By Beth Quinn
If there is anyone in the world who was probably thrilled at the news of Michael Jackson’s death last week, it had to be Mark Sanford.
Jacko didn’t quite push Jackass off page 1, but his death did divert the media’s attention from the weepy South Carolina governor for a few minutes.
This is but one of the many thoughts that crossed my mind during the unraveling of the Sanford mystery, taking us from a cover story about a governor who had to get away from it all by hiking naked on the Appalachian Trail to the truth of the matter, which was actually more boring – an affair in Argentina with the lovely Maria.
For some time now, I’ve been trying to pull all of my thoughts about the Sanford affair into a coherent column, completely rendered and held together with an introduction, body and conclusion. Alas, this has not happened. Instead, I offer you some disparate comments on the matter and trust that some of these very same thoughts have crossed your mind as well.
Sanford’s confession had to be the most tedious public declaration of infidelity I’ve ever heard. It took him 10 minutes of rambling on about his love of nature and his hikes as a young lad to get to the meat of the thing. Presumably, he thought the public felt more miffed about the Appalachian Trail lie than about his being AWOL and having an affair, and he wanted to explain that he really DOES love that darned old trail and wasn’t cheating on IT, anyway.
While Conservatives have no corner on the marital infidelity market, it seems that they tend to lean more heavily toward genuine nuttiness. Liberals are more likely to be straight-ahead lyin’, cheatin’ scamps, but at least they aren’t usually booby hatch material. In fact, Sanford provided evidence that he’s a lunatic a few weeks before skipping off to South America when he rejected billions in federal stimulus money on behalf of the good citizens of his state, 12 percent of whom are unemployed and in dire need of some extra cash to put food on the table. His rationale: Well, he hates big government.
But looking at this strictly as an infidelity issue, it’s harder to swallow when a sanctimonious, self-satisfied, two-faced prig cheats on his wife because of all that hypocritical crap he and the rest of the moral vanguard are always screeching about. Sanford was at the forefront back in the day, thumping his Bible and calling for Clinton’s impeachment and carrying on about the sanctity of marriage and the long etcetera list of family values.
Like his fellow prigs – Gingrich, Limbaugh, Ensign, Palin, and the gang – he wants to make standards of behavior for all the rest of us but apparently feels free to ignore his own rules. Until he got caught, anyway. Now he’s all about the Bible once again, using it this time to explain that his fall from grace is like that dude’s in the Old Testament, and now God will holdeth his hand and forgiveth him and he will prayeth that the rest of us may someday see-eth the light as he haseth!
Jenny Sanford is the coolest cheated-upon political spouse ever. None of this head-held-high-stand-by-your-man stuff. She told Sanford to kiss off. Publicly. And joked with the press as she did it. As she was leaving to spend some time on her boat, she told a horde of reporters, “I wish we had room on the boat for you all, but we do not.” How cool is THAT!?
Meanwhile, Sanford has described his wife to the press as “absolutely magnanimous and gracious as a wonderful Christian woman.” What a weird thing to say. I wonder what it even means? And what does that make Silda Spitzer?
More evidence that Sanford is actually a lunatic – he now claims he’s a good role model for his four sons. His good role modelhood, he says, is based on the fact that he’s picking himself up by the boot straps and soldiering on instead of being a quitter and resigning like 95 percent of the country thinks he should. What an exemplary example!
He seems to think that this fall from grace is something that happened to him, not something he did. It’s as though he’s one of Mark Madoff’s innocent victims but now he vows that, like Scarlett, he WILL survive and never eat turnips again!
Beth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.