Well, Sanford has SC to kick around again

The expected end to the special election in the 1st Congressional District has come:

Mark Sanford has won the South Carolina special election in a competitive race for what in normal circumstances is a safe Republican seat.

The former governor beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert Busch, for the state’s 1st congressional district.

The AP called the race for Sanford, with the Republican leading Colbert Busch 54 percent 46 percent…

Except, of course, it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning, or rather the resumption. One more thing for all of South Carolina to be repeatedly humiliated over.

Way to go, voters of the 1st District. You do realize that all of us will get the blame for this, right?

80 thoughts on “Well, Sanford has SC to kick around again

  1. Silence

    Silence – May 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm
    I’ve said before that the fact that it’s an out of cycle election will hurt Colbert-Busch. I still think that’s true, and I think that Sanford will win by more than people here or at FITS think. I’ll say Sanford gets 55%.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Reacting to this news on a previous thread, Doug Ross wrote: “Did someone actually pay for the PPP polling that showed Colbert-Busch with a 9 point lead? I think they also picked Clemson to beat USC the last four years, right?”

    Actually, it could have been right at the time. It was right after the trespassing thing.

    Which is in and of itself a testimony to the weak reasons that people vote the ways they do. (Or SAY they’re going to vote a certain way.)

    Jenny filing that charge against Mark was NOT a legitimate reason for anyone to vote against him. Nor was his ridiculous cabaret with the life-sized picture of Nancy Pelosi a reason to vote against his opponent (or a reason to do anything but laugh).

    But such things DO move voters. Which makes me really wonder about this whole democracy thing sometimes…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Nor should voters have voted against Sanford because of the Argentina thing. Or the pathologically narcissistic interview a week later in which he droned on about his “soulmate.” (Michael Jackson died to save Mark Sanford from further humiliation, but he just had to grab the spotlight back.) Or messing up the State House carpet with the stupid piglet stunt. Or vetoing the entire state budget in 2006 (hours after it was too late for anyone to vote for his opponent in the GOP primary). Or the constant contempt he has heaped on his fellow elected Republicans over the years. Or being the only governor in the nation who didn’t want his state to get the stimulus money that they’d be on the hook for just as much as taxpayers in the rest of the country.

    Not even for his maddening verbal tics. I would say.

    No, at the end of the day (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em), it should have been cumulative. People should have learned from the totality of his record in public life.

    But they didn’t.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, there are no sour grapes for me. Had Sanford lost, the grapes would have been quite sweet.

        Or maybe you’re forgetting what “sour grapes” means. Did you mean another fable?

          1. Kathy

            Fred Sanford would be a better Congressman than Mark Sanford.

            Well, the Libertarian hater of all government has once again succeeded in obtaining a government job—where he can do nothing and draw a nice check supplied by the taxpayers at which he thumbs his nose. It’s another great day in South Carolina.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      “Nor should voters have voted against Sanford because of the Argentina thing.” -Brad

      That’s the reason I wouldn’t have voted for him. He went AWOL while Governor.

      I don’t care about the affair, but it shows bad judgment. I don’t really care about violating a divorce decree. (I can’t believe I said that.) But, going AWOL while Governor is unacceptable and unforgivable. When you’re the chief executive, you have to be available. He wasn’t. He chose to put his personal life above the job that he asked to have. He went AWOL for a chick. If he was in the military, he would have been court-martialed and dishonorably discharged.

      He should be living somewhere in disgrace.

      On the plus side, eh…can’t really think of any.

  4. die deutsche Flußgabelung

    You got to give to Harrell, Courson, and Co. at the Statehouse. They did a fine job of gerrymandering the district. Kudos. Seeing as Sanford probably can’t win an office above a House seat, the voters of the 1st district better get use to him because there stuck with him for a very, very long time. Typical SC politician rails against government spending, but spends his entire adulthood in a government job.

  5. Bryan Caskey

    I hope that he keeps his head low, works hard on budget issues, becomes a background budget hawk, and comes out in a few years as a big voice for fiscal restraint after winning back some cred.

    Probably won’t happen, though.

    1. Steve Gordy

      I doubt this is the end of Mark’s political ambitions. He’s not quite 53. He’ll get bored in Congress in a few years and will seek to move up the ladder. Sanford for Senate in 2016, anyone?

      1. Silence

        I am fully expecting Sanford to run for POTUS in 2016. “He’s Tanned, Rested and Ready!”

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Or the record 37 ethics violations. Or using public money to visit his mistress after making state employees on state business double up in hotel rooms.

    I meant to put those in the list on this previous comment. It’s so easy to forget things.

    Just ask the voters of the 1st District.

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    WLTX just reported, “Mark Sanford pledges to be the best Congressman that he can be.”

    Unfortunately, that’s a low bar.

  8. Bryan Caskey

    I don’t understand how a horrible guy like Sanford can get elected, but a decent guy like Romney, even though he isn’t perfectly conservative, can’t.

    Oh, yeah, Romney had the entire left wing media beating the snot out of him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

      Also the SC electorate isn’t anywhere close to being representative of the entire national electorate. And news flash, South Carolina has a long history of electing really horrible and nasty people (e.g. Dixiecrat/GOP Strom Thurmond, Ben Tillman, John Calhoun).

    2. Phillip

      Bryan, the problem is in your definition of “horrible” vs. “decent”. Sanford’s skipping the country surreptitiously while Governor was poor judgment, but as Brad says, the whole “Argentina thing” and certainly the fact that he left his marriage to be with another woman are not the reasons to have been opposed to Sanford. The fact is that Romney may be more “decent” than Sanford in the areas of marital fidelity, etc., but his attitude towards his fellow Americans, especially those (to whom he could never relate) who weren’t from his income bracket, fell considerably short of the “decency” threshold. Considering 47% of Americans to be just so much dead-weight, that’s pretty indecent, I don’t care how faithful you are to your wife.

      Bryan, the reason Sanford won and Romney could not is simple: This is South Carolina, where most people think a certain way…and Romney ran for President of the entire nation, where those attitudes do not predominate.

    3. Steven Davis II

      Maybe next time the Democrats can run someone who has actually held public office. They run someone with a famous last name and no experience and hope for the best. Maybe next time they can find someone with the name Jake Kennedy or Hilman Clinton.

      1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

        “Maybe next time the Democrats can run someone who has actually held public office”

        Oh how funny coming from someone who reflexively supports the party that drones on and on about running gov’t like a business, but then elects a man with no private sector experience. I guess being a career politicians counts more than business experience in the SCGOP.

    1. Doug Ross

      They need him more than he needs them. This is when the butt kissing starts…. I expect Sanford has a long mental list of those who stuck with him and those who wrote him off.

  9. Doug Ross

    Democrats need to come up with better candidates.

    Or do you seriously expect us to believe that the majority of voters in SC-1 are just ignorant? Sanford has never lost an election for a reason.

    They had a choice between the devil they knew and a complete unknown with no experience, no breadth of background, no real stand on any issues (except for the tweets she deleted).

    If you want something different, you’re going to have to get on the “term limits” bandwagon. That’s the only way you’ll see change.

      1. Doug Ross

        But you wouldn’t see all the legislators who create the gerrymandered districts… Someday you’ll realize that it’s the Harrells and Leathermans that need to go before real change occurs.

          1. Doug Ross

            If you devoted 1/10 of the time you spend on Haley and Sanford on Harrell and Leatherman, maybe you could make a difference.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            One, no, I couldn’t.

            Two, it’s about the House, not the Speaker. The House elects the speaker, and he has to stay in their good graces just as they have to stay in his.

            In the Senate, it’s more about seniority. So WHO the senior senators are matters more (although not as much as you think). But here’s the thing — I don’t have one-tenth the problem with Hugh Leatherman that I have with Sanford. I can’t think of a litany of offenses committed by him, personally, like the Sanford list it’s so easy to recite

            These are not the days of Edgar Brown. A powerful legislator or two doesn’t run the state, not anymore. No one does. That’s why I want to invest more power in a governor, who could accomplish something, and be held accountable to all of us.

    1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

      It has nothing to do with the quality of the Democrats’ candidate. The district is just gerrymandered in such a way that it is impossible for any real Democrat to win. Yeah they could run a faux-Democrat who mimics every GOP talking point, but what is the point of running such a candidate. I mean Colbert-Busch was getting awfully close to DINO territory.

      And term limits wouldn’t help Dems because with them another GOP candidate (one with far less baggage) would have just won.

    2. Silence

      I think they (or she) thought that her name recognition, money and the national media spotlight would outweigh her lack of political experience and her (deleted) far left twitter history.

  10. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, the Post and Courier disagrees with Doug.

    I didn’t know until tonight that they had endorsed Elizabeth Colbert Busch. This jumped out at me because the P&C, like the people of the 1st District, were still in Sanford’s corner WAY after the rest of us had had enough of him. At least, I remember it that way. I can’t cite dates or anything.

    Interestingly, the endorsement hardly mentioned Sanford. It was all about positive reasons to support Ms. Busch.

    On one level, that’s laudable. Our policy at The State was to make endorsements more about the positive reasons to vote for the person we were picking, rather than the flaws of the opponent — to the extent that could be done honestly, without distorting the perspective.

    But it is a distortion of reality not to confront the many, many problems with Sanford.

    The editorial needed to deal with Sanford, point by point. Elizabeth Colbert Busch could have been the greatest candidate in the history of Congress, and the reasons NOT to vote for Sanford would have been at least as compelling. Certainly worth SOME elaboration. The paper should have confronted that directly.

    Of course, maybe they did, in editorials I missed. Actually, they probably did… So never mind. As much as I hate anyone judging me by a single piece in a vacuum, I shouldn’t do that to the P&C…

  11. Juan Caruso

    Unmentioned by any of the MS press, Brad’s blog, or in comments above is the impact tomorrow’s Benghazi hearing had on energizing many of the 1st District’s voters —- you know, the pro-Citadel crowd, including Democrats. Clyburn apparently saw the threat and called in Justice Department poll watchers to intimidate Sandford voters.

    Oh, and guess what else. Voter ID had precisely the impact Democrats pretented not to anticipate. Hooray for restoration of one-man, one-vote in SC!

    1. Steve Gordy

      Give it a rest. Most of the voters in the 1st District (or any other district in the country) couldn’t locate Benghazi on a map, let alone explain to you the particulars of that fracas.

      1. Juan Caruso

        Likewise, most voters probably cannot locate most of the other hazardous zones to which the U.S. has sent their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews or grandchildren. Nonetheless, such assignments carried expectations of pride in their service and world-class respect for their lives…. until Benghazi.

        People who have not served in the military (or those with only JAG service) should be the first to withhold their uninformed opions.

        1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

          “People who have not served in the military (or those with only JAG service) should be the first to withhold their uninformed opions.”

          Are you saying the uninformed opinion of a soldier should count more than a civilian’s uninformed opinion? Or are you saying that only members (and former members) of the armed services should comment on foreign policy? Because I don’t think the Founding Fathers got the memo when they put the military under civilian control and gave us the 1st amendment. So Juan which are you, a Fascista or a Falangista?

          1. Juan Caruso

            Since your civility is obviously in question, you are no lawyer like the guy who wanted me to “give it a rest”. What happened to civil freedom of speech?

            Considering my insistence that relatives of military people in harms way care about Benghazi and that many of them are neither members nor former members of the armed services, where is any logic in the poorly drawn conclusion that I could be saying “only members (and former members) of the armed services should comment on foreign policy?”

            I shudder to think you still might be involved in education at the classroom level.

  12. bud

    Let’s not overthink this. This election was never about issues, ethics, personalities, looks, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch or for that matter Mark Sanford. This was simply an opportunity for the people of SC to once again pull the Republican lever. It’s almost like a fetish with 55% of the people in this state. Vote for a Republican no matter what. It’s like a religious act with the people of this state. The Democrats are the devil and the benevolent, virtious and loving Jedi Knights of the GOP can protect us against this menace. Never mind there is actually no factual support to suggest Republicans have ever done anything to improve the lot of the average South Carolinian. With a virtual strangle hold on power for decades the state continues to flounder at the bottom with low wages and health indicators but high unemployment, murder rate, suicide rate, domestic violence, incarceration rate and deaths on the highway. Anyway here’s what I wrote on May 6 after the latest PPP pole showed Sanford ahead by one point and everyone was predicting a close race:

    “Probably doesn’t mean much but the latest PPP poll speaks volumes. I suspect Sanford is going to eke this one out. The Republican nature of the district is just too much to overcome. I’m guess about a 54-44-2 breakdown for Sanford, Colbert-Busch and the Green Party guy. The good news is we’ll have Sanford around to entertain us for a few more years”.

    1. Conservative Yoda

      “The Democrats are the devil and the benevolent, virtious (sic) and loving Jedi Knights of the GOP can protect us against this menace.” -bud

      Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to spending. Spending leads to taxes. Taxes lead to suffering.

  13. Doug Ross

    It’s funny how when the “other guy” wins its because the voters are incompetent or mindless lemmings. But when “my guy” wins, it’s because voters understand what needs to be done. Neither party has a monopoly on ignorance.

    A very large percentage of the people who voted for Mark Sanford will likely vote for Lindsey Graham. Are we to believe that those who vote for both are wise in one case and not the other? No.

    There are two words that define the voters of South Carolina. “Alvin Greene”.

    1. bud

      I’m glad that you brought up Alvin Greene. There is a perfectly good example of how primary voters vote for a “name”. Voters obviously knew nothing about him but his name sounded good so they voted for him. He garnered about what any other Democrat would have gotten against DeMint in the general. Frankly Mark Sanford is only slightly less of an embarrasment to the GOP than Greene was to the Democrats. It will be interesting to see what happens tommorow in the trespassing incident. I doubt Sanford will go to jail but he may receive some type of fine. And that would be a fitting end to this story.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And THAT is the tragedy.

          We deserved better than this. We deserved never to see or hear from Mark Sanford again. We’ve suffered enough.

          1. Steven Davis II

            So Brad, are you saying Colbert with no experience is the better choice? I’d be curious to hear why.

          2. Doug Ross

            Please.. let’s not get melodramatic. Neither Mark Sanford nor Elizabeth Colbert-Busch is going to impact your life, your children’s lives, or your grandchildren’s lives.

            We’ve all survived regardless of which party has been in power. You seem to have lived through eight years of Sanford without much harm, right? How much better would your life have been with a different Governor?

            Be a good worker, a good husband, a good father, and a good grandpa and everything will work out.

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            This stuff matters to me, Doug. It’s not a game, not a sport, as so many seem to regard it.

            The point of all the millions of words I’ve written over the years, is to do what little I can to foster discussions that shed a little light, that help us to move forward, that make our shared life a little better.

            It is indeed tragic to see South Carolina yet again pulling itself back into the mire, making itself a joke, choosing this absurd man to represent it, or a portion of it. It’s very, very sad. Our state has so much going against it. We don’t need this, too.

          4. Brad Warthen Post author

            On the upside, there’s an op-ed piece in The State today by Steve Benjamin and Joe Riley.

            Joe! The SC politician I’m proudest to know! The man elected overwhelmingly, time and again, in spite of the partisan predilections of Charleston. And yet, Joe’s city forms an important part of the district that effected this travesty of choosing Mark Sanford.

            Of course, you could probably put together a 75 percent vote for Joe in Charleston and a 54 percent vote for Sanford in the 1st District (that is, 54 percent of the 20 to 30 percent who voted), and not have any overlap. But it would be interesting to make a study of anyone who voted for both of them.

          5. Doug Ross

            So you see an obvious difference in the overall state of South Carolina now compared to when? When was South Carolina better? What did Mark Sanford do to send the state on a downward spiral? And how did he do it in such a way that the majority of the people in the state completely missed it to the point where they re-elected him? and then elected him to Congress after a number of issues in his second term as Governor?

            The problem isn’t Mark Sanford or Nikki Haley. And the solution isn’t Linsdsey Graham or Vincent Sheheen.

          6. Silence

            IIRC, I think Charleston county was the only county in the SC-1 race that went approximately 50/50 for Sanford/Colbert-Busch. It’s no suprise that Riley can win handily there.

          7. Silence

            I think it’s a game – to some great extent. Not 100% but over 50% for sure.

          8. Brad Warthen Post author

            In answer to Steven… Ms. Busch had no objectionable characteristics.

            The purpose of preferring experienced candidates, which I do, is so that we have a chance to observe them in public office. So we can see whether they’re likely to do a good job or a bad job. The virtue of our experience with Sanford is that it showed us beyond a doubt that he does a bad job in public office. Any public office.

            We had nothing to indicate that Ms. Busch would do a GOOD job, but in lack of any evidence that she would do a bad one, she was way preferable to Sanford.

          9. Mark Stewart

            Doug, the point is the state of South Carolina has the potential for a better future. But that means taking steps today to lay that foundation.

            Other cities and states don’t advance overnight; they work at it diligently and from every angle for decades as the successes slowly begin to accrue. It’s lots of little battles. Millions of moments where citizens say at the poling booth, today I am going to try something different…

            South Carolina relishes the pride of being content with doing nothing to evolve. It is the strangest malaise I have ever seen – having lived across our Country. I don’t understand it. Not even Mississippi can be this recalcitrant.

      1. Steven Davis II

        Sad thing is, bud believes everything he writes. He doesn’t remember that Sanford still has allies in Washington from his last time if office. Like I said, maybe next time the Democrats will actually put someone up who actually has some sort of public office experience. It appears that the crazy black guy and the sister of someone famous attempts backfired.

        1. Steve Gordy

          You outlined a theory of how Alvin Greene won the primary. You didn’t offer any proof, only assertions that couldn’t be corroborated.

  14. bud

    Be a good worker, a good husband, a good father, and a good grandpa and everything will work out.

    Can you say Pollyanna?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Still, it’s good advice, and I appreciate it. I don’t know about the “everything will work out part,” but one should be ” a good worker, a good husband, a good father, and a good grandpa” anyway. Those things have their own rewards. The last three anyway.

      You can be a good worker — better than good, a superlative worker who puts in long hours year after year, wasting time you’ll never get back with your family — and have it all yanked out from under you. Believe me.

      1. bud

        I shouldn’t have been so flippant with Doug. Of course being all those good things can only help in life. But where Doug and I strongly disagree is that to Doug being all of those things is both necessary AND sufficient to leading a happy and prosperous life. But to me you can be a total jerk and still be successful and prosperous. Mark Sanford proves that in spades. And there are many examples of really good people who work hard and maintain a high ethical profile who simply get caught up in the many pitfalls of life through no fault of their own end up in a very bad place. But we should all strive to be good fathers, grandfathers and work hard and ethically just the same, regardless of how it ultimately turns out.

      2. Bart

        “You can be a good worker — better than good, a superlative worker who puts in long hours year after year, wasting time you’ll never get back with your family — and have it all yanked out from under you. Believe me.”

        Nuff’ said – speaking from personal experience.

        1. Doug Ross

          Did you quit when it was yanked out from under you? Or did you persevere? Success is a result of the choices you make in good times and bad.

          1. Bart

            Whether you were addressing Brad or me, the answer is obvious – not just no but, Hell No! You never quit. You may change the way you do some things, but quit? When one quits, they turn control of their life over to everyone else whether they realize it or not. One can be defeated but not become a quitter. Major difference.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes. Family is everything for me. As I get older, as my grandchildren come along, I get more and more old school on that. It’s like I’m turning into Vito Corleone. In a good way.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You know how Vito lost track of where he was in plotting the demise of the heads of the other Four Families when he heard his grandson could read the funny papers?

            I’m like that. My grandson does a new trick (he’s at that stage when he’s suddenly able to crawl anywhere and starting to climb up on things), and for the life of me, I can’t remember who it was I was supposed to whack that day…

  15. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of Joe… Doug doubts that political leadership matters. Well, if Joe had been elected governor in 1994, or if he hadn’t decided not to run in 1998, I firmly believe South Carolina would be better off. Or at least, we’d have been better off at the end of his time in office. I suppose, given the trends of recent years, we could have managed to throw away the gains in the years since.

    That was the bitterest, saddest election result I’ve seen in my years in South Carolina. Joe, who had barely campaigned (too busy running Charleston), was up against Nick Theodore, who as lieutenant governor had done nothing but campaign for eight years, in the runoff for the Democratic nomination. Nick beat him by a number that was less than one vote per precinct. One more person turning up in each polling place in the state and voting for Joe would have put him over the top.

    David Beasley beat Theodore in the fall. Beasley could not have beaten Joe.

  16. Steven Davis II

    What’s interesting is that Colbert didn’t have a problem bringing up Sanford’s marital problems that he made public, but when Sanford brought up her marital problems that she tried to keep private she went off the deep end.

  17. Brad Warthen Post author

    I think this is a case in which the direct-reply feature I have on the blog now made the conversation a bit hard to follow…

    Maybe it’s just me, though. I’m still pretty sick. Can’t stop coughing today…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Thanks, Burl! I just put it in a separate post, with the original interview…

      A feel-good story like that (or at least, a story with a feel-good ending), should indeed be immortalized in song.

  18. Juan Caruso

    “We deserved better than this. We deserved never to see or hear from Mark Sanford again. We’ve suffered enough.” – Brad W.

    I feel the same way as regards most election outcomes. Yet, as long as elections are fair and candidates honest, we do deserve what we get. Can anyone guess then, what has been happening? HINT: Not a partisan thing… lobbyist bundler driven.

  19. Ralph Hightower

    More fodder for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno or whoever’s replacing him, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy Fallon! Yea, that’s the guy replacing Jay. Conan.

    Let’s not forget The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/)

Comments are closed.