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Tilting at Windmills

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June 25, 2009
By: Hilzoy

Obligatory Sanford Post

I watched his news conference, and I thought he looked at or near the end of his rope. I admire him for taking responsibility for what he did, though I don't at all admire what he did, either the 'betraying your wife and four kids' part or the 'leaving your state in the lurch and putting your staff in a completely untenable position' part.

I wonder who leaked the emails? And why? And why did the paper hold them for months?

I think about his sons. The youngest is ten. This has to be excruciating for them. I hope they don't have the kinds of horrible classmates who might make the next weeks and months a misery.

Strangest Sanford- related fact I've seen: he digs holes "to unwind".

Quote I wish he wishes he'd either borne in mind or not said in the first place:

"But I think the Bible says, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father that's in heaven." Hopefully, by the way in which you act. The way in which you make decisions. They're going to see that something's there. (...) If you have a religious view, it's incumbent upon you and it's real to have that. The Bible talks about the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. There ought to be certain things that are clearly observable by your actions."

The two silliest defensive responses from before he fessed up:

"It is refreshing that Mark Sanford is secure enough in himself and the people of South Carolina that he does not view himself as an indispensable man." (Erick Erickson)

And:

"Are [Cassie] and I married to the only real men left in the entire freakin' country? Do we only want Momma's boys or Daddy's girls in the White House from here on out? Teddy Roosevelt is doing backflips in his grave right now: apparently no one is allowed to go on a writing retreat, take a road trip, or hike, hunt, or fish if they have any political ambitions at all. Unbelievable." (Little Miss Attila)

Mark Sanford: secure enough in himself to to leave his state without a governor, his wife without a husband, and his sons without a father; enough of a real man to willfully torpedo his closest relationships. Family values in action.

Hilzoy 1:54 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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I honestly don't get the admiration. The guy was caught, his wife had kicked him out two weeks prior, the reporter met him at the airport, what the hell other option did he have? Dissappear again. I mean its not like he got caught because of an anonymous call to the paper or because he was caught on a wire tap. This asshole took a trip out of the country for almost a week that included Father's day weekend and declined to contact those same boys of his that he was apologizing to today. And thats all besides the dick he is on a regular basis when it comes to running the state of South Carolina.

He should be thrown under the bus and have it back up over him several times. I really don't get the notion from some on our side that just because he got up and shed a few tears that we should pity him. Remember he is one of those who doesn't believe in empathy, and in his case neither do I!!!

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla on June 25, 2009 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Why the admiration? He was going to be exposed tomorrow with the publication of the emails between him and his mistress. The press conference was a simple, straightforward exercise in damage control. Since when does following Public Relations best practices deserve admiration?

Posted by: blah on June 25, 2009 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

arent 'our values' (I hate that term) really based on what we DO ? /s

Posted by: aliasalias on June 25, 2009 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

As an Illinoisan, it's certainly refreshing for me to see a disgraced governor who is caught red-handed own up to his shit. In this game, Sanford gets points for not being a complete narcissistic psychopath.

Posted by: Disputo on June 25, 2009 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, after watching his pathetic and emotional presser today, I think the guy should be put on suicide watch. Just saying.

Posted by: William E. Elston on June 25, 2009 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy: secure enough in himself to to leave his state without a governor, his wife without a husband, and his sons without a father; enough of a real man to willfully torpedo his closest relationships. Family values in action.

Hilzoy, I am not sure if you are mocking the judgemental narrow-mindedness of the family values crowd or espousing it yourself.

Posted by: inkadu on June 25, 2009 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

sgwhiteinfla:

Like Nixon looks pretty good in comparison to G' Dubya, Sanford looks good in comparison (so far) to a lot of other scandals. From Steve a few years ago (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0607.benen.html):

McCain was still married and living with his wife in 1979 while, according to The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, "aggressively courting a 25-year-old woman who was as beautiful as she was rich." McCain divorced his wife, who had raised their three children while he was imprisoned in Vietnam, then launched his political career with his new wife's family money. In 2000, McCain managed to deflect media questioning about his first marriage with a deft admission of responsibility for its failure. It's possible that the age of the offense and McCain's charmed relationship with the press will pull him through again, but Giuliani and Gingrich may face a more difficult challenge. Both conducted well-documented affairs in the last decade--while still in public office.

Giuliani informed his second wife, Donna Hanover, of his intention to seek a separation in a 2000 press conference. The announcement was precipitated by a tabloid frenzy after Giuliani marched with his then-mistress, Judith Nathan, in New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, an acknowledgement of infidelity so audacious that Daily News columnist Jim Dwyer compared it with "groping in the window at Macy's." In the acrid divorce proceedings that followed, Hanover accused Giuliani of serial adultery, alleging that Nathan was just the latest in a string of mistresses, following an affair the mayor had had with his former communications director.

But the most notorious of them all is undoubtedly Gingrich, who ran for Congress in 1978 on the slogan, "Let Our Family Represent Your Family." (He was reportedly cheating on his first wife at the time). In 1995, an alleged mistress from that period, Anne Manning, told Vanity Fair's Gail Sheehy: "We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'" Gingrich obtained his first divorce in 1981, after forcing his wife, who had helped put him through graduate school, to haggle over the terms while in the hospital, as she recovered from uterine cancer surgery. In 1999, he was disgraced again, having been caught in an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide while spearheading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

And that doesn't even begin to talk about New York City picking up the tab for Giuliani's affair...

Yep. Maybe the way this guy faces the music isn't particularly special, but at least his affair isn't as pathological.

"isn't as pathological" is like a badge of honor.

Posted by: inkadu on June 25, 2009 at 3:30 AM | PERMALINK

That Erick Erickson thing is super-embarrassing. Which means it's awesome.

RedState blows.

Posted by: ethan salto on June 25, 2009 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

What's interesting to me in a purely abstract, intellectual sense is how far Sanford went in search of passion.

An adoring wife, four beautiful children, a challenging, well-paying & high profile job with national attention -- Sanford was willing to risk all this for whatever it was he felt he lacked.

Human emotions are amazing. Irrational, but amazing.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 25, 2009 at 4:18 AM | PERMALINK

This has to be excruciating for them. I hope they don't have the kinds of horrible classmates who might make the next weeks and months a misery.

IIRC the 4 boys are homeschooled.

[No snarky comments about home education, please. Lots of libs homeschool, too.]

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on June 25, 2009 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm just too old fashioned, but I don't give a shit about this guy's personal life, not one little bit, so could we move on to something important ?

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 4:54 AM | PERMALINK

As soon as he resigns, we can all forget about Sanford and move on to more important matters. If he needs to be impeached, this would become one of those more important matters.

Posted by: anonymous on June 25, 2009 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Family values in action

REPUBLICAN family values in action.

Posted by: pleuge on June 25, 2009 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, inkadu, for the reminder of the past foibles of that trio of Holier Than Thou Republicans.

Isn't it interesting that The Newt is all over the landscape, bloviating as only a politician can? I really think he sees himself as a contender in 2012.

Because he KNOWS the mainstream media will never ask the uncomfortable questions. . .

Posted by: DAY on June 25, 2009 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK


after listening to republicans react to sanford...

here's the GOP bottom line..

if you admit to adultery...

that makes you a man...

riiiiight....

Posted by: mr. irony on June 25, 2009 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

Yes ... emails. Newspaper. Reporters. Why were these email sat upon for over six months? SIX MONTHS! These weren't NEWS six months ago? I don't give this newspaper many props for hiding the news...

Posted by: Renman on June 25, 2009 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder who leaked the emails?

'Cmon, it's not that tough to figure out who...

Posted by: NSA/DOJ on June 25, 2009 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

His flack(s) should have resigned.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 25, 2009 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

A typical rich boy's ploy, fly a few thousand miles to get laid. Hopefully the citizens of South Carolina are not footing the tab.

Posted by: Ted76 on June 25, 2009 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

"It is refreshing.....he does not view himself as an indispensable man." (Erick Erickson)

"Do we only want Momma's boys or Daddy's girls in the White House from here on out?..... Unbelievable." (Little Miss Attila)

I admittedly don't spend much time tramping around winger blogs, but if this is the general state of them, the GOP is in far worse shape than I thought.

Posted by: oh my on June 25, 2009 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

Hopefully the citizens of South Carolina are not footing the tab.

There's a reason they call it stimulus money.

Posted by: Danp on June 25, 2009 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

This is unbelievable. The first two articles in your blog are about some fool's sex life. No wonder the biggest story of the Clinton entire presidency was his sexual escapades. Why don't you folks grow up ?

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Like some of the posters above, I don't find this "confession" admirable, and here's my reason: he confesses his sin, but he still delights in it--he was probably still doin' his Argentina babe 48 hours ago--and he wants us to feel sorry for his moral predicament besides: 'I cried for 5 days', he moans at his news conference He cried because he remains torn between his wife and his mistress. What adolescent, self-centered blabbering this is.

Posted by: sjw on June 25, 2009 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

You have all heard this before, no doubt. If the man didn't use government funds to support his philandering, then the only response of the public should be a response to his hypocrisy--a moral flaw, but not illegal, by any stretch of the imagination. The way to deal with his sexual conduct is to put this in the pot, so to speak, if the man runs for election again, and consider how important this conduct should be in deciding on a representative in government.

It was silly to try to hound Clinton out of office. Vitters is a slightly different case--hiring prostitutes is a crime. The same with the New York governor. But the issues of relationships and sex are getting ridiculously out of control in this 24/7 age of TV journalism. The peoples' interests in policy seems always to take a back seat to the bedroom antics of the pols.

Posted by: candideinnc on June 25, 2009 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

This is unbelievable. The first two articles in your blog are about some fool's sex life. No wonder the biggest story of the Clinton entire presidency was his sexual escapades. Why don't you folks grow up ?
Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009

I'd be happy to "grow up" as soon as the bullshit hypocrisy stops, and Newt, McCain, Vitter, Craig, Ensign etc. etc. shut the fuck up and disappear.

Posted by: about time on June 25, 2009 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

The really good part of that Erickson post is his update:

The left is linking to this post to laugh at it. What they are missing is that most of us tend to give people the benefit of the doubt — even people like John Edwards.

Yeah - all those crazy, baseless wingnut attacks on Obama, Sotomayor, etc. were giving them "the benefit of the doubt."

What a pathetic bozo.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on June 25, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

What's to admire? He lied his ASS off, got busted, and then admitted it because he had no choice. Is that really taking responsibility?

He was right pitiful looking yesterday, like a whipped dog. But every time I start to feel sorry for him, I remember how hard he's worked to undercut public education in this state. And all that Bible-quoting just makes me want to puke.

Posted by: kc on June 25, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

I would say that waiting for them to disappear is tantamount to not growing up.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

As many here have noted, the weird religious context a lot of righties act through, means someone can almost get away with anything. They just confess and say they're sorry, won't do it again etc. and they are "clean" in analogy to having your sins washed away etc. Newt is indulging this Catholic style. I believe for the most in ultimate forgiveness and reform over permanent estrangement, but this riff has become a racket.

Posted by: N e i l B on June 25, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who has done more yardwork than he ever expected or wanted, let me tell you that digging is just about the best stress-reducing exercise I've ever tried. The only thing that even comes close was chopping wood. Nobody thought it was strange when Ronald Reagan chopped wood. So the digging hole stuff doesn't strike me as being strange at all.

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree on June 25, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, rbe1, three posts demanding that we ignore the second Republican presidential hopeful who couldn't stop making public pronouncements against other people's affairs and then got caught with his own pants down in the last week. It apparently is very important to you that we not talk about this.

Posted by: Maria on June 25, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

People in affairs often make stupid mistakes simply because they no longer want to keep up the charade. (I wouldn't know anything about this of course because I have very strong family values. LOL!)

I also think he was drunk as a coot yesterday. It's long ride from Buenos Aires...

Posted by: MissMudd on June 25, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who has done more yardwork than he ever expected or wanted, let me tell you that digging is just about the best stress-reducing exercise I've ever tried.

Okay, but you were probably digging with a spade. The guv was digging with an excavator, and featuring prominently in his description of the euphoric aspects of the moment were the sound of country music on the radio and the hum of air conditioning in the cab. More prominently, in fact, than his description of anything in the natural world.

Thus do Republicans view communing with nature.

Posted by: shortstop on June 25, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

re: "Wow, rbe1, three posts demanding ..." blah blah blah
I would reply by asking how what we're all sharing about this facinating subject is going to change anything ?
Why don't we all spend a few weeks discussing what a close call it was that we didn't nominate John Edwards before we all found about his love life ? Or why don't we all speculate about the possible love-lives of all the potential contenders for national public office ? Now that would be really stimulating and useful, don't you think ?

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

"It's a long ride from Buenos Aires"

Ah, the days of Braniff.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 25, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy, I am not sure if you are mocking the judgemental narrow-mindedness of the family values crowd or espousing it yourself.
Posted by: inkadu

Inkadu, I'm not sure what your point is. (And I am suspicious of people who are contradictorily judgmental against the judgmental - you can't have it both ways.) You offer that no one has any responsibilities at all? No values at all, rather than, just a more modern and inclusive idea of what "values" should be?

And this idea that affairs are just one's "private behavior" and only hypocrisy about it matters - like taking drugs, maybe - is bullshit. An affair is a form of trespass or battery against another person you have an emotional or even a contractual relationship with. It's a crime against trust and a form of violation of contract (if implicit.) Sure it's up to the offended person to decide whether to "mind", but so are stealing and battery is (you decide if you're offended care that someone took your shoes or spanked you, etc.) Feminists note, that women usually get the short end of these indulgences.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on June 25, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

re: "And this idea that affairs are just one's "private behavior" ...
It's only bullshit in a world where you've already assumed that the private actions of a public official affect his/her public performance. I would say, based on experience with the european political model, your assumptions of relevance are questionable. Further, equating the morality of private sexual behavior to drug use is ludicrous. Finally, your definition of an affair automatically translates into the correctness of your point of view, but after all, it's still only your point of view.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

I would say, based on experience with the european political model

LOL. If you're familiar with the "European political model," you're also aware that it is only American Republican politicians who make a career of publicly lambasting others for their sex lives and lack of "family values"...until they get caught.

Neil B is pretty much alone here in his view that private sexual behavior absent contradictory legislative action/public statements is our business. And you keep willfully neglecting that point, pretending that an elected official who makes grandstand calls for other politicians' resignations over affairs is exactly the same as a politician who minds his own business about other people's sex lives.

It's about the hypocrisy, stupid.

Posted by: Maria on June 25, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for thinking of the kids. Fortunately, they are probably not in school late in June, so mean classmates won't be a concern until August or September.

Posted by: Algernon on June 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Gov. Sanford talked about God's law with respect to consequences for what he had done. Well, if he were a strict adherent to God's law, he should be executed for adultery. Let's see him put his money where his mouth is.

Posted by: Steve on June 25, 2009 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

How about Glenn Beck's take on the whole deal. He attributed the media attention to Sanford's disappearance as just another example of the liberal media trying to discredit a conservative politician just because he is a conservative. It'll be interesting to see if Glenn revisits the issue.

Posted by: sceptic on June 25, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

This pathetic loser was considered by the GOP establishment to be a viable candidate for President of the United States. The fact that he's apparently an irresponsible and erratic looneytoon should certainly be of interest to us all.

For heaven's sake, the man couldn't even conduct an adulterous affair competently. They do this sort of thing better in France.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on June 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

My definition of an affair is not some peculiar archaic or moralistic view, but a "modern" view of real or implicit contract breach and personal injury. Note that issues of consideration for partners and families is a totally different logical and social point than what those partners and families can consist of. And like I said, it's up to the injured party to decide if they are offended or it's actionable - not me *or you.*

As for whether it affects the politician's performance, I'd say that dishonesty and lack of consideration in one sphere is a sign of fundamental character flaw that could work into something else. And I don't give a damn what Europeans think. We can learn a lot from them but they aren't the arbiters of wisdom.

Re Edwards, rbe1 further up: No, we needn't spend two weeks "discussing what a close call it was that we didn't nominate John Edwards before we all found about his love life". But it's damn good we did find out first, otherwise it would have been ruinous having him as nominee. He was irresponsible and didn't care about his wife, kids, or the voters who otherwise admired him. That isn't presidential material. It all works together.

As for hypocrisy, of course it's bad - that doesn't rule out other things worth complaining about.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on June 25, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

re: "It's about the hypocrisy, stupid"
I'll ignore the insult and reply that hypocracy has been around for quite a while, and repeat my question in a slightly different way: how is preaching to the choir in this and similarly-oriented blogs going to change anything ? I think most liberal-progressive people would not have voted for this poor clown whether they knew about his sexual habits or not. Obviously any fool can see the hypocracy, or do you think you've just discovered it ? And I would be careful in attributing it only to republicans.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

It is quite noteworthy that like McCain, he also joined the multi-millionaires' club by marrying up and catapulted his political career in the process. That's a lesson we all should learn. Why look for handouts from the government when you have your wife's hand to take care of your needs?

Posted by: gregor on June 25, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Furthermore - what if a politician was a burglar, but "that didn't affect his or her performance" - would that be OK with you guys? Why not? How about, dog fighting? Or, drug use? (About the comparison of adultery to drug use, I was lampooning other people's indulgence in the "privacy" meme, not saying myself they are the same. They're not - drug use is a personal indulgence unless there are consequences, whereas an affair is an offense against another person.)

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on June 25, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

re: "I'd say that dishonesty and lack of consideration in one sphere is a sign of fundamental character flaw "
I'd be personally very interested in what would have happened if when Clinton was asked by the judge to speak about Paula Jones, he had said "my private life is none of your fucking business" ? I'd be willing to bet his popularity would have gone up. Putting it a little differently, I would venture that a lot of the lying and hypocracy comes directly from the fact that we're a nation of prudes who insist on making everything in politicians' personal lives our business, or to put it another way, maybe we'd be better off with don't ask, don't tell, when it comes to sex. An awful lot of politicians' private lives is outed precisely because of our skewed point of view about sexual morality. I could elaborate, but maybe, just possibly, you can see where I'm going with this.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

OK, people have affairs, it happens. Should he resign or be impeached because of the affair? No.

However, leaving the state without a governor for 5-7 days, leaving without turning over power to LT. Governor, and if any state funds were used...then that alone should be reason for him to resign, or for him to be impeached.

As for the affair, the worse part to me is that he chose to be with his mistress rather then his sons on Father's Day. What does that really say how this "family value", "Christian" man?

Posted by: Joe D on June 25, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

"I wonder who leaked the emails?"

'Cmon, it's not that tough to figure out who...

Phil Bronstein over at the SF Chronicle has a column up today blaming the Obama administration.

Posted by: Kreniighk on June 25, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

If the man didn't use government funds to support his philandering, then the only response of the public should be a response to his hypocrisy... -candideinnc

Bull. Shit. Stop making excuses. He abandoned his job for a week without transferring power; he realistically left South Carolina in a potentially dangerous position; he exposed himself to great danger by not following the proper procedure for travel by checking in at the US Embassy.

He is privy to certain information that would be valuable to unsavory types and he left himself open to kidnapping. All of this from a member of the supposed national security party.

Vitters is a slightly different case--hiring prostitutes is a crime. -candideinnc

In South Carolina, adultery is a crime.

Perhaps you aren't as well informed about this as you think you are?

Why don't we all spend a few weeks discussing what a close call it was that we didn't nominate John Edwards before we all found about his love life ? Or why don't we all speculate about the possible love-lives of all the potential contenders for national public office ? -rbe1

To begin with, we haven't talked about Sanford's affair for three weeks. It's barely been two, one of which doesn't really count as discussion of his transgressions since he was actually missing, which is kind of a big deal, don't you think?

Secondly, we did discuss how fortunate we were to avoid nominating Edwards, but there is a big difference between a third place, long-shot Presidential candidate and a sitting Governor, don't you think?

Lastly, who is speculating about anyone's love life? We're discussing what Sanford himself admitted into the public record concerning his ill executed tryst which will likely lead the his resignation or impeachment, which is important, don't you think?

Ah, I believe I have stumbled onto the problem. You don't think.

Now, stop making excuses for a sitting Governor who is guilty of dereliction of duty and rank hypocrisy. If you don't want to discuss it, move on.

Fucking backseat bloggers.

Posted by: doubtful on June 25, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Good chance that someone in the democratic party hierarchy leaked the info and got this going, but once again, so what ? If the people of the state find this whole thing sufficiently unacceptable, they can impeach him or get rid of him in the next appropriate election cycle. Either way, there are built-in mechanisms for dealing with this in place already. So my point remains, what additional good are we accomplishing here ?
How about the story I read recently that Mousavi may have had a connection to the bombing of the US marine barracks in the early 80's ? Anyone here have something to shed on this ?

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Ah, I believe I have stumbled onto the problem. You don't think."
Ah, yes, how clever you are, but all you've got is the fact that I don't see it the way you do. The difference is that I'm not trying to twist what you wrote to make my point. Don't you think ?

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

how is preaching to the choir in this and similarly-oriented blogs going to change anything ?

That argument holds equally true for most anything we discuss here. Hey, as liberals, we all agree that universal health care, for example, is a good thing and illegal wars of aggression, for instance, are bad things. Why even bother to waste our breath on any of it?

Yeah, I know what you're going to say. But it's not always about direct policy discussions, in case you're new to the realm of politics and how it's played. The political emasculation (couldn't resist) of national Republican leaders (two this week) does, in the long and sometimes even in the short term, have an effect on the Democratic ability to move legislation and accomplish our goals, whether you like it or not.

(And that's not even counting Sanford's complete abandonment of the basic prerequisites of his job over the past few days, which is what's likely to inspire even the Republican legislators of his state to want to toss him.)

Obviously any fool can see the hypocracy [sic], or do you think you've just discovered it ?

I can't tell if you're disingenuous or just remarkably dense. The point of explaining the hypocrisy, of course, is to explain to you why your slipshod pronouncements about all sexual activity being equally irrelevant don't hold up to scrutiny. No one else except Neil seems to have a problem understanding this.

And I would be careful in attributing it only to republicans.

Good thing I didn't, then. I did attribute sexual hypocrisy almost exclusively to American Republicans, and that isn't a hard point to defend. With very rare exceptions along the lines of Joe Lieberman, self-righteous public statements about private sexual behavior come from politicians on the right. Yeah, it really is that simple.

Posted by: Maria on June 25, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

How about the story I read recently that Mousavi may have had a connection to the bombing of the US marine barracks in the early 80's ? Anyone here have something to shed on this ?

I heard grinning cat is all over that on his blog. You should check that out.

Posted by: Maria on June 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

re:"The political emasculation (couldn't resist) of national Republican leaders (two this week) does, in the long and sometimes even in the short term, have an effect on the Democratic ability to move legislation and accomplish our goals, whether you like it or not"
Well, at least here's a change of emphasis. However, there really isn't a problem vis a vis the republicans, at least as far as health care is concerned, because the vote can be taken by simple majority using existing legislative procedures in the senate. I would venture that the real problem is the democrats, who clearly have enough votes to do whatever they want, but who lack the political courage to expend political capital.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes, how clever you are, but all you've got is the fact that I don't see it the way you do. -rbe1

It's not an issue to which there are two side. A sitting Governor abandoned his post. Period. That is an indisputable fact, and one which is at the heart of the matter, and one for which he will ultimately be impeached should he not resign first.

You're complaining and whining and being a general nuisance concerning the motivations behind his dereliction, but, beyond simply being amusing, his affair is beside the point.

The difference is that I'm not trying to twist what you wrote to make my point. -rbe1

I didn't twist any of the pedantic whining you committed all over the comments section. That statement is laughable. I cited exactly what you said and rebutted point by point. You basically responded with a glorified 'Nuh-uh.'

You're trying, in vain, to make the point that his personal life is none of our business and we shouldn't be talking about it, but when said personal life leads to abandonment of his duties, it most certainly is.

The hypocrisy of it all is just icing on the cake.

There is a difference between not seeing eye to eye about something and complaining about the topics that Steve and Hilzoy write about, which is how you entered this thread.

If you don't like it, don't read it. Scroll past, surf away, avert your eyes, I don't fucking care. I don't want to read about how your tired of discussing this issue or how it's not an appropriate issue to discuss when several people are in the middle of an adequate discussion about it. If you really didn't want to talk about it, you wouldn't shit on the thread in an effort to hijack it and make it all about your holier-than-thou pedantry.

How about the story I read recently... -rbe1

Go start your own blog if you feel strongly about someone writing about that. Or perhaps suggest it as a topic to Steve or Hilzoy in an email. There is a proper way to do things and a way that makes you a troll. You have obviously chosen option B.

Posted by: doubtful on June 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think that it's innappropriate to criticize what Hilzoy and Benen write about. But perhaps this is against your rules. I also don't think that you are the sole arbiters of what is or is not proper expression in a blog. But I can certainly agree that if your concept of disagreement or of defending a point of view when attacked is to shut up, then certainly your view should prevail and I shall shut up. Remember though, to look back through this exchange and see where the personal insults have come from, as this also says a lot about how you wish to conduct youselves.
1. I can't tell if you're disingenuous or just remarkably dense
2. Ah, I believe I have stumbled onto the problem. You don't think
3. Fucking backseat bloggers.
4. If you really didn't want to talk about it, you wouldn't shit on the thread in an effort to hijack it and make it all about your holier-than-thou pedantry.
5. There is a proper way to do things and a way that makes you a troll. You have obviously chosen option B
I respectfully disagree with these characterizations, but I'm obviously in the minority on this.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

An apology shouldn't be enough to keep him as governor.

Just as most citizens with a job, calling in sick to go to the doctor, on maternity leave...will not save your job with or without an apology.

This guy was AWOL.

Any military personnel will face military court.
Any law-enforcement office will be suspended without pay-pending investigation, or terminated.

It's time the people hold these high-ranking officials feet to the fire. These are the same guys that set the employment laws for you.

If not, then all I can say is, you guys are setting yourselves up for modern day slavery.

It is the people who let these law makers get away with the things they do at your expense (as a taxpayer).

One thing the GOP has right, they know they can do whatever they want to people and get away with it. All they have to do is put on a show of tears and remorse and they know people will forgive them.

This is sad, because, we saw how the GOP feel about the little guys the past eight years. They were on track to take away every so-called right the people had.

Is this the New America?

Posted by: annjell on June 25, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I think about his sons. The youngest is ten. This has to be excruciating for them. I hope they don't have the kinds of horrible classmates who might make the next weeks and months a misery.

Oh, I'm sure not. After all, children can be so kind, especially when they sense weakness. They're like Republicans that way.

Posted by: Stefan on June 25, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

You have all heard this before, no doubt. If the man didn't use government funds to support his philandering, then the only response of the public should be a response to his hypocrisy--a moral flaw, but not illegal, by any stretch of the imagination. The way to deal with his sexual conduct is to put this in the pot, so to speak, if the man runs for election again, and consider how important this conduct should be in deciding on a representative in government.

Look, this isn't just a sex scandal -- it's a derelection of duty scandal. The man just walked off the job the voters of South Carolina elected him to do, just up and disappeared for five days with no word to anyone. That's the conduct the voters should consider.

Posted by: Stefan on June 25, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Luther, your point is only valid if such behavior is mutually consensual (and if no entanglements like kids are involved.) If people are married or committed relationship, then one secretly cheating on the other is an assault on the trust.

Also, it's funny how the GOP loves "forgiveness" about their leaders, but has no sympathy for say an employee of a private company that went missing for days without calling in to the employer. They'd be quite supportive of that employer firing the person forthwith.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on June 25, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

rbe1,

To begin with, I never have nor will claim to not be insulting to trolls; I stand by my assertion that you're not thinking and that you're trolling via backseat blogging. If you're taking offense to these mild-as-Palmolive 'insults,' then by all means, we'll reserve a spot on the fainting couch for you.

I don't think that it's innappropriate to criticize what Hilzoy and Benen write about. -rbe1

I didn't say that. I said that an email is the proper way to discuss with the bloggers their topic choice or suggest a topic. It is expressly off-topic to question the topic choices in the comment threads. As you can see, and certainly, by responding to you, I harbor some guilt, we're now engaged in a discussion about the relevancy of your bitching and how mean I've been to poor widdle you instead of the topic at hand.

But I can certainly agree that if your concept of disagreement or of defending a point of view when attacked is to shut up, then certainly your view should prevail and I shall shut up. -rbe1

No one asked you to 'shut up' if you disagree. In fact, I pointed out that there is a vast difference between disagreeing and telling the resident bloggers to "move on to something important," as you did. That's not disagreeing, that's complaining, whining, or bitching, take your pick. Please, enlighten me, how is your call that Hilzoy write about something you deem more important in any way less offensive than me and others telling you to move on if you don't care about the topic at hand? The Washington Monthly has editors; rbe1 is not one of them.

One of the other prominent blogs I read has a standing policy that to question the topic choice or claim that something is 'not news,' results in an instant ban. It's days like today I wish that policy was universally employed to save us all from the incessant whining.

It's pathetic that you don't realize how obnoxious it is to constantly read in every comment thread how someone thinks that particular topic is irrelevant and how we should be talking and writing about this, that, or the other.

Posted by: doubtful on June 25, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Teddy Roosevelt is doing backflips in his grave right now: apparently no one is allowed to go on a writing retreat, take a road trip, or hike, hunt, or fish if they have any political ambitions at all. Unbelievable."

Uh... Aside from the fact that Sanford's staff and family LIED about where he was, ergo NOT communing with Nature and Nature's God, TR lived in the 19th century and early 20th when communcations did not exist. Being the media hog he was, I am certain if he could have had live TV on his hunts and explorations he would have.

Posted by: Kurt on June 25, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

re: "It's pathetic that you don't realize how obnoxious it is to constantly read in every comment thread how someone thinks that particular topic is irrelevant and how we should be talking and writing about this, that, or the other"

Point taken. I shall hereafter consider myself to have been properly chastised for improper and obnoxious conduct on your blog. I shouldn't have complained about the content. However, not all of the points I raised were irrelevant. I have been watching this blog's content list ever since this mini-scandal surfaced, and I was expecting something more than this level of saturation on Steve's and Hilzoy's particular blog, so sorry about that. If there really is so much to say about an age-old human problem, then by all means carry on and enjoy yourselves !

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't that important, but it also irked me that he apologized to "people of faith" everywhere, the assumption being that those who are agnostics or atheists can't possibly be offended.

At first I almost gave him credit for standing there and taking his lumps, then found out he probably did it because the paper had his e-mails. It may be the ultimate in cynicism, but by now one should know better than to give any politician on either side the benefit of the doubt. Their first instinct is always to cover their butt (not all that different from the rest of us, but developed to a much higher degree). I suspect he's still lying about aspects of this. It seems unlikely that he flew down there just to end it--that'd be handled much easier in other ways. He might have spent six days crying if she told him she was ending it.

Most of us wouldn't give two flips about his private life if he hadn't made such a big deal about it during the Clinton impeachment. People screw around all the time, the statistics show us that. It's the sanctimonious crap that gets under the skin. Therefore, I don't think a little schadenfreude is out of order at all. Maybe we can put all this "party of values" shit to rest at last, and THEN we can talk about more substantive issues.

Posted by: dogofthesouth on June 25, 2009 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

One thing which seems odd from a purely psychological perspective: the seemingly strong correlation between individuals who are very very public about their religion - especially as regards personal morality, yet whose private behavior is its antithesis. Is this self-cancelling dichotomy stronger among the subset of the political class with a lust for power, or is it just more visible ? Could it be that their lascivious behavior has to be balanced in direct proportion with their public proclamations of moral chastity ? Should we be wary of every politician who proclaims a very strong and pure moral stature ? I ask this because in europe, the body politic seems far more adverse to voting for the self-proclaimed morally pure.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK
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