Friday, June 26, 2009
I'm going to climb out on a creaking and structurally suspect limb and say I agree with Dorothy Rabinowitz:
We can now add the sad-eyed Gov. Mark Sanford, making his tearful public confessional, to the galaxy of similar fallen stars we have seen in this state before. The question no one has ever answered is how they all fell into the grip of the same delusion: namely, that the way to retrieving dignity is to go before the microphones to issue craven apologies to a list of purported victims.
Can these recitals, interrupted by barely suppressed sobs, acknowledgment of all the betrayed -- the family dog will be in there some day -- actually be what an adult male, whatever his status, imagines will do the trick? Perhaps someday one of these VIPs in trouble will figure out that on these occasions it's not such a great thing to go public looking like a pathetic dolt -- the kind of man who would induce instant headache and skin crawling in any woman imagining him as a lover.
Can we dream that some day a Mark Sanford -- or any other self-acknowledged miscreant -- will say what there is to say and refuse to slobber before the cameras?
Read her suggestion for an alternative, manned-up confession. I'd find it refreshing, too, but then I don't watch Oprah either.
A guy/gal capable of such a "manned-up" confession would never find themself in a position where such a confession was called for. Sanford's a cowardly, pathetic piece of %$#@ and one could carve a better man out of an overripe banana.
Or one could skip responsibility altogether and blame it on Obama as Rush "I was addicted to oxycontin because of John Kerry" Limbaugh did the other day:
"This is almost like, 'I don't give a damn, the country's going to Hell in a handbasket, I just want out of here,'" Limbaugh said. "[Sanford] had just tried to fight the stimulus money coming to South Carolina. He didn't want any part of it; he lost the battle. He said, 'What the hell. I mean, the federal government's taking over -- what the hell, I want to enjoy life.'"
You have to wonder what Sanford would do to get over North Korea.
"realize that a man who has no respect for his family will also have no respect for the people who elected him"
What does his family life have to do with his abilities as a governor? Would you rather have a governor who cheated on his wife but never took bribes, or one who was faithful to his wife and did take bribes? Which one has less respect for their constituents?
I'm always amazed by how quickly people jump onto the bandwagon to slit some sap's throat who does something they don't like. I haven't been paying attention to this sad little drama because I think it's absurd, but I have an anecdote I think is relevant.
I went to high school with a guy. Nice guy, very smart, with a powerful work ethic. Became a fireman/EMT and married his high school sweetheart. Worked overtime just about every week, then came home to work on the house that he bought as a fixer-upper. (and did a good job, I saw it) Spare moneys went to his wife for clothes, make-up, a kitten, a car, supporting a new baby that she wanted, and so forth. He was even a good dad.
The wife transformed over the years into a demanding, controlling bitch who took this guy's work and sacrifices for granted and demanded more. She used to berate him in public in front of friends and family just to show off her dominance of the partnership. This guy stuck it out for another year. She never let up.
So he went and found another woman. Over night, his wife turned into a pathetic, mewling victim who told everyone who would listen how terribly wronged she was and what an evil bastard this guy was. And the story stuck with just about everyone they know. Eventually they divorced with this guy's reputation in the community forever tarnished.
He devoted every waking hour to her happiness for years and was starved for affection and appreciation. She literally drove this guy away with her vicious behavior, but somehow she's the victim and deserved the house that he paid for and rebuilt.
The wife in question was my cousin, by the by, who I've known for literally my entire life.
Like I said, I'm not following this story and I have no intention of starting now. But not every adulterer is a Clinton or a Kennedy, simply out for thrills. We'll never know exactly what went on in these people's lives or what may have motivated this behavior. And honestly, it's none of our business.
How would any of you like to be fired from your job for having an extra-marital affair?
"Well what does that have to do with my abilities as a doctor/executive/lawyer?" (or whatever)
Well, obviously, if you have no respect for your family then you also have no respect for your patients/employees/clients. There's the door.
Very appealing in many ways. I'm afraid for Sanford, though, it doesn't quite work.
The "religious right" is all about insisting that there is a public dimension to private morality. Sanford did not only betray his wife...he betrayed his God and his the moral and societal values that he shares with many fellow human beings.
There are many private aspects to having an affair. But having an affair is NOT just a private act, just as marriage itself is not just a private act.
What the implications of that for the culture of apologies for public officials I don't know. Perhaps they shouldn't apologize but rather just quietly resign.
And of course, an official who doesn't believe that there is a public betrayal involved in this behavior might not feel that there is a public aspect to what comes afterward either.
From what I understand, the couple separated, with the wife refusing him to be able to see his kids.
This was before he went down Argentina Way. Apparently the split was not about the woman, but about the wife, an heiress, being tired of politics and wanting Sanford to quit.
Sanford had moved out of the family home and then took up an e-mail romance. The stuff was leaked by apparently the other guy the Argentinian woman was seeing, at the same time as Sanford. Pathetic, really.
Given that the two were separated, and the wife wanted divorce, it's hardly Clintonian cheating. If a bit tawdry, I'm more sympathetic to Sanford now.
Dawnfire, I dare say that nowadays the CEO of a public company would NOT be able to keep her job after lying to one's Board of Directors, ditching the state owned (and armed) SUV after shutting off the car's GPS, flying out of the country to meet with one's mistress and remaining unreachable--on purpose--for 6 days. Why in fact, Sanford even said as much on the record during Clinton's imbroglio which he defined as "reprehensible":
"I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). ... I come from the business side. ... If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he'd be gone."
Whiskey writes: Apparently the split was not about the woman, but about the wife, an heiress, being tired of politics and wanting Sanford to quit.
Sanford had moved out of the family home and then took up an e-mail romance. The stuff was leaked by apparently the other guy the Argentinian woman was seeing, at the same time as Sanford. Pathetic, really. Given that the two were separated, and the wife wanted divorce....
Oh, man, Whiskey. The only thing you got right was the fact he went to Argentina! Firstly, the heiress is a former investment banker who was the Governor's campaign manager in his bids for Congress, and co managed his 2006 run to be re-elected. Even if she had wanted out of politics, what does that have to do with him choosing to have an affair while he was married? Grounds? Really?
Secondly, Sanford sent the e-mails in July 2008 when he was living with his wife and being considered for VP slot! They were anonymously sent to the S Ca newspaper in December.
Thirdly, both Sanfords are on the record that Mrs. S found out about the affair in Jan. 09. They went to counseling, tried to make it work but when the Governor asked to see his mistress again, the First Lady asked for a separation, and Sanford decided to make good on that desire to see his mistress (again).
Lastly, you can bone up on the facts here unless, of course, they interfere with your version of the story.
Sorry Jeff, the "religious right" is not to be defined by the left.
I personally am very tired of the old "you are a Republican and you did something wrong so you have to retire" routine". The day Kennedy retires because of Chappaquiddick is the day I will ask for Sanford's resignation. Double standards are the basis of all discrimination.
I'm not talking about the Left. I'm talking about the Religious Right. That term fits me pretty well.
Sanford is not talking to the Left. He's talking to the people who feel that he betrayed them by having an affair.
It won't be good enough for us to say: "My sexual behavior is my private business."
We expect better behavior from our public servants. We're not willing to overlook it without some indication that such a man realizes its gravity and realizes its a public offense. And is ready to do better.
Clinton's supporters mainly didn't care. Sanford's supporters care very much.