More cheating politicians? Gad

I’m just sitting here watching the video of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sandford’s press conference explaining why he was in Argentina with a bimbo instead of hiking the Apalaichian trail which, I would bet, would be a lot more fun, even if he had run into a bear or murderers.

Gad. It’s here (click!) and i have to admit, watching it, it is impossible not to feel a little sorry for the bum.

“Why don’t they just ram a stick through him and roast him on a spit,” I just told Tim Gurrister sitting here behind me. We agreed it reminds us, in a way, of Enid Greene’s press conference so many years ago when it was her husband who got caught cheating, not her. She won praise for her ability to stand in front of the gathered press for multiple hours, with no bathroom breaks, and wear the bums out. What small measure of respect I still have for her (very small — her politics still repell me) comes from that performance.

Of course, the governor here has a wife and four sons. He says he’s sorry to them. Why doesn’t anyone ever think of that ahead of time?

One would think that the remote prospect of having to stand in front of a raging hoard of reporters explaining why you cheated on your wife would be enough to keep any politician honest, or at least a bit more circumspect in dealing with one’s urges (haven’t any of these guys heard of on-line porn?)

But then again, it’s rarely about sex, almost always about power or something similar.

The raging pack is having fun with this guy being a republican, and a self-professed Christian or something, but I decline to go there.

As history has shown, anyone can, and will, cheat. Popes did it. Presidents do it. Kings and Queens do it. Almost sounds like a Cole Porter song coming on here, does it not?

Doesn’t excuse the behavior, of course — and the hypocricy is what makes me sad. If you’re going to do it, keep quitet when someone else does it. A front of religious rightousness seems to be a necessity for getting elected in this country these days, but it is just a front. I grow weary of all these loud professions of that faith will make this a moral nation from people who, so obviously, are only saying that, not practicing that.

In short, if you’re doing it in private, you don’t get to condemn it in public.

With luck, a policy of never condemning in public what you do in private would mean every politician in the country would never say another word.

I like this idea.

ps. added thursday morning Gail Collins in the NYTimes makes a very, very good point that it is due time for the GOP to apologize to the nation for that whole Monica Lewinski thing — the level of alleged moral rectitude during that little affair was amazing and, as we all now know, the height of hypocricy.

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15 Responses to More cheating politicians? Gad

  1. ben dover says:

    This is off topic but i have a question. Recently you wrote of your frustrations with misinformation on web forums. After some discussion one respondent stated that the truth will come from various people posting their opions and informations. Recently the S-E published a letter to the editor with a false statement that the writer claimed Barack Obama said. It would have been easy to research and verify the statement, which was false. The lies online attributed to and about you were clarified the same day. As of today June 25th no retraction or apology has been issued by the paper. I realize that bashing the president is high sport but I expect the” paper of record for top of Utah” to strive for some degree of accuracy and honesty. Does anyone in the editorial staff or newspaper know how to use google to check the truthfulness of a statement. The false statement seems to be a example of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    That’s a fair question Ben (ben dover — cute. My son uses the same name, spelled slightly different). I have no control over the letters to the editor or I’d say that letters containing completely wrong information — urban myths, misstatements of fact — would be sent back to the writers for revision. When I’ve asked about this over my 31 years at the S-E I have always been told that the letters are the reader’s forum, although I will also note that, in the past, there has been the occasional editor’s note correcting a misstated fact.

    How this has changed in the digital age, I do not quite know. Those decisions are made in the editorial board, of which I am not a member. If someone posts an obvious factual inaccuracy on my own blog, I’ll correct it below or, if rather egregious, contact the writer and say “did you really mean to say that? The picture of that guy on top of the twin towers really was faked, you know.” Or something like that.

    Opinions, of course, are open to all and I would never mess with those, lest my own be also messed with.

    As I recall, the stuff about Obama was that he has gone around the world apologizing for America, or wanting to make America socialist, or some such — this is the spin the Limbaugh/Hannity/Savage spew machine has put on every statement he has made overseas that wasn’t of the George Bush “our way or the highway” nature.

    I suppose if one were of a charitable nature one could call such a spin “opinion,” although I am not that charitable myself, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d have flagged the letter either. Those people are starting to sound a bit like PETA with the fly — just a bit too much for credibility even by supporters.

  3. flatlander100 says:

    Back on topic:

    Gingrich. Vitter. Ensign. Now Sanford. You know, if I were of a philandering and cynical turn of mind, I might be tempted to switch my party affiliation to Republican, join Promise Keepers, get myself Born Again, sign up for every Christian conservative “Family Values” organization I could find, and give speeches about the “sanctity of marriage.” That seems to be a sure-fire, unbeatable way to get women these days!

    If I were of a philandering and cynical turn of mind, that is….

  4. ben dover says:

    I am again curious about the letters to the editor page. There are many letters that are published that also have information or comments that were added online. With a lettert like this, which was published online several days earlier and had the correction in the comments section, why wasn’t that included with the letter in the print edition? The S-E claims it strives for accuracy and balance but has declined to publish the easily obtained truth. I can arrange to have people give a seminar to the staff to show how easy it is to use goggle to determine the accuracy of statements attributed to public fugures. The question still remains, when or will the accurate information be published in the print edition. While you are not on the editorial board surely you are allowed to communicate with them.

  5. ben dover says:

    I have just reread the following S-E policy statement. ” The Standard-Examiner’s policy is to correct any error promptly. If you find a mistake or anything you think is unfair” I would think that someone at the paper would monitor the online comments section. When can we expect a correction in the print edition. The “promptly” part of the statement is past but some degree of accuracy would be appreciated. How many other false or misleading statements of opinion have been published without any attempt to verify the truth. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but publishing such as a fact is a sad reflection on the paprt.

  6. Cathy says:

    Why did this song come to my mind just now …

    Sorry, just being random.

  7. flatlander100 says:

    The problem is, Cathy, that the good Gov. Sanford — born again Christian family values sanctity of marriage kinda guy that he is — and we know he is all that, because he’s told us so in campaign after campaign — the problem is right now he’d he’d apparently like two women standing by him at the same time — one in Argentina and one here.

    Not exactly what the winsome youthful Ms. Wynette had in mind, I think.

  8. laytonian says:

    Everyone, regardless of their political persuasion, should be thrilled that this one-week event occurred. I’m not talking about the affair. There are two more important issues.

    First, the cover-up from his staff, that revealed a governor seen as “shaky” and who needed to get away after losing on the stimulus issue.

    Secondly, the hubris of a governor who would walk away from his duties for an entire week, without notifying anyone — and we find out that he’s done it before, for shorter times? Without turning over the power of office?

    Thank GOD this guy’s ethics came to light. It’s absolutely frightening to think that this is one of the Republicans’ top four candidates for the 2012 Presidency — and that if, by some miracle, he’d been elected, he’d take frequent, unannounced walkabouts.

    This man is a danger to the citizens of South Carolina, to the United States, his family, and least of all, himself.

    But he’s one of the “top four”? Scary.

  9. Mark Shenefelt says:

    With Ensign, Vitter, Edwards, now Sanford, Henry Hyde, Gingrich, and co., sure, it’s all human nature. It’s the cold hypocrisy that is infuriating. These hacks build political careers on their sanctimony. When they get caught, it’s not a sad event,; it actually should be rewarding to voters. They find out what kind of two-faced people they’ve elected. Here’s my post from last week about Ensign:

    The above indictment covers any of the holy-cloak lot in the public eye, most notably the TV evangelist preachers who screeched sinners to hell while whoring and stealing off camera.

    A newspaper in Sanford’s home state turned up Sanford love e-mails to his mistress:

    Makes you wonder if Sanford worked on pro-family-values issues simultaneously with his romance-novel dispatches and what was going through his mind, exactly.

  10. Cathy says:

    Those emails made me throw up a little.

  11. laytonian says:

    Mark, did you know that the emails were “leaked” to that SC newspaper six months ago, but since there were no other rumors, they put them aside.

    It wouldn’t have been that hard to authenticate them, saving the SC taxpayers a lot of grief.

    Yes, it’s not the affair. It’s the hypocrisy. AND, it’s the fact that more Democrats resign when shamed than Republicans.

    Diaper-spanked Vitter is still in office; McGreevey resigned when his affair was exposed.

    The right is applauding Gingrich and sucking up his vile lies, without knowing the truth about his telling his hospitalized wife he wanted a divorce.

    Shockingly, I was talking to a good friend two days ago who is a firm conservative. She was saying how much she liked Cindy McCain and I mentioned Cindy’s drug addiction….and how she (a multimillionnairess) stole drugs from her own charity.

    How would my friend have known about Cindy’s drug issues, when Fox News didn’t “we report, you decide” it?

  12. flatlander100 says:

    On Gov. Sanford’s family values emails to his mistress:

    Ah, on this one, I’m afraid I have to stand with the gov. They’re personal matters. His using state funds to visit his honey, his lying to his staff and the public, his abandoning his post to go off canoodling — all of those things are properly the business of the public. But his love-posts to his mistress are not. Were I editing the local paper SC , I might have reported that the governor was having an affair if I could show he was using public money to conduct it, but I would not have printed the text of the emails, even if I could have confirmed them as genuine. Suitable for the National Inquirer at super market checkout stands or for Gretta Van Sustern or Ann Coulter or similar trash “journalists” [insert apology to all real journalists here] , maybe. But not for real newspapers or news blogs that aspire to standards even minimally higher than found on Beck, Hannity and Limpaw. [BTW, Limpaw's latest: Obama made Sanford cheat. No, I'm not kidding.]

  13. Dave CV says:

    What about those pillars of restraint like Jack and Bobby Kennedy, oh don’t forget brother Ted! After all he only killed one of his dalliances. We’re going to over look Bill Clinton and his “Family” values right in the White House. Then there is Mr. Edwards cheating on his cancer stricken wife and fathering a bastard child . You screaming liberals haven’t go any room to throw rocks at anybody. You Hypocrisy is just amazing.
    There is plenty of sleaze to go around, but you lefties seem to never look in the political mirror!!!

  14. laytonian says:

    Dear Dave CV

    Big whoosh.

    The problem is NOT the affair. It’s the dereliction of duty. It’s the moralizing, the hypocrisy.

    Of course, in the Republican handbook, as long as someone else did it, it’s OK. Right?

    Thanks for making our point.

    By the way, Ensign, Vitter and Sanford are still in office. Edwards is not, neither is McGreevey.

    How come you Republicans KEEP your cheaters in office?

  15. There is a very simple reason why disgraced politicians should immediately resign no matter what the offense, or the talent they may possess which could benefit society: in this partisan, acrimonious, political environment in which we currently live, and at this point in time in our nation’s evolution, any elected official needs as much support from his constituency which he or she can gather. After the offense, that support base will undoubtedly diminish, and render their service less effective.

    As for resignation, you might check out this.

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