Mark Sanford. You might remember the ex-Governor of South Carolina hiking the Appalachian trail. A term now synonymous with both dereliction of duty and cheating on your wife with an Argentinian mistress. Now normally I don’t care about a politician’s extracurricular activities, but Mr. Sanford is a special case. He was one of the “family values” Republicans that gave interview after interview talking about how President Clinton’s infidelity made him unfit for office. Here’s then Congressman Sanford decrying the deceit of President Clinton.
The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust,” he told CNN. “And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.”
Now I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that when it came to Sanford’s infidelity, honorable as he is, choose to step down from the Governor’s office. Of course not. This is Mark Sanford we’re talking about. Stepping down from office is only something to be contemplated if you do something wrong and are a Democrat. In any case, not content to fade into obscurity, Sanford is back and running for Congress again. He also had a special offer for his now ex-wife, Jenny Sanford.
As reported in New York Magazine, he asked Jenny Sanford to be his campaign manager again. Just in time for Women’s history month! Let’s recap: he approached his ex-wife, the woman he was cheating on and lying to for years, to see if she would run his campaign. That would be the woman who is barely speaking terms with him at present. Also did I mention he’s now engaged to the woman with whom he was having an affair? Now that sounds like a comfortable situation for all involved. Especially considering that the wife would probably be setting up photo-ops for him and what used to be his mistress. I’m not saying it’s Mr. Sanford’s worst idea ever but it’s definitely in the top three. Luckily, Jenny Sanford is smart woman.
According to Jenny, she had already told Mark she would be taking a pass on the race the day before, at the funeral of a mutual friend. So when Mark came to visit her, he arrived with a proposal. “Since you’re not running, I want to know if you’ll run my campaign,” he said. “We could put the team back together.”
Jenny told him, in so many words, that wasn’t going to happen. Mark made one last appeal.
“I could pay you this time,” he said.
I have to hand it to Mr. Sanford. Even for a politician, this is a startling level of tone-deafness if not outright insanity. He makes it sound like they were a great rock band of the ages. Dude, you weren’t the Beatles. Then when that ploy failed, he tries to sway her with money. There are two really interesting parts of this exchange. The first is he’s apparently totally unaware that she has any problems with him at all. The second is that even assuming there was a problem, he could fix it with cash. This requires him to not only be fairly emotionally stupid but also forget that his wife is an heiress. Additionally, he hired Jenny when he first was in Congress, but it wasn’t because of her political acumen nor her deep understanding of the issues of the day. I’ll let Mr. Sanford explain.
When he first ran for Congress in 1994, he installed Jenny as his campaign manager. He did this for reasons of economy—“You’re free,” he told her at the time—but she proved a natural at the job.
This should have set off warning alarms in her head. Let this be a lesson to you ladies, anyone who talks about you like that isn’t to be trusted. Hiring someone because you think they can do the job, wife or not, is one thing. “Congratulations, you’re the only one I know who’ll work for free” is quite another. Despite the fact that Mr. Sanford expressed exactly zero confidence in her doing the job originally, never paid her for the great job she did do, only put money on the table when she first turned him down, and the awkwardness of the entire situation, he thinks this is a grand idea. It must be so nice to live in this alternate reality he’s constructed where everything is just fine. The lack of respect he had and has for Jenny Sanford is quite amazing.
I’m so sorry that this guy will probably be back in office. Come on South Carolina. You can do so much better. It would be difficult to do worse. Then again, let’s not tempt the political Gods.
Categories: Politics Fix