Sanford? Jake? No Republicans here

One more thing I meant to say before this runoff was over, and AFTER the Sunday page was done sort of wish I’d written my Sunday column about…

There are few things more ridiculous than Mark Sanford and Jake Knotts arguing over who is NOT a "real Republican."

Folks, neither of them is. Jake certainly isn’t. He is a populist, and will act in accordance with that philosophy, or non-philosophy, pretty much all the time. Once, that would have meant he would have been a Democrat. In recent decades, white populists in the South have flocked to the Republican party.

And Sanford? Come on. Do a poll of the real-life Republicans who serve in the State House — in the aggregate, a pretty good cross-section of the party today — and ask them if they think the governor’s a "real Republican." They’ll laugh in your face. And they probably haven’t been privy to some of the gestures of contempt toward the party that he used to exhibit to me back when we were closer, I suppose because he knew the degree to which I held all parties in contempt. It was sort of a bond between us. Still is, I suppose. Here’s one of those anecdotes, which I wrote about at the New York convention in 2004:

    I got a floor pass every night so I could mix with our delegates, but the truth is, theScbushrnc
South Carolina delegation could hardly be said to be "on the floor." They were at the very back, up off the floor, where the risers begin their climb up to the nosebleed section – behind Vermont and Idaho, right next to that other crucial electoral factor, the Virgin Islands.
    "Obviously, what they’ve done is put the battleground states up front and personal," says Rep. Harrell from Charleston. He quickly adds, "I want to be clear, it is fine with all of us."
    Besides, "I’m closer to the floor than I am during Carolina basketball games." Which is saying something. I’ve seen where he sits.
    But on the big night, the night the president speaks, South Carolina was no longer in the cheap seats. In fact, now only New Mexico was between South Carolina and the president as he spoke. It was a choice spot, looking straight into the president’s right ear from about 20 feet away. Any closer — say, where New Mexico was sitting — would be too close. You’d have to crane your neck too much.
    That night, Gov. Sanford was standing in the shoulder-to-shoulder aisle, quietlySanfordrnc2
observing the process of whipping up enthusiasm before the acceptance speech. Suddenly he leaned over to me to say, in his usual casual tone, "I don’t know if you’ve read that book, Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds . . .."

    It was a classic Sanford moment.

Folks, I know Republicans. I’ve known Republicans all my life. As my father has told me, the one thing he knew about HIS father’s politics was that he was a Republican. One of his earliest memories is of Granddaddy Warthen arguing with the man down the street about FDR.

My Granddaddy wouldn’t have recognized either of these guys as members of his party.


39 thoughts on “Sanford? Jake? No Republicans here

  1. John


  2. Plan B

    OK. Now I’m ready for Governor Sanford to go do something else — maybe in Washington or somewhere up there. It will be one step forward and two steps back with that moron still in the Legislature. Meanwhile, maybe Knotts will need some surgery that goes awry or something. Knotts will not be a bloodstain on South Carolina history until we get rid of that wicked Ben Tillman statue. That’s gotta be it. Tillman and his one evil eye are gonna blow.

  3. p.m.

    Well, if Sanford brought up “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” that explains everything.
    How could anyone support such a man, or even imagine him to be a Republican, in the face of a common-sense Attila such as Jake Knotts?
    How dare a governor have even a semi-literary frame of reference?
    May the waters of the Bush and Broad suck up those who question the wisdom of The State’s oblique but obligatory obfuscation.

  4. bud

    Sorry Brad, but you don’t get to decide what constitutes are REAL Republican or Democrat for that matter. This post smacks of arrogance.

  5. p.m.

    To back up bud for a change:
    How could you know Republicans, Mr. Warthen? Lincoln was a Republican, and my aunt in Boone, N.C., 95 years young, still votes Democrat because her father, or her father’s father, voted Democrat against Lincoln and emancipation.
    That was back when Republicans could pronounce “nuclear” and spell “potato” and tell the two halves of Europe apart.
    Not only that, but in those days, most Republicans could tell a Sunni from a Shiite on sight.
    Oops. I’m getting a little carried away here. Maybe the nurse will bring me some more medicine soon.

  6. bud

    To be a Republican in 2008 you believe in:
    . Endless wars of imperialism.
    . Tax cuts for the very wealthy.
    . Every man for himself when in comes to health care.
    . Shipping jobs overseas in order to enrich the upper 1%.
    . Pay increases for CEOs regardless of company performance.
    . Huge budget deficits.
    . The destruction of all pristine wilderness areas in order to feed your oil addiction.
    . Ignoring people who need help the most such as the Katrina victims.
    . Telling the American people phony campaign platitudes in order to get elected.
    . Scaring the American people with exagerated claims of foreign terrorist in order to get elected and spend more on worthless military crap.
    . Ignoring the 1st, 4th and 5th ammendments to the Constitution.
    . Ignoring the nation’s infrastructure needs.
    . Demonizing Democrats.
    . Believing the nonsense spouted off by right-wing radion blowhards.
    . Ignorning evidence that contradicts what the radio blowhards spout off.
    . Calling anyone who disagrees with you a socialist.
    . Manufacturing job destruction.

  7. just saying

    I thought the only requirements to be a Republican were:
    1) Think you should belong to a political party instead of picking by the candidate
    2) Like the Republicans more than the competition (granted, that might be for the reasons bud cites)
    The requirements for being a democrat only involve changing the party name in part 2.

  8. Brad Warthen

    So now BUD gets to define what a Republican is, but I don’t? Whatever.
    Seriously, folks, no one is better qualified than I to recognize either a Democrat or a Republican. I recognize them the way a doctor recognizes a disease.
    Back in my Granddaddy’s day — for that matter, up through about the 1960s — the parties stood for reasonably respectable modes of thought. In recent years, they’ve become highly destructive forces that exist for no other purpose but to perpetuate themselves, to demonize the opposition, and to keep our country too divided to address any of its greatest challenges.
    And both Knotts and Sanford are clear of the disease. They may have other problems (and they certainly do), but mindless adherence to a party are not among them.
    So, in case you missed it, I was saying something good about both of them. As I DID say, Sanford made the crack about the “madness of crowds” to me because he knew I’d appreciate it. And he was right. It may not be a very appealing thing to be so obviously aloof to the people who are allegedly one’s comrades, but he knew I shared that character “flaw” of an utter lack of identification with the hoopla going on about us.
    By the way, I went back in and included some pictures I took at the very moments described in the post.
    I should explain that Sanford was PHYSICALLY aloof from his fellow S.C. Republicans as well. I was standing in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd in the aisle right next to the S.C. delegation, and slightly behind it. Hence the blurry photo of Bush taken over Andre Bauer’s head, with the S.C. delegation sign in the shot.
    The two equally blurry shots of Sanford are what I saw when I turned to my immediate left, AWAY from the delegation.
    Sanford’s explanation for why he was standing there was that, not being officially a member of the delegation, there was no seat for him.
    That made sense to me until later in the evening, when I sort of ribbed Speaker Wilkins about it. Knowing that there was no love lost between him and the governor, I jokingly asked why he hadn’t offered HIS seat to his governor. It seemed to me about as unlikely a suggestion as could be, since Wilkins — now the ambassador to Canada — was probably the one Republican most thrilled to be nominating Bush again (he had worked hard to back him, and had pictures of himself and Bush all over his office), and certainly wouldn’t have wanted to give up his choice seat at that moment.
    With some indignation, he replied that he indeed HAD offered his seat to the governor, but that he had refused it.

  9. bud

    Brad, I think that’s what has me frustrated the most with John McCain. Somehow he has shifted many positions to align himself with the “canned” Republican politician I described above. He once oppossed torture, drilling off the coast and extending the Bush tax cuts. Now he’s for those things. Perhaps you can defend those positions but they are demonstratively part of the GOP talking points. His shift in that direction is strong evidence that he really is not the maverick, straight-talker the way he says he is.

  10. Brad Warthen

    Oh, and you want to see arrogance? Here’s arrogance:
    When some of you who are hooting and hollering show me some evidence that you have the experience and background to objectively and critically judge the differences between a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent better than I can, I will bow to your superior qualifications. But not until then.
    It’s a terribly inconvenient fact to those of us of egalitarian sensibilities, but there are good reasons why I’m paid to write about politics in this state, and you are not.
    Doesn’t that just sound TERRIBLE? I know. I embarrass myself. But like the child who made the comment about the emperor being buck naked, sometimes someone needs to put the obvious on the record.
    The truth is that I’m sure that each and every one of you is better than I am at a whole lot of stuff. In fact the case can be made that I’m not good for much other than this one thing. And SOME who are reading this can put up evidence of greater experience in observing politics up close and personal. But the reason I do what I do is because I do indeed know more about it than MOST people…
    (THAT should set them off… yeah, I know.)

  11. Bill

    The ONLY way to recognize a true Republican is actually pretty easy. Try it…
    1. Go get a copy of the Republican Party platform.
    2. Read it. (have someone read it to you Brad)
    3. Compare that platform to the politician in question.
    Nobody cares if Brad Warthen or all the “the real-life Republicans who serve in the State House” like Sanford or if they approve of his positions.
    Like it or not, Governor Sanford fits that platform and MOST Republicans (local and national) these days simply DO NOT. Porky Knotts less than most.
    I am not a Republican because that party walked away from their conservative base many years ago. I didn’t leave them. They left ME. Even Ronald Reagan was a ‘Truman Democrat,’ and a union president. (Reagan was my favorite liberal) He stayed true to his ethics as the rest of the political landscape sleazed slowly leftward, leaving him no choice but to be a Republican.
    Today Ronald Reagan certainly would not agree to be a Republican. Not if he had to stand beside these liberal sphincters.

  12. p.m.

    Mr. Warthen, no one here likely disputes your qualifications seriously, and everyone here likely recognizes that bud’s definition of Republican is whatever suits the false Democrat gods he worships.
    But a Republican is not 12 or 15 tenets inscribed on parchment somewhere, any more than government is the buildings that house the various facets of government around our country. Republicans are people, and people are not static things.
    Besides, the reason they’ve had you writing politics at The State may just be that you care more about it than anyone else there.

  13. Lee Muller

    Brad Warthen is just attempting to smear anyone with whom he disagrees as being illegitimate – they are not “real Democrats” or “real Republicans”.
    It’s silly, childish, and transparent.

  14. Brad Warthen

    p.m., you’ve got it right. It’s a lot more complicated than a platform statement. It’s an art, not a science.
    And you’re probably right that I’m more interested in politics than anyone here, with the possible exception of my colleagues on the board. But that’s a self-reinforcing phenomenon, isn’t it? The person who is most interested becomes the most knowledgeable about the subject — not because he’s smarter, but because he’s more interested.

  15. Lee Muller

    Brad, if you were truly interested in politics, you would take time to learn more about political systems and theory, such as libertarianism and socialism. You would have more interest in history.
    You would look a little deeper into issues than the packaging devised from a focus group.
    You would not become so easily infatuated with con artists like Barak Obama, or such a cheerleader for the endless string of crony ventures by Mayor Bob.
    You would understand why so much of your political agenda has already failed and been relegated to the dustbin of history.

  16. just saying

    “You would”… just let Lee tell you how things are. He knows everything and is never wrong about anything (even your evidence contradicting him is wrong). Duh!

  17. Lee Muller

    I’m just saying that when your “evidence” is your fabrication, or slogan or urban myth, it has no value. When you have some real facts, but are unable to draw the proper conclusion from them, expect several of us to correct you.
    Mr. Warthen is an opinion merchant, with opinions often detached from factual reality.

  18. bud

    Lee, I hate to break this to you but you’ve pretty much had your way politically speaking for most of the past 8 years. The result has been skyrocketing inflation and a collapse of the manufacturing sector of our economy. So what has really been relegated to the dustbin of history is the failure of the modern conservative movement as embodied by today’s Republican party. The real success story in the 21st century has been the democratic-socialist states of Europe and Japan. They are living far longer, healthier and happier lives than Americans. I say let’s give socialism a chance, conservatism has failed.

  19. just saying

    Bud, I think the problem with the your statement is that the conservative beliefs that Lee espouses were never embodied very well by today’s Republican party – in particular they made virtually no effort to slash government waste in extant programs or begin to curtail unrequired programs. (I would posit that any single party in charge for more than one term of the legislative and executive branches will almost invariably start throwing money around, but that’s beside the point).
    Secondly, I’m not sure how much longer Europe and Japan will remain shining examples. If our pension systems are in danger of being underfunded, the ones over there are verging on economy devastating catastrophes. Additionally, we’ve had quite a long experience in the integration of immigrants from a variety of backgrounds. How much upheaval will Europe and Japan have when their immigration rates skyrocket to combat their below replacement rate reproduction?

  20. bud

    Just Saying, you make some convincing arguments. I’m not suggesting we abandon capitalism. Nor am I necessarily suggesting all principals of conservatism are wrong. However, the idea that eliminating waste is a conservative/GOP concept is just not correct. Liberals strongly believe in the concept of eliminating wasteful aspects of government. They just see waste in different places.
    As for Europe, let’s just wait and see. The birth rate in many European nations has fallen far below the replacement rate and that is likely to lead to labor shortages in a few years. That is certainly a valid point.
    But what I admire about the Europeans is how they’ve recognized that the accumulation of material goods does not nessassarily lead to a greater sense of well-being. Instead they put their resources on enhancing the health and welfare of their citizenry at large. Lee calls that socialism. I call it pragmatism.

  21. just saying

    Ok, so I admit that “unrequired programs” is a euphemism to some for “all social programs and then some….” 🙂
    As far as enhancing the “health and welfare”, I think that is true of what many Europeans want… I get the impression that many others are fighting for welfare of the handout variety. (Quality healthcare for all is one thing, full pensions after 25 years of 30 hour work weeks is another.)

  22. Lee Muller

    How many times do I have to post the fact that the tiny Bush partial rollback of the Clinton tax increases created enough economic growth to balance the budget and pay down some national debt, if social spending had not been increased so much?
    Bush and the GOP are to blame for not stopping the spending spree. The Democrats wanted more spending, with deficits twice as large, and the Republicans act like they did something by making the deficits “only” in the range of Bill Clinton’s deficits. Whoopee.
    That’s why conservatives are staying home and cleaning their guns so they can take back America from the socialists and start over, as Thomas Jefferson said we would have to do.

  23. Lee Muller

    The socialistic liberal idea of government waste is government failing to collect the maximum taxes, and leaving the workers with any savings.

  24. just saying

    Lee, thanks for pointing out that no-one ever elected to national office in the U.S. has ever had what you call a “socialistic liberal idea of government”. (Or, can you name one who has explicitly pushed for raising taxes to the maximum (100%?) and said they didn’t think workers should be able to save anything.)

  25. Lee Muller

    Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist.
    Barak Obama votes to the left of Bernie Sanders.
    Over 40 Democrats are members of the Democrat-Socialist Alliance, a group of international socialist legislators.
    Socialists in England had an income tax greater than 100% back in the 1960s, which is why The Beatles left there. The US has had top brackets over 90% for quite a few years. Many Democrats have proposed 100% estate taxes.

  26. just saying

    I didn’t ask who described themselves as a socialist or “democrat-socialist”. Has Senator Sanders or any of these others ever pushed for complete community ownership of everything? (e.g. what is his definition of socialism, as opposed to yours)
    Presumably the lower tax brackets were much lower than 90% so that people could keep a reasonable amount to live off of? And presumably there were still “rich people” back in these evil days, so that savings could still be had. (Not that I want to go back to them!)
    And I am certainly not prepared to defend the British tax system. I can’t find any documentation of it being higher than a 98% top rate on dividends and interest. (Again, I’m not saying thats a good thing!)

  27. just saying

    “Barak Obama votes to the left of Bernie Sanders.”
    If true, this only applies to bills that actually come up for a vote in the senate and say nothing about the kind of Soviet/North Korean communist-socialism you keep trying to imply.
    Have there been any bills about making us go to 100% taxes and give up all of our private property? Or have there been a bunch of bills that still leave us far closer to the Reagan years than they do those 90% top bracket years you keep bringing up.

  28. Brian

    Does anyone here REALLY know what a Democrat is???!!!! A REAL Democrat; pre-60s/Southern/with real convictions???
    One day I hope our state and nation embraces the ideals of normal people. When women defer to men, children defer to adults, and those of lesser social status defer to those of a higher status. We are NOT the same!!!! Why in the world do we want a classless society???

  29. Lee Muller

    You don’t have to favor “complete community ownership and control of everything” to be a socialist. Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Castro and Hitler were not that extreme, but they were socialists.
    Bernie Sanders is a socialist.
    Barak Obama is a socialist.
    Nancy Pelosi is a socialist.
    45 members of Congress are avowed socialists and members of international socialist groups.
    Ralph Nader ran his presidential campaign out of the Communist Party USA headquarters in NYC.
    Socialism is un-American. It is treason.

  30. Joe Sixpack

    Brad Warthen, This is the first and last article of yours that I will ever read. Your article has no teeth, because you fail to answer the central question: “What defines a real Republican?”
    According to you, because SC’s legislature doesn’t like Sanford, thus Sanford isn’t a real Republican.
    I could perhaps accept this shoddy analysis if you didn’t make such trite and arrogant comments about how qualified and knowledgable you believe that you are.

  31. Mike S

    I know I’m late in coming to this blog, but I don’t buy Lee’s assertion that there is such a group as the Democrat-Socialist Alliance. (Hey, he’s the one who capped “alliance” and used the words “members” and “group.”) The only occurrence of “Democrat-Socialist Alliance” I could find on the Web was in Lee’s blog post. I suppose we could all make up nonfacts such as this, just like Joe McCarthy did in the ’50s, but Lee’s claim makes me wonder about the accuracy of everything else he wrote.

  32. Lee Muller

    The Democratic Socialists of America is part of the international communist and socialist group with national chapters, the Democratic Socialist Alliance.
    The Congressional Democratic Socialist Alliance became a window into the true subversive nature of the Democratic Party, and in 2001, changed its name to the “Progressive Caucus”, and shut down its DSA website run from a server in the Congressional Office Building.
    I archived their old web pages, because I knew there would be denial by rank Democrats who don’t want to believe or admit how close they are to Stalin and Hitler.
    Below is a cut and paste from the latest Progressive Caucus membership page. I can provide plenty of links to those of you with a mental block, and even provide directions to the next convention.
    Congressional Members of the
    Progressive Caucus
    Rep Earl Hilliard (AL-07)
    Rep Eni Faleomavaega (AS-AL)
    Rep Ed Pastor (AZ-02)
    Rep Lynn C Woolsey (CA-06)
    Rep George Miller (CA-07)
    Rep Nancy Pelosi (CA-08)
    Rep Fortney “Pete” Stark (CA-13)
    Rep Henry A. Waxman (CA-29)
    Rep Xavier Becerra (CA-30)
    Rep Julian C. Dixon (CA-32)
    Rep Esteban Edward Torres (CA-34)
    Rep Maxine Waters (CA-35)
    Rep George E. Brown (CA-42)
    Rep Bob Filner (CA-50)
    Rep Diane DeGette (CO-01)
    Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL)
    Rep Corrine Brown (FL-03)
    Rep Carrie P. Meek (FL-17)
    Rep Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23)
    Rep Cynthia A. McKinney (GA-04)
    Rep John Lewis (GA-05)
    Rep Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
    Rep Patsy Mink (HI-02)
    Rep Jesse Jackson (IL-02)
    Rep Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
    Rep Danny Davis (IL-07)
    Rep Lane Evans (IL-17)
    Rep Julia Carson (IN-10)
    Rep John Olver (MA-01)
    Rep Jim McGovern (MA-03)
    Rep Barney Frank (MA-04)
    Rep John Tierney (MA-06)
    Rep David Bonior (MI-10)
    Rep Lynn N. Rivers (MI-13)
    Rep John Conyers (MI-14)
    Rep Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02)
    Rep Melvin L. Watt (NC-12)
    Rep Donald Payne (NJ-10)
    Rep Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
    Rep Major Owens (NY-11)
    Rep Nydia M. Velazquez (NY-12)
    Rep Charles Rangel (NY-15)
    Rep Maurice Hinchey (NY-26)
    Rep John LaFalce (NY-29)
    Rep Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
    Rep Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
    Rep Louis Stokes (OH-11)
    Rep Sherrod Brown (OH-13)
    Rep Elizabeth Furse (OR-01)
    Rep Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04)
    Rep Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
    Rep William Coyne (PA-14)
    Rep Carlos A. Romero-Barcelo (PR-AL)
    Rep Robert C. Scott (VA-03)
    Rep Bernard Sanders (VT-AL)
    Rep James A. McDermott (WA-07)

  33. Rhett

    Knowledge and experience do not mean one has good judgement to understand the real difference between any two things. Just because one can put words together in grammatically correct ways does not make them wise or correct about what is real or not.
    Reading a Blog can expose the nature of a Blogger’s character. Sometimes it is not what you might expect. It can be disappointing and enlightening. Often, respect for the Blogger and the institution they are associated with can be diminished in a reader’s mind.

  34. Lee Muller

    What point were you trying to make, Rhett?
    I think the FACT that there are over 50 hardcore, international socialists in our Congress speaks for itself.

  35. bill

    Lee,I believe Rhett is referring to Brad’s delusions of grandeur.
    His insightful comments are blessed relief.

  36. Lee Muller

    I apologize. It sounded like Rhett was responding to the list of socialist traitors in the Democratic Party.
    When I connect it back to Brad’s last posts, it is on target.
    Yes, this blog does provide a window in the haughty mentality of Big Media. This is not the first media type with blog who has further exposed his disdain for the public, and what continues to amaze me is how resistant they are to public feedback. Instead of using it as a mirror for self-examination and improvement, they see their blogs as just more page space to shower their arrogant nonsense on the readers, to confront us with even more of their bigotry.

  37. huck

    It sounds like Sanford is closer to being Republican than most of the people leading the Republican party these days.
    As a Republican for over 20 years I’m embarrassed to say I voted for W twice. He’s ruined the reputation of the GOP and ruined our country.
    I did not vote for McCain, and if I hear that the GOP continues on the “war, war, war” platform I’m done with them. The world didn’t “hate us for our freedoms” in 2000, but they sure hate us now (and not because of our freedoms).

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