Mark Sanford's win in South Carolina: Ideology trumps scandalous personal life
For a time it looked as though ex-South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was so damaged, his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch (sister of comedian Stephen Colbert) might actually beat him in South Carolina's special Congressional election.
But Sanford turned the contest into a referendum on the Obama Administration and the national Democratic Party. Except in a heavily African-American district - which the South Carolina's 1st Congressional district definitely is not - you know how that is going to turn out in South Carolina.
No matter that Sanford's extra-marital affair wasn't just personal misconduct from a politician of the very party which trumpets its family values. It was PUBLIC misconduct in that the governor went AWOL to chase his mistress in Argentina. Remember? Since Sanford's press spokesman first claimed the governor was "hiking the Appalachian trail", that became a new euphemism in English for something else.
Even by the standards of hounddog politicians, this was extraordinary. A sitting governor had simply abandoned his post.
In the end, it didn't matter. What was billed as a razor-thin contest wasn't even close. Sanford clobbered Colbert Busch, 54 to 45 percent.
By some accounts, Sanford effectively "nationalized" the election by "debating" a cardboard cut-out of Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Media pundits mocked the escapade, but the tactic may have effectively morphed Colbert Busch into the hated Pelosi.
Sanford also employed evangelical religious imagery when alluding to his personal situation, referring to a "God of second chances". (Not unlike the tactic used by some ethically compromised, African-American Democratic politicians over the years)
And something with which Delawareans should be well familiar: Retail politics. Sanford excelled at it; Colbert Busch didn't. Echoes of Bill Clinton and John Edwards. Are politicians most gifted at retail politics - who seem to really "enjoy" people - more likely to cheat on their spouses, or does that very quality simply make it easier for them?
Voters in that 1st Congressional district will get a quick reminder of the ex-governor's past: Sanford must appear in Family Court Thursday to respond to allegations he entered his ex-wife's home, violating the couple's divorce agreement.
So Mark Sanford becomes the latest "comeback kid" in national politics, as noted in this headline from The STATE of Columbia, South Carolina...
It's shameful that somebody of such low moral character gets elected to the top office in the state. Something is definitely wrong here.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 8, 2013 8:28am
Kind of a shame Colbert's sister didn't win. Maybe she's an funny as her brother, could have made press conferences more entertaining - heh heh.
Allan said, "Sanford also employed evangelical religious imagery when alluding to his personal situation, referring to a "God of second chances". (Not unlike the tactic used by some ethically compromised, African-American Democratic politicians over the years)"
This is an important point. Christians worship the God of Second Chances. We aren't to judge, but are called to forgive, etc, etc, [not trying to make this a religious discussion]. The issue though, even if you can forgive him the indiscretion, the issue of just leaving his office to go literally traipsing around the world at the drop of a hat is problematic. Will he again walk away from his office, be it for a sexual exploit or for some other reason, maybe if the stress is too high, etc, THAT to me would be the bigger question I'd want answered before I'd want to put him back in charge of my state again. At least Clinton continued to do his work while being unfaithful to Hillary. This guy just up and left and if I remember correctly, no one knew where he went.
Wed, May 8, 2013 9:33pm
The people of South Carolina clearly chose the lesser evil. At this point in our history, we can ill afford another Democrat elected to Congress from anywhere.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 8, 2013 11:27pm
Mrpizza: So any Republican anytime, no matter what, eh?
As Martin Luther has been quoted saying, "I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me."
Having ANY Republican no matter what over ANY Democrat no matter what is just plain foolish, in my opinion [it also works the other way too, having ANY DEM no matter what over ANY GOP no matter what is also just plain foolish]. Both sound a tad bit hypocritical.
As Ross Perot famously said, if a man who took an oath in front of his family and his god, to be faithful to his wife and then broke that vow, how can I ever trust him?
The South Carolina GOP should have told Sanford, NO, you can not run as a Republican; we have more integrity than that. Sadly it appears that the SC GOP doesn't, and neither do the voters of SC.
Even if you over look the cheating on his wife thing, the man just up and left.
So, I guess you'd still want Christine O'Donnell as our state Senator rather than ANY DEM? Not me. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
Thu, May 9, 2013 8:13am
I'm probably the only person in Delaware who would like to see Christine as Senator... No other elected official seems interested in giving my son an Senatorial appointment into Hogwartz.
That said. A lot of times we tsk tsk votes from far away when they don't rise up to our level of approval. I know I have myself. When we do, we fail to access the voters mentality. Stupid is a word that gets thrown around way too much. In reality, not many people are stupid. Just about everyone I know, looks out for their own best self interest, am I right? That is not stupid. In fact, the argument can well be made that focusing on magnificent goal, while running your own finances and that of your family into the ground, has more stupidity than looking after our own interests.
People vote for whom they want. It is very hard for people of one persuasion, to believe that there are that many people of another persuasion who can beat your candidate... That many people voting, tends to marginalize those who really are stupid as being statistically non existent....
Sanford was the best candidate for South Carolina. Period. 9 points of voters said so. Doesn't mean those voting the opposite are small in number. It just means those voting the opposite don't have the majority...
Go back to 2010.. the most money ever put in a Delaware election occurred in the Senate Race that year... Just like Tea Time bemoaning Sanford's election, there were quite a few outside of Delaware crying over Christine O'Donnell's loss.
But the people of Delaware knew better. Can you imagine life today if she'd won? She didn't, because the everyday, ordinary people in Delaware knew better. The same holds true in South Carolina. Just have to accept that. Our nation was founded on the principle that when you get a whole lot of people together to vote on something, you are probably going to get the right choice for the country.. Not everyone will agree, but, when enough do, it is probably the right choice with which to go forward....
Thu, May 9, 2013 8:17am
How come Mr. Loudell doesn't have a blog for today, Thursday, May 9th?
Thu, May 9, 2013 8:18am
And Mike. Although the election has now made this only academic, the GOP did walk away from Sanford. Said, nope, we are not to blame.
It was the Tea Party that jumped into the vacuum after she was 9 points up in the polls, and in the last week, said, wait a minute, look what this Democrat stands for... She likes Obama!... which made conservative SC realize that in this case a Turk was better than an anti-Republican comedian's sister.
Which of course, made the Republican Party look even more ridiculous by the outcome.. and made the Tea Party look like the stronger of the two forces in SC.
Thu, May 9, 2013 8:32am
Relax. I don't always post my morning blog at the same time.
Management of time varies morning to morning.
Preparing a "Loudell Report" first thing in the A.M.; checking and responding to e-mails; going over "comments" in this blog, quickly trying to correct spelling & grammar; and finally, accessing dozens of newspapers and other media here on the internet, which often inspire my blog posts. That varies each morning.
Plus, outside engagements: For example, I drove to the University of Delaware from our studios at 2727 Shipley Road yesterday morning (to address an 8:40 a.m. class), so I quickly posted a blog early yesterday morning.
Thu, May 9, 2013 9:13am
Since the conversation is on mechanics, I've always wondered about the fee schedule for your interviews on air ...
I had always assumed there were no fees, that your sources are cultivated ones who rather enjoy talking on air with you. I have also noted that ABC and NBC correspondents rarely (never?) get aired, and I would assume that is contractual because of the CBS affiliation. I would think that the affiliation would respond because of the contract in place, with no fees.
But to have a professor, hanging on line cross-country on a busy school day, to say a few words, made me wonder if he was doing it gratis or if some fee structure was involved?
More or less to compensate for their time?
Sorry for asking, but I've been wondering about it for a while, so probably there are others out there wondering as well.
Thu, May 9, 2013 9:22am
No fees or other compensation ever paid.
I do about 13 to 18 live interviews each day, many with academic-type people. (Peter and Mellany do some additional live interviews during A.M. drive.) If we started paying for some of the interviewees, our costs would go up in a hurry. With that kind of money, we could hire another staffer!
As you say, as a CBS Radio News affiliate and an Associated Press member... we automatically have access to their people. (Although occasionally I'll get people from other networks, principally from personal relationships I've cultivated over the years!)
We have arrangements with some other organizations, such as POLITICO. (Politico fills the 12:37 p.m. slot each day!)
We make new contacts each week. I'll call or e-mail a reporter or professor or someone else I see.
Of course, we note the news organization and its website on the air two or three times. I'm more than happy to mention people's books, blogs, or anything else they'd like us to mention in exchange for taking the time to talk to us.
I've talked to some folks on-the-air for 25+ years, often through many changes in their personal resumes.
Some folks actually VOLUNTEER their latest articles and posts; they enjoy going on-the-air here.
Some foreign journalists realize how unusual it is for a U.S. local commercial station to do international interviews, and they're more than happy to contribute.
Occasionally, I'll try to return the favor by being a conduit for connecting other journalists and academics with people in Delaware.
Thu, May 9, 2013 9:30am
Mr. Loudell, what exactly are you telling these kids at the University of Delaware? Hope you're NOT encouraging them to get into the radio business!
Thu, May 9, 2013 10:25am
I don't encourage or discourage. I just lay out the reality... as I know it.
(Keep in mind many kids in mass comm & journalism don't necessarily end up in broadcast/communications/PR jobs, and that has ALWAYS been true! Furthermore, the U of D is not a top-tier school for journalism/communications.)
Radio/TV/newspaper are morphing together, thanks to the Internet. Our reporters shoot video and prepare copy stories for this website. I post these blogs.
It's so much more interdisciplinary today. This underscores how utterly antiquated it is for colleges and universities to separate print journalism from broadcast journalism/mass communications. That distinction is not only artificial, but is absolutely counterproductive.
(Of course, a strong argument can be made for a major in some subject OTHER than journalism/mass comm/English.)
Yes, it's tough to get into media, and it's even tougher to earn enough of a living wage to STAY in media... but there will ALWAYS be some media jobs.
But you gotta' love it. The long hours... working holidays... etc. All these things alone discourage some from seriously entertaining careers in media.
Yet, I wouldn't discourage someone who is prepared to make the sacrifices.
By the way, teatime, I recall people in 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969 discouraging ME from pursuing a career in the radio business. I remember one engineer at (then) WMRO, Aurora, Illinois babysitting some automation equipment and looking very bored. He discouraged a career in radio!
But, remember, I had already visited a couple hundred radio & TV stations before I even entered high school. I had seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I had talked to folks positively enthusiastic about their careers and those who were the reverse. I had reviewed resumes' and cover letters. I KNEW what I was getting into!
One more response to your point that it would be foolhardy to encourage young people to go into the radio business. I see where you're coming from.
Yet, I must tell you with all sincerity, my parents constantly worried about me in the radio business. My parents feared for the stability of radio jobs. Frequently, they'd ask if I wouldn't like to change careers. My (late) dad often mentioned teaching or "mid-level management at some big company, with benefits".
When cash-strapped schools, public & private, started to lay-off teachers; and corporations shed workers from all levels like so much discarded trash, I used to remind my father about that advice. It would've been a nightmare to do something I didn't want to do, and STILL get laid-off in the end.
In a way, most other jobs have become just as unstable as broadcasting, and of course, we've noted former law students suing their alma maters!
Thu, May 9, 2013 5:56pm
Well, I'm glad for being assured there are no fees. If I could put a plug in for two of my favorites, and though I recognize their names as they come on air, I'm at a loss right now what they are, probably since I haven't seen them in writing. One gives the Middle-East update from Egypt usually on Friday around 6:40, and the other has an Australian typed of off-British accent. I find both their perspectives unfiltered and when one is sourcing information, that is he number-one factor... There are more I enjoy, but those two perspectives I like the best.
Thu, May 9, 2013 7:19pm
The guy in Egypt is CBS News reporter Edward Yeranian (who also strings for the Voice of America from Cairo). Actually I'm more likely to have him either over Noon hour or the 4 p.m. hour, because of the time difference.
I'm at a loss to identify the other person without more info, perhaps location, subject-matter, etc.
Fri, May 10, 2013 12:22am
MFD: Sorry, but I don't care what anybody thinks of my opinions. I'm not here to be loved.
Fri, May 10, 2013 8:15am
Since Mr. Pizza is not here to be loved, ... where's our music? lol.
Sat, May 11, 2013 9:05am
Pizza: Once again, MikeFromDelaware lies and twists things to suit himself. He demonstrates he is ignorant and gullible and willing to believe anything that fits his own biases.
Martin Luther never said anything like, "I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me." It's a false statement the religious right (including Pat Robertson) has trotted out recently.
Actually, MikeFromDelaware didn't even get the fake quote right. It's "I'd rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian." MikeFromDelaware brags about his experience as a professional journalist but can't be bothered to either check his facts or get his (mis)quotes right.
The religious right came up with this canard to justify their support for a Mormon (non-Christian, in their view) candidate.
Actually, Luther (in one of his Westboro moments) consider the "Turks" (Muslims) god's punishment. At that point in time, the Ottoman Empire had taken much of the Balkans and was threatening Central Europe (present day Germany and Austria).
What H. Ross Perot so "famously" said, according to MikeFromDelaware. No record of that one either. Right-wingers and fundamentalists do like to make stuff up that sounds good, and their "flocks" love to repeat it,
Once again MikeFromDelaware shows he has no credibility and what he claims can not be taken seriously. We will now pause for him to make excuses. He's just posting for fun after all.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, May 11, 2013 3:11pm
Billsmith: When you are correct, that should be noted. I've done some digging and found this explanation of what Martin Luther said, and yes, sad to say, someone took this bit of Luther wisdom and made the urban legend that I quoted. Here is what I found.
“Since, then, the pope and his followers have suspended the whole canon law, and since they pay no heed to it, but regard their own wanton will as a law exalting them above all the world, we should follow their example and for our part also reject these books. Why should we waste our time studying them? We could never discover the whole arbitrary will of the pope, which has now become the canon law. The canon law has arisen in the devil’s name, let it fall in the name of God, and let there be no more doctores decretorum [doctors of canon law] in the world, but only doctores scrinii papalis, that is, “hypocrites of the pope”! It is said that there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks, who have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran; and we must confess that there is no more shameful rule than among us, with our spiritual and temporal law, so that there is no estate which lives according to the light of nature, still less according to Holy Scripture.” [Emphasis added]
In this paragraph Luther charges that it is a waste of time to study canon law in the German university, since the Romanists make up their own laws as they go along. At the end of the paragraph Luther brings up in the quoted excerpt (“It is said…”) the form of Turkish (Islamist) rule, which depends only on the Koran, and compares it to the absolutely shameful mess of Romanist made-up canon laws (“spiritual laws”) and imperial laws (“temporal laws”) under which the poor Germans are now subjected.
Here Luther does not confirm he agreed with “it is said,” or that the Turks should rule in place of the pope. Luther doesn’t mean that the nobles and princes should consider appointing a Muslim or two to govern Germany. The statement serves to direct attention to the points Luther wanted to make in his subsequent paragraphs and in what he had been alluding to in the many previous paragraphs."
I can't prove or disprove the Perot statement, but I remember hearing him say that in the debates when he ran for Prez. I understand, that isn't good enough, for you and the real world of journalist [which this blog isn't, it's an opinion mill], but it is what I remember being said by Mr. Perot. So if you require better proof, then simply disregard the Perot statement.
Sat, May 11, 2013 3:45pm
MikeFromDelaware: Maybe you were thinking of this debate quote from Ross Perot: "Which one of the three candidates would you want your daughter to marry?"
He later said when Dubya was running, “This man is a dedicated husband, he is dedicated to his wife, he is dedicated to his daughters, ... I think he can be the father that can be a good role-model for the people in this country.”
Mike from Delaware
Sat, May 11, 2013 9:38pm
Billsmith: Could be those, it's been a long time ago; but I seem to remember him saying, maybe in one of those informercials he did on TV something about taking an oath before your God and your family and if you can't keep that oath, how can we trust you to be our leader. But I too looked on-line and just couldn't find it, so who knows? It has been a long time ago.
Sun, May 12, 2013 1:40am
Mainly as an exercise for myself, but one I don't mind the public watching, is to note here, that as of Saturday Night, May 11th, 2013, only one of the major networks had any mention fo Benghazi on their front page. Historians will note that this is just after 72 hours of the hearings that were going to change the world. The one mention was on Reuters and focused on how the White House had just pulled the rug out from under Issa by making him look plain stupid.
Now, my expectation is that tomorrow, which is Sunday, or day of the talk shows, Benghazi will play a lot more coverage. For one, it will be the main if not only topic on the conservative shows, and for that reason, I anticipate it will feature prominently on the main stream.
Although America doesn't care, it appears those whose world revolves around the rotunda are the only ones to which this matters.. Just as does a family dispute matter to those within the family, but two states away, no one cares less.
This will illustrate the contribution to the dysfunction in our government that talk shows play . To get on a talk show, one must be interesting and interesting often borders on the outrageous. So our news gets devoted to the most outrageous aspects of events, without focusing on how to fix them.. Exactly backwards from what the press did post Second World War.
If my hypothesis is true at this time Sunday night, then we have become a nation whose news media is less interested in reporting on what is going around the world, and most interested in focusing upon itself...
And that, is pretty sad.
Meanwhile, the level of carbon dioxide hit a level not seen in over 3 million years... And this huge, gigantic, problem will just be a byline tomorrow morning as we are entertained with shots of Wolf Blitzer or David Gregory looking serious for the cameras.
Sun, May 12, 2013 8:21am
MikeFromDelaware: Well, speaking of human imperfection, nothing is more imperfect than human memory. But now you get to own the statement you posted. That said, I agree with it. A human being is his word and lives as his word or he is nothing.
Trust is another matter. You can trust people to be the way they are. Or as David Niven once said, "You can count on Errol Flynn. He'll always let you down."
As a practical matter, you can trust politicians to be politicians, even those who don't cheat on their wives. Politicians say what sounds good and then do what's expedient. That is the nature of politics. (I am sometimes amused at the way Allan Loudell seems to take seriously what politicians say to him interviews and to not see he's being played.)
As a general rule, some of those considered most the effective leaders and greatest statesmen were the worst philanders. Apparently, Tricky Dick was always faithful to Pat.
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