New York has SC’s 1st District to blame for Spitzer return

Sanford, having his Spitzer moment. Now Spitzer wants to have a Sanford moment.

Sanford, having his Spitzer moment. Now Spitzer wants to have a Sanford moment.

“The Fix” over at The Washington Post mentioned it in the lede of their Spitzer story:

It’s officially the year of the political comeback, with Mark Sanford winning a congressional seat and Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer attempting their own second acts in New York City…

The New York Times was discreet enough to save it until the 3rd graf:

…His re-emergence comes in an era when politicians — like Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina and the New York mayoral contender Anthony D. Weiner — have shown that public disapproval, especially over sexual misconduct, can be fleeting, and that voters seem receptive to those who seek forgiveness and redemption….

“It,” of course, is the embarrassing decision by the voters of South Carolina’s 1st District to send Mark Sanford to Congress again.

It’s apparently just given all sorts of bad actors bad ideas.

It shouldn’t. Just because voters in one state elected one guy who couldn’t keep his pants zipped (or even stay in this country when he was supposed to be on duty as governor of SC) doesn’t mean a whole other set of voters will vote for a whole other guy who also spectacularly engaged in misdeeds of a sexual nature. Particularly when the two men are so different politically, and their respective electorates are so different. It’s not like they’re all running on the “adultery” ticket, and that’s the political flavor of the month or something.

But national media too often act as though there is a real connection, and I fear that the backers and political consultants and hangers-on who talk these guys into making these comeback attempts do take such absurd, superficial, incidental correlations into consideration.

These things have been inextricably joined by national media since the start. The day that Mark Sanford did his super-painful (to watch, anyway) confessional presser, I was walking over to the State House for it, not exactly knowing what to expect, when an editor from The New York Post (in whose behalf I was on the way to cover the thing), called me on my old Blackberry to ask what I knew. Not much, I had to tell him. He asked, “Is he going to have a Spitzer moment?” I said again I didn’t know, although yeah, it was possible. I had been hearing things the last couple of days, but what I had heard was so sketchy and dubious that I didn’t want to embarrass myself promising such wild stuff when I had insufficient reason to believe any of it. (The only thing I had to go on was the governor’s bizarre disappearance, and his showing up that morning on a flight from Argentina.)

Then, when Sanford finally came out and started talking, I kept thinking, Wow, it was all actually true.

So now, they’re all like, Spitzer’s gonna try to do a Sanford.

Thanks, 1st District. Thanks so much.

19 thoughts on “New York has SC’s 1st District to blame for Spitzer return

  1. Silence

    I’d like to think that there’s a difference between being a politician who cheats on your spouse after finding your soul mate, and being the attorney general while breaking the multiple laws by hiring a prostitute, taking her across state lines, etc. Maybe there’s not a difference, but to me there is.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Except Mark Sanford did also break multiple laws and expend public monies to conduct his affair.

      As a tax-payer citizen, that fact is the same whether one consorts with prostitutes or with one’s “soul mate.”

      On that count, Anthony Weiner looks like the head of this class.

      1. Silence

        Did Sanford use public monies? Also what laws did he break?
        Spitzer violated the Mann Act, or conspired to, although he was never charged.

  2. Juan Caruso

    “— like Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina and the New York mayoral contender Anthony D. Weiner —” NYT

    Such comparison remains weak and hypothetical until either lawyer, Weiner and Spitzer, manages to win a hotly contested election like non-lawyer Sanford actually did.

    A more fitting, empirical comparison might have been: Have conservatives candidates (e.g. Sanford) learned from successful liberals (Teddy Kennedy, Bill Clinton, etc)?

  3. Bryan Caskey

    I heard an interview of Spitzer while I was driving around today. When asked about what he did after the scandal to have earned the public’s trust (the question that Sanford would use to talk about prayer, faith, and redemption) Sptizer talked about “reflection” and “quietly doing good work”. Religion, God, and faith were all notably absent.

    He certainly wasn’t going with the Sanford play of “God has forgiven me, so you should, too”. I guess it’s the same song but a different verse.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, and you know me — I’m a traditionalist.

      I’d rather have our kind of scoundrel than their kind.

      I may not like Sanford using God to guilt US into forgiving him, but at least he doesn’t shut the Almighty out altogether…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        There’s a theological error in there somewhere — I should be more indignant at politicians taking the Lord’s name in vain, that being one of the Top Ten Thou Shalt Nots. And I AM indignant at it.

        But Sanford wanting to be seen as in God’s good graces, and people who vote for him wanting to believe him, somehow makes me more sympathetic to them than if he were engaging in sterile New Age or Pop Psych blather…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          For instance — and y’all might not see how this is related, but it is in my mind — a lot of people didn’t like the ending of “Lost.” They felt cheated; they felt it was a cop-out, with all that heaven and purgatory stuff.

          Me, I liked it. It made me feel better about the makers of the series — who had been jerking me around through all those scores of episodes I watched back-to-back — and about the human race in general.

          That’s because it spoke to universal yearnings that ennoble the human heart. And it admitted that, no matter how hard they tried (and they had really, really tried), they couldn’t come up with a better way of explaining it all. Even in this supposedly post-faith era.

          If I were an atheist, like some folks I’m close to, I would have felt cheated. But as it was, I didn’t.

        2. Mark Stewart

          Gag. Neither way always remains an appropriate option for pols – and everyone else’s urge to make a public proclamation.

  4. Silence

    Proposal for a new law. If you resign from public office and a special election is required to fill your vacated seat, you should be required to pay the public costs of the election. I’m looking at you Jim DeMint and Tim Scott…don’t think I forgot ya’ll!

    1. Juan Caruso

      Considering the amount of unspent campaign funds in the average politician’s coffer these days, your proposal is compelling whenever resignation is for other than physical/mental incapacity (e.g. Gabby” Giffords).

      1. Silence

        Yes, Mrs. Giffords incapacity would be a compelling reason to exempt her from the fine. However, I propose that if a sitting politician dies in office, his/her estate should have to pay the expenses, with an exception for murder. That way we could cut back on the number of dinosaurs in office.

        1. Silence

          Well, we could always pass the hat and take up a collection to cover those folks expenses…Anyways, when has a politician EVER done what we want him/her to do? Usually they just do whatever they like.

          “And it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well
          You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself” – Rick Nelson (or any current politician)

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