Sanford’s folly

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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43 Responses

  1. EngineerScotty says:

    I thought the Malkin Award was mainly for “intemperate right-wing rhetoric”, directed leftward. (Likewise, were Michael Moore to publicly flame Dennis Kucinich, I wouldn’t expect him to win a Moore Award..)Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Maybe I’m just fat, bald, and ugly but I have never really had a crapload of trouble keeping it in my pants.

    Now, even assuming that I did have chicks throwing themselves on me every now and again, if I worked at a job where people regularly got denied promotions and/or got fired for not keeping it in their pants, I would think that I’d be able to say “I signed a contract with that chick that holds my head when I throw up and feeds my cats, besides, I really like my job” and still be able to keep it in my pants.

    What the hell is wrong with these people?Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

      Jaybird, dude, you are like a philosoher! Man, this is why I come here! I got tears in my eyes.Report

    • EngineerScotty in reply to Jaybird says:

      I suspect its the alpha male personality–a personality type common in highly social pursuits, such as politics.
      Some guys, it seems, are hardwired to spread their proverbial seed far and wide–and people in positions of power can generally find willing partners.
      I’m with you–happily monogamous, and a bit bewildered by the sheer number of times powerful politicians, from Bill Clinton on down, throw their careers away (or at least do them grave damage) for a little nookie.
      Chalk it up to human nature (and the variety thereof), I guess.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to EngineerScotty says:

        “Bewildered”. That’s a good word.

        I like my wife. She’s good to me. We have a relationship that could, probably, survive me straying once… but the reason we were able to forge that relationship is because I’m not inclined to stray and the very though strikes me as way, way, waaaaay more trouble than it’s worth.

        It took me a good long time to find one as good as my bride. I very much doubt that I’ll find one worth poking her in the eye for.Report

  3. E.D. Kain says:

    They’re bastards.Report

  4. Bob says:

    Monogamy is just a load of crap, mostly unnatural, but I guess if you make a promise to be faithful unto death you have screwed yourself and when you strays you earn the bastard epithet. I’m not going to call him that but you “without sin” have my blessing.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Bob says:

      Is this just one of those things where those of us without claws say that not scratching people is virtue while those of us who scratch people all the time explain that, hey, scratching people is something that people with claws just do, it’s the way of the world?Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh right, we’re not supposed to judge others because…. I get that. Throw the first stone and all that.

        Let’s see – first of all, when you’re a public official you’re sort of supposed to be judged. That’s kind of the point in a democracy where people vote and stuff. Second of all, “monogamy is crap” is a tired old line. It may be crap for you but that does not make it crap for everybody. In fact, quite a few people seem to do just fine with it.Report

  5. EngineerScotty says:

    Bob’s comments above–essentially “who cares?”–brings up a good question, that ought to be asked every time a pol gets caught with his pecker in the wrong place–is this really an issue of vital public importance? While I won’t agree with Bob’s apparent disdain for monogamy–that, to me, is a personal choice–should we care if politicians screw around? In many jurisdictions, the electorate doesn’t much care–French treat elected officials like celebrities in this regard, and almost expect it; New Yorkers didn’t seem to mind Rudy Guliani’s salacious love life. Nobody in the GOP much cared that John McCain dumped his first wife for a trophy heiress, and many Democrats still insist that Monica-gate was way overblown.
    Just where should we draw the line?Report

    • Bob in reply to EngineerScotty says:

      My disdain for monogamy stems from my view that it mostly unnatural. It’s a cultural conceit. I do not dispute ED’s point that it works for some, but that “some” seems vanishingly small – that guys is my opinion so don’t ask for stats, but I think I could find some.

      Your pointing to other cultures is correct. Sanford and all the other that have been brought low by their philandering have only their hypocrisy to thank.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to EngineerScotty says:

      As soon as government stops setting marriage policy based upon idealistic behavior, I’d be down with not giving a crap when Our Betters are caught in airport bathrooms.

      As it is, Our Betters are caught in airport bathrooms between sessions passing laws regarding marriage using Traditional Morality as justification for doing so.

      I see it as the equivalent of Obama appointees not paying taxes.

      I’m one of those crazy libertarian types who thinks that individuals shouldn’t be taxed so my irritation at such nominees isn’t based on “but they didn’t pay taxes!” as much as it is “quit telling me how to live using ideals that you do not live up to yourself as reason to force me to do so”.

      Depending on my BAC, I may add some phrases of the form “you such-and-suching so-and-so” to the end there.Report

      • EngineerScotty in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’m all for an expansion of marriage rights–and I’m all for exposure of hypocrites. (Interesting question–were it Barney Frank or some other openly gay member of Congress assuming a “wide stance” in an airport restroom, instead of a guy like Larry Craig who is married and publicly anti-gay, but long rumored to be a closet case–how would people’s reactions differ)?
        That said, not all politicians raked through the coals for their personal failings are the hypocritical sort who attempt to regulate the personal lives of others. And many things depend on context.

        Out here in Orygun, I have a front-row seat to the in-progress political demise of one Sam Adams, the openly-gay mayor of Portland, who had an affair with a teenager who may or may not have been of legal age. The AG of Oregon has declined to prosecute for a lack of evidence (the teen in this case insists that no sex occurred before his 18th birthday, though the AG considers him unreliable–and said mayor apparently slipped him a wad of cash sometime during the investigation). Nonetheless, many expect Adams to be recalled soon; not because he is gay or “cheated” on anybody (he was single at the time), but because his bald-faced lies in denial when rumors of the affair first surfaced. At any rate, the political theater out here is sad, but amusing…Report

  6. Michael Drew says:

    That sounded like a guy who is deeply in touch with himself. Fascinating quality of self-separation/examination there. Also deeply pathological with seeming little comprehension of the destruction he is wreaking around him — among those he loves most (supposedly), no less. That bit about the forgiveness process taking weeks, months, maybe even years — remarkable.

    On the sheer ambition of the pursuit of personal gratification and the public accounts of his whereabouts, however, the guy does have to get some serious boldness and originality points.Report

  7. Bob says:

    Sullivan on Sanford: “I have to say the karma in all this is pretty profound. The party that has gone on and on and on to prevent me getting married, and prevent my own marriage from being recognized by the federal government is the party of David Vitter, Mark Sanford, Rush Limbaugh and Larry Craig. It’s like taking lessons on sexual maturity from the Vatican. And, yes, Sanford was a dedicated opponent of gay couples being allowed to marry. He deserves forgiveness and compassion for his human failings; but he deserves censure for his public double standards. But here’s what you learn: those GOP stalwarts who survive these affairs never change their positions on marriage equality. They never learn or evolve.”

    Gosh, not a “bastard” in sight, just a “…he deserves censure for his public double standards.”Report

  8. A. Rich says:

    As a regular Sullivan reader, I suspect it was a typo (he’s made them before). I believe he meant to give Malkin the Yglesias Award, since she’s calling her own side to the carpet rather than using this as an excuse to liberal-bash…like she does with everything else.

    That’s my theory, anyway – if it’s not a typo, I think the frantic pace of Sully’s Iran blogging is knocking him off his game today.Report

  9. Katherine says:

    I’m actually feeling more sympathetic to him than I generally do to politicians in this sort of situation, because he seems genuinely sorry and cut up about it. And because he came clean about it before the media forced him to.

    I think he was in Argentina to 1.) break thing off and 2.) work up the courage to come clean about the whole thing publicly.Report

    • Bob in reply to Katherine says:

      Sanford may have 1. gone to Argentina to end the affair but 2. there seems a good argument to be made that press questions regarding his whereabouts brought about his press conference. Also, I bet Sanford knew The State had his emails. From what I read The State held those emails for weeks, months.Report

  10. Magic Dog says:

    is this really an issue of vital public importance? While I won’t agree with Bob’s apparent disdain for monogamy–that, to me, is a personal choice–should we care if politicians screw around?


    When you are a senior official in the party of family values and the sanctity of marriage, then your extramarital affairs, and the lying done to conceal them, are automatically news. The story is your Republican hypocrisyReport

  11. Jaybird says:

    Irritated aside:

    On a political level (and only political level), Sanford was a politician that I did *NOT* think should have been tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. There are precious few of those.

    He was fiscally conservative to the point of being ballsy (he turned down stimulus funds? Dang! As grandstanding, empty gestures go, that’s a doozy!) and, as such, struck me as a guy I wouldn’t be likely to complain about (for “as good as we could humanly expect” reasons) were he to get asked to run for President… and, being a guy who could carry the South and Mountain West, automatically had 90ish% of the electoral votes he needed to get there.

    And, as it turns out, he’s a guy who doesn’t keep his contracts (or, almost as bad, he’s a guy who has an “understanding” with his wife and isn’t discreet enough to not make his wife look stupid).Report

  12. Patrick Duffy says:

    Is this a matter of public concern? In policy terms, clearly no. However, it goes to character. Note that I’m not talking about morality, following the 10 Commandments, etc. But cheating on your wife is clearly a violation of your publicly made commitment to her. So how can you expect him to do anything that he says he’s going to do?
    I am, sometimes, torn between a candidate with whom I agree but who is a skank, and a candidate that will take public policy in a direction that I can’t support but who is person of good character. Their character doesn’t determine whether their policy direction is good for the country. It’s not unlike a sports hero who is a bad guy off the field. [You may insert your favorite example here.] Can he still play? Absolutely. Do you want to lock your doors when he comes through the neighborhood? Absolutely. And sometimes the guy you thought was a good guy turns out to be an ass and you feel like a fool for having put your faith in him.

    It will ever be thus.Report

  13. matoko_chan says:

    Poor Republicans.
    hehe, not relly