Last week this blog fortuitously was delayed a few hours. As a result of that delay, we were able to report on South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s “excellent adventure” to Argentina, and all that this entailed (if you’ll pardon the pun).
The point of the article was that those conservative evangelistic folks who like to try to convince the rest of us that they have a lock on morality should keep their holier-than-thou ruminations to themselves. Sanford, and folks like him such as Sarah Palin, are members of that group. So when they get caught not practicing what they preach to the rest of us, the press jumps all over it.
Other well-known celebrities who have suffered similar weaknesses under similar circumstances of preaching to others include 1980′s TV evangelists Jim Bakker and Jummy Swaggert, among others. You can read the sordid details about them HERE. And, of course, among the most famous of cheaters is ex-president Bill Clinton, although Clinton hardly qualifies as a holier-than-thou preacher.
Of course, there are probably hundreds of millions of folks on earth (if not billions) who have engaged in behaviors that their spouses would probably would not approve of. It is, whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, a pretty prevalent characteristic of the human experience. As civilized people, we try to contain such behaviors in the interest of fairness to our families. But as imperfect beings, people sometimes fail to achieve desired goals, despite the best efforts.
Welcome to the human race, where certain folks have been fighting against reality since people started to get organized.
Many residents of South Carolina consider themselves conservative christian voters. With that in mind, consider that the GOP has been calling for Mark Sanford’s resignation with mounting urgency and insistence. They’re not insisting that Sanford resign because he left his state leaderless for almost a week, since the Lt. Governor did not know where Sanford was and there had been no transition of power to the Lt. governor. At least if that was the reason for the demand for resignation, it could be understandable, if a little excessive.
Nope. The reason for the demand that Sanford resign that is coming from the GOP has EVERYTHING to do with politics. Sanford only has a year and a half left in his term and cannot run for rel-election due to South Carolina term limit law. The GOP wants to demonstrate their commitment to family values and religious righteousness, particularly in the bible belt. Sanford is a GOP target of opportunity, as it were, that allows the party demonstrate to its extremely conservative base that it still cares about them. That’s nice, although it does nothing to fix the real damage done by the Bush administration to the GOP image. It also doesn’t do a thing to address the reality of the GOP’s misguided effort to restore credibility to the GOP.
Although the GOP has always been the first and the loudest to demand resignations over questions of marital indiscretions, particularly in Bill Clinton’s case, the reality is that many, many GOP’s have gotten caught falling off the “morality” wagon in recent years. And whatever indiscretions are committed by a politician, the place they must be addressed is with his or her spouse. When Bill “did” Monica, it was an issue that Hillary Clinton, first and foremost, had to deal with. She did so in her own way, and in private.
And except for the efforts demanded by the failed GOP impeachment proceedings, Bill Clinton left office with an approval rating around 60%. Compare that with the approval rating George W. Bush left with, around 28%. Since we have never heard of W cheating on Laura, that should tell the GOP something. That something is that the American people largely don’t care about a politician’s private life if that politician is doing the job he or she was elected to do. In other word, most thinking people really don’t care about a politician’s private life. They only care about their own.
That’s truly as it should be. Although some ultra-extreme GOPers (but certainly not all) believe that an elected official should be passing and/or signing religious laws, most of us believe that the elected official should be judged on on-the-job performance and accomplishments, and not legal off-the-job behaviors.
We, the PEOPLE finds it both curious and amusing that this liberal blog is defending a conservative republican politician. But then, we also question Ann Coulter’s ultra-extreme right wing credentials. After all, until a year ago she was engaged to a liberal lawyer from New York City, and she loves the “Grateful Dead”. But then, the GOP’s credibility just isn’t what it used to be.
So if defending a conservative republican governor is the right thing to do. it will be done. After all, someone has to do the right thing!