Posted by Brad @ 4:06 pm on June 24th 2009


I’ve been following with some amusement the whole “Where in the World is Mark Sanford?” saga, and as a person prone to disappearing along similar lines for what I presumed to be similar reasons (a desire to just escape for a bit), I could kind of respect it. But, it’s been funny to watch the saga unfold, as his staffers tripped over themselves trying to snow the press, his wife had no idea what was going on, and then a reporter bumped into him at the airport. Last word: he had been in Argentina.

The new word, with his press conference last hour, is less funny. Another extra-marital affair downs another rising star of the GOP, as Sanford admits that he was indeed on a secret tryst to meet a Argentinian lover, which some in the press had chuckled about the possibility of but I don’t think anybody actually believed.

Now, an affair is one thing. An affair, if you’re a Republican already very unpopular with your state’s GOP is another. And an affair where you literally disappear for days on end, with your staff and your wife not knowing where you are, and taking all executive authority with you (he reportedly hates his Lt. Gov. with a passion, and near as I can figure the feeling is mutual), is quite another. Ensign might be able to survive his affair. Sanford, given that there is a very real governance issue here as well, may well not.

Regardless, he’s pretty much out for 2012 and anytime after, which is too bad, as he had staked a pretty good niche in the fiscal conservatism / libertarianism side of the things and probably would have gotten a lot of support and, at the very least, would have given the party somewhere to go and gone a long way to firing up a genuine oppositional instinct to Obama and the Democratic dominance. And with Sanford gone, Ensign, Huntsman, Palin having more or less descended into pure tabloidism, Huckabee having gone all Ralph Reed, Jindal thoroughly unimpressing everybody, and McCain not doing himself any favors lately, the party looks more rudderless and hopeless than ever. I mean seriously, about the best the party can hope for anymore is having Romney in 2012 lose miserably but not look too bad doing it (and, as a sidebar, I don’t think a Republican primary voter could be blamed at this point for hoping to offer up Ron Paul instead. I mean at least then you have somewhere to go and some ground to blaze (cue Adam’s joke here)). Other than that…yeesh.


  1. And, on a personal note, you have to have some kind of self-destructive instinct to go about all this the way Sanford has. Apparently it was to “break it off”, but still. Talk about a cry for help.

    Comment by Brad — 6/24/2009 @ 4:09 pm

  2. This development actually crossed my mind when he went MIA, but then I thought, “Naw, can’t be.”

    Man, it’s getting so you can set your watch by this shit. I mean, WTF? You’d think the GOP is screwed enough as it is.

    Maybe we should start a pool and bet on who it will be next week.

    Comment by James — 6/24/2009 @ 4:33 pm

  3. It is becoming increasingly clear that traditional marriage is far more threatened by high political office than by teh gays.

    Comment by Jack — 6/24/2009 @ 5:14 pm

  4. Yeah. To be sure, as far as the partisan aspects of this goes, the Democrats got a pretty big one-two-(sort of three) suckerpunch with Spitzer, Blago, and Burris. But now the pendulum has swung the other way, and for whatever reason, I have a hunch that Blago and Spitzer weren’t stained to their party in the same way Ensign and especially Sanford will be. Fair or no (and probably no), I think Spitzer and Blago were seen mostly as lone doofuses. Ensign and Sanford will be taken as emblems of the party (not by all, but by enough to count).

    But, that’s nothing new. What is new, I think, is how rapidly the 2012-2016 field is being culled by this sort of shit. Ensign may have just turned out to be a Party Boss sort of figure, but Sanford had heavyweight primary contender written all over him. If you’re a Republican primary voter, the likely fields for 2012 and 2016 aren’t looking so hot (allowing also for the fact that Crist and Perry are in deep shit of the “bruising primary” variety, and to a lesser extent Pawlenty may soon start looking like shit when the Coleman-Franken thing shakes out any day now in the Minnesota Supreme Court).

    Somebody better hope that Eric Cantor isn’t found with a dead hooker in his trunk in October and Bobby Jindal doesn’t start a dog-fighting ring.

    Comment by Brad — 6/24/2009 @ 5:45 pm

  5. Jack 3> Indeed. The new rallying cry from the puritan Right should be Defend Traditional Fornication!

    Comment by James — 6/24/2009 @ 7:36 pm

  6. Somebody better hope that Eric Cantor isnít found with a dead hooker in his trunk in October and Bobby Jindal doesnít start a dog-fighting ring.

    Hey, the year is still young.

    Comment by James — 6/24/2009 @ 7:38 pm

  7. I’m starting to wonder if ANYONE in American politics is capable of monogamy. Seriously, what the hell? You can’t keep your dick in your pants long enough to pursue the most powerful office in the world?

    I was a fan of Sanford. Still am, in many ways, at a policy level. But he’s done now. Why do you say that Huntsman has descended to a tabloid level? I’ve heard nothing of that sort from him.

    Comment by Rojas — 6/24/2009 @ 7:41 pm

  8. As for Romney: yeah, he’s a mortal lock for the nomination at this point, and his prospects hinge entirely on Obama’s job performance.

    Comment by Rojas — 6/24/2009 @ 7:42 pm

  9. At this rate, Romney will be the next guy holding a press conference to mumble an apology to his wife about having a second one.

    Comment by James — 6/24/2009 @ 9:44 pm

  10. But wouldnt that be awesome?! The First AND Second Ladies.

    Comment by Jack — 6/24/2009 @ 9:53 pm

  11. Why do you say that Huntsman has descended to a tabloid level? Iíve heard nothing of that sort from him.

    Misread. I was listing Huntsman and Ensign as being gone along with Sanford (though Hunstman, obviously, for different reasons), and Palin as the one who is very much not gone, but pretty much on the level with John and Kate in the public mind. Not the best sentence structure, to be sure.

    Romney will be a very respectable candidate to put forward and have lose decisively. I can’t imagine any likely (keyword) scenario wherein Romney could actually win (that is not to say I can’t imagine any likely scenario wherein Obama loses, though on the order of maybe 10 scenarios out of 100, but that Romney is not going to ever be a giant-killer). You might as well nominate Orrin Hatch.

    Romney would be a great candidate for the GOP if it were 1988 and Bush I was not running. That is to say that if his party was viewed positively by the majority of the country, they liked their ideas and wanted, more or less, to continue with them, didn’t have any particular premium on boldness or vision, and he was viewed as as the stability candidate. There are perfect storms out there in which Obama could conceivably lose. But that sure ain’t one of them.

    Comment by Brad — 6/24/2009 @ 11:29 pm

  12. Maybe we should start a pool and bet on who it will be next week.

    It’s pretty easy to know who to put money on when you’ve got a guy named “John” “Boehner” in the mix.

    Comment by thimbles — 6/24/2009 @ 11:30 pm

  13. If it wasn’t pronounced “Bay-ner”, then maybe you would be right.

    Comment by James — 6/25/2009 @ 2:38 am

  14. If Mark Krikorian can intentionally mispronounce Sotomayor’s name in order to grind his political axe, then we should feel free to mispronounce Boehner’s name for the much more important issue of comedic effect.

    Comment by Jack — 6/25/2009 @ 8:35 am

  15. Various items.

    First: Sanford’s original plan was to disappear for ten days.

    On or around the day his wife asked him to move out, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford booked a ten-day trip to Buenos Aires, a person familiar with the governor’s travel plans told POLITICO.

    Sanford booked the trip on Delta Air Lines on June 10, using the company’s SkyMiles program, the source said. He bought a ticket for June 18, returning June 28.

    How Sanford got caught is an interesting little narrative.

    On a lighter note:

    Marriage is between a man and a woman and a woman in Argentina.

    Aides say that Sanford plans to dig in:

    Although some in South Carolina — and nationally — are calling for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign his office in the wake of his six-day hiatus from the state and his acknowledgment of an extramarital affair on Wednesday, a close adviser to the Republican governor told the Fix that Sanford is not considering such an option.

    “Mark is firmly focused on reconciling his marriage, and on fulfilling his duties to the people of South Carolina for the remaining eighteen months of his term,” said a senior adviser to Sanford who was granted anonymity to speak freely. “Jenny is a full partner in both of those desires.”

    I somehow doubt that last bit.

    And finally, a bit of gay marriage argument at, of all places, NRO.

    “As someone who favors gay marriage, I think this Sanford scandal underscores a central truth. The anti-gay-marriage forces are stuck making a slippery-slope argument when, in fact, weíre already at the bottom of the slippery slope. Hereís a guy, Sanford, who has not just not a moral and religious incentive to keep his marriage vows, but also a political-survival incentive. Yet the public sense of the sacredness of marriage has declined to the point that even he couldnít do it. How much more could this institution be eviscerated, by letting a tiny, tiny minority of same-sexers join it? (Gays are a small fraction of the population, and the percentage of them who want to get married is a small fraction of the small fraction. The issue is, as the lawyers say, de minimis.)”

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2009 @ 8:11 pm

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