWOL now instead of 3 years from now.

  215. 215
    r€nato says:

    …and now Sanford’s wife is publicly saying, ‘fuck him, I’m moving on with my life whether with or without him.’

    Well not quite that bluntly but she did say she doesn’t give a shit about his career at this point.

    I also learned she is a former Wall Street executive. So basically, she has a pair, she’s not completely reliant on him, and it’s not too surprising she didn’t do the disgusting ‘stand by your man’ appearance at the podium with him.

  216. 216
    r€nato says:

    @Amanda:

    Imagine if you will the levels of nuclear outrage among the Villagers and the Republicans and a lot of Democrats too if Mark Sandford, as FAUX NEWS suggested, were a Democrat? He would have been impeached within 2 hours and thrown out on his ear. Or forced to resign.

    I am forced to watch Faux News in the summer (don’t ask) and Hannity was semi-defending the guy. “Oh, so Republicans actually HAVE morals!”, he said. (following up with a comment that Democrats have none so it is impossible for them to violate them.)

    I don’t know why I haven’t smashed the TV here on a daily basis, being forced to listen to this garbage.

  217. 217
    Calouste says:

    Also, Sanford’s “spur of the moment” decision to go chase Argentinian tail instead of hike the Appalachian trail was actually booked 10 days in advance.

    People can feel bad for a guy even has he is still lying to their face, but don’t complain if you get mocked for doing so.

  218. 218
    Cassidy says:

    Yeah…how many hours does it take to fly to Argentina? He had how long to think about this before he actually went through with it? I got no sympathy.

Comments are closed.