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Sanford & The Culture
National Review ^ | 05/08/2013 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 05/08/2013 10:00:26 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Let me say upfront: I would rather we lived in a society where adultery had a higher social cost. That’s not to say people shouldn’t be forgiving or that there should be no such thing as second chances. But ideally, I’d like it if things were less loosey-goosey. Cheat on your wife, and maybe you don’t get to run for public office anymore. Send junk-tweets to random young women who aren’t your wife? Well there goes your dream of becoming mayor. Exploit an intern whose name you can barely remember while you’re the President of the United States, maybe your moral ranking should be downgraded to junk and you should quietly skulk off the public stage. Or, if that’s too much to ask, maybe the interval between scandal and rehabilitation could last a little longer than the maturation time of a fruit fly. No politician is so indispensable that we just can’t do without him (or her), never mind for a little while.

But, here’s a newsflash: We don’t live in that country anymore. And any hope that we might be able to was not on the ballot in South Carolina yesterday. What was on the ballot was a choice between a woman who tried to dodge the fact she was a liberal running to advance the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party and a conservative whose marriage fell apart because he fell in love with somebody else. I’m not condoning Sanford’s behavior — at all — but in the parade of horribles we’ve seen from politicians over the last 20 years, Sanford’s behavior is almost quaint. He fell in love with an age-appropriate woman. His formidable wife didn’t run to the stage to gaze admiringly and forgivingly at her disgraced husband to lessen the political damage. She kicked him to the curb and moved on with her life. Every marriage is different and we can’t peer inside any but our own, but I admired Jenny Sanford’s response.

Of course, one could argue that Huma, Hillary, and Silda were more “pro-marriage” in that they stayed by their husbands. And that just gets us back to how the culture has changed. It’s a fascinating thing. Speaking very broadly as there are exceptions all over the place. It seems like liberal political couples work harder to save their marriage after a sex scandal. Again, that’s just an impression. I haven’t tabulated all the cases. But it certainly seems like conservative voters like it more when wives refuse to tolerate their cheating husbands. Does that make conservatives less pro-marriage? Or does it mean that liberal political couples care about politics above all else? Or do they place less stock in the value of fidelity (it’s just sex, who cares?). It seems to me there are a lot of ways dissect that. For now, suffice it to say the times have changed.

And it’s worth noting that what has changed the most isn’t the supply of moral politicians, but the demand for them. Ambitious, selfish, amoral men have always been attracted to politics. At least in terms of his sex life, John F. Kennedy was a disgusting man who, among other things, pimped out an intern. Other presidents, Republican and Democrat, cheated on their wives, too. Such behavior is not new. But that was all kept from the public eye — by the press, by the establishment, etc – in part because it was understood that if the public found out, the politician’s career would be over. Times have changed and the public doesn’t demand — or demand sufficiently — either the myth or the reality of morality anymore.

I think it’s fair to say that conservatives still care more than liberals about maintaining the old standards. And that creates a real dilemma. In an era of moral lassitude, how much do you insist on moral propriety in politics? Since sin and temptation are bipartisan phenomena, should conservatives be at a constant disadvantage? I don’t think there are easy answers there, or at least I can’t think of what they might be. Asking Republicans to vote for Colbert-Busch in order to punish Mark Sanford strikes me as a hard sell. Why support the party you disagree with politically just to punish a man you agree with politically? Colbert-Busch — whose political hero, of course, was John F. Kennedy – wouldn’t even answer directly whether she would vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker. On matters of political integrity, it seems to me, Sanford was hardly the clear worse choice.

But one thing I really resent is the tendency of liberals to demand that conservatives stick to standards that liberals reject entirely. If you have no brief against the Clintons, the Weiners, the Spitzers, or the Kennedys please don’t pretend you’re offended by the Sanfords. Indeed, when Democratic politicians get caught in scandals, the response from liberals is invariably, Why can’t you conservatives lighten up? Who are you to judge? Etc. It is only when conservatives are caught in such messes, that liberals walk over to the conservative side, pick up our standards, and beat us up with them. Any talk of lightening-up or forgiveness is immediately denounced.

It’s absolutely true that conservatives need to wrestle with the question of what we should expect from our politicians. But I’m not sure liberals have anything worth listening to on the subject.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: marksanford; southcarolina

1 posted on 05/08/2013 10:00:26 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

While I agree with Goldberg, the right people lost this election.


2 posted on 05/08/2013 10:03:07 AM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: SeekAndFind

Best I’ve heard on the subject


3 posted on 05/08/2013 10:04:00 AM PDT by hulagirl (Mother Theresa was right)
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To: SeekAndFind

We are quickly becoming France, where the public is fully comfortable with their politicians boinking anyone or anything, just so long as the garbage gets picked-up and the welfare checks continue to cash.


4 posted on 05/08/2013 10:04:51 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Last Dakotan

Agreed. In a perfect world, we could vote against Sanford. But in the world we live in, the Dems use every trick to win and we can’t afford to stand on principle all the time. We are at war and Sanford will vote the right way. In 2 years, we can replace him in the primary.


5 posted on 05/08/2013 10:06:05 AM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: SeekAndFind
I'll hold him to the same scrutiny that I held Romney to. Is he pro-life, pro-gun, anti socialized medicine, and for reducing the federal government?

If so, he would have my vote.

If not, forget it.

/johnny

6 posted on 05/08/2013 10:12:30 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: FReepers
Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. - George Washington


Click The Pic To Donate


7 posted on 05/08/2013 10:15:27 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (My faith and politics cannot be separated)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

We are quickly becoming France, where the public is fully comfortable with their politicians boinking anyone or anything, just so long as the garbage gets picked-up and the welfare checks continue to cash.

I can assure you that if Colbert-Busch had been elected, the garbage would get picked-up and the welfare checks would continue to be cashed, in fact more welfare would be pushed through given a chance, by this Dem who would vote with Pelosi at every chance. It is an imperfect world, and Sanford was by far the better choice, and remains so.


8 posted on 05/08/2013 10:16:42 AM PDT by flaglady47 (When the gov't fears the people, liberty; When the people fear the gov't, tyranny.)
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To: SeekAndFind
It is only when conservatives are caught in such messes, that liberals walk over to the conservative side, pick up our standards, and beat us up with them. Any talk of lightening-up or forgiveness is immediately denounced.

It's all from Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals:

RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
This is why the Left insists that we MUST expel any conservative who is caught in a sexual infidelity, while approving of the swinger lifestyle of their own pols.
9 posted on 05/08/2013 10:16:52 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
In a perfect world, we could vote against Sanford.

In a better world, he would have retired from public life to live in comfortable obscurity with his soul mate. Maybe he will vote the right way ... but narcissists are unpredictable. If sweetie wants him to "evolve," who knows what could happen?

10 posted on 05/08/2013 10:17:15 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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To: JRandomFreeper

RE: Is he pro-life, pro-gun, anti socialized medicine, and for reducing the federal government?

_____________________________________________

MARK SANFORD ON THE ISSUES:

CLICK HERE:

http://www.ontheissues.org/Mark_Sanford.htm

As former Congressman:

Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)

Voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)

Voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)

ON HEALTHCARE:

Transfer more Medicaid recipients into managed care programs. (Nov 2002)

Voted NO on subsidizing private insurance for Medicare Rx drug coverage. (Jun 2000)

Voted NO on banning physician-assisted suicide. (Oct 1999)

Voted YES on establishing tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts. (Oct 1999)

Loosen “one-size-fits-all” approach to Medicaid. (Jan 2011)

ON GOVERNMENT:

End unlimited and undisclosed campaign donations. (Jan 2010)
Change rules of governorship and state officers. (Jan 2010)

Bring horse-and-buggy government into the 21st century. (Nov 2006)

Limit campaign contributions but not campaign spending. (Nov 2002)

Term-limited Congressmen do behave differently. (Nov 2000)

Cut his own staff and returned funds for staff pay annually. (Nov 2000)

Supported 6- year congressional term-limits. (Nov 2000)

Pledged never to take any PAC money. (Nov 2000)

1995 government shutdown was a good thing, not a crisis. (Nov 2000)

Require that congressional pay raises have open votes. (Nov 2000)

Voted YES on banning soft money and issue ads. (Sep 1999)

Limit punitive damages; term limits on Congress. (Sep 1994)

Government is too big, too intrusive, too easy with money. (Sep 1994)


11 posted on 05/08/2013 10:18:30 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: flaglady47

RE: Colbert-Busch

As an aside to the main topic... how do we pronounce: COLBERT?

Elizabeth’s brother, Stephen uses the exotic pronunciation : COLBERE

Elizabeth pronounces it as we all tend to do — COL-BERT.


12 posted on 05/08/2013 10:22:20 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Not interested in any advice from Jonah Goldberg or anyone else on Sanford vs the lefty feminist. The voters chose the right candidate for them and the rest of the naysayers can STHU!


13 posted on 05/08/2013 10:27:15 AM PDT by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: SeekAndFind

I will never vote FOR a Republican again. I will only cast my vote AGAINST any Democrat. Since voting to defeat Democrats means pulling the lever for a Republican I will always do that. If the Republicans put Charles Manson up against George Washington running as a Democrat for me it is a no brainer - “Hello Charlie.” PERIOD.


14 posted on 05/08/2013 10:30:18 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: iopscusa

Fred Sanford or Mark...
Whover will stop spending us into endless debt.


15 posted on 05/08/2013 10:35:52 AM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad & lived with his parents most his life.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The vows of marriage just aren’t important anymore. They’ve been squandered. It’s one of the reasons gays will soon be free to marry.


16 posted on 05/08/2013 10:37:27 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: SeekAndFind

Our Lord, whom we Orthodox hymn during this Paschal season as “the only Sinless One”, had a perfect right to call hypocrites on the proverbial carpet.

False prophets who call evil “good”, such as seem to be endemic in the Democrat Party, have no such right.

(It is a sign of how effective the Law had been as a custodian that by the time Our Lord’s earthly ministry began, the chief failing among the Jews seems to have been hypocrisy — at least virtue was so well established among them that vice regularly paid it tribute, as La Rouchfoucauld’s definition of hypocrisy puts it.)


17 posted on 05/08/2013 10:55:41 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
In 2 years, we can replace him in the primary.

I'm perfectly ok with that result.

18 posted on 05/08/2013 10:57:20 AM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: PapaBear3625

Thank you for posting that Alinsky rule.

Its all about a double standard. WE are expected to live up to normal moral values. Liberals are not. They get a pass. They can live as deviant a lifestyle as they want. And when caught?

Who cares.

But for conservatives - we are held to that higher standard. And when we fall and miss the mark? The left laughs with glee as they gloat over our “hypocracy”.


19 posted on 05/08/2013 11:03:12 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Last Dakotan
yep. I don't like Sanford either, but he was the only choice.

Sometimes you can't hire the perfect person for a job, but you can find one who will perform ably. And that's good enough.

2014 isn't that far away.

20 posted on 05/08/2013 11:05:27 AM PDT by wbill
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To: SeekAndFind
As a South Carolina voter , I voted for Sanford for Governor. I loved his fiscal conservative policies. He walked into the state house with a piggy under each arm to show folks the pork going thru that house! I loved that!! Boy did he piss off those entrenched politicians. He is loved by conservatives for stunts like that. Then there is his personal life..not my pay grade to forgive this guy. Hell yes I am disappointed. But he is a man...not a perfect human. I can forgive him but I expect better after you make that big of a mistake. I have learned from my own life that it takes two to make a marriage and if one of the two is unhappy it ain't pretty.
21 posted on 05/08/2013 11:15:22 AM PDT by 4everontheRight (And the story began with..."Once there was a great nation......")
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To: SeekAndFind

Colbert pretends his name is French—there was a famous Colbert in French history (during the reign of Louis XIV)—but he is of Irish descent, so COL-bert is the correct pronunciation. He’s no more French than Bill O’Reilly (who at least does not pronounce his name Bax-TER).


22 posted on 05/08/2013 1:33:09 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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