Sanford & stuff | Bleader

Sanford & stuff

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I wasn't going to write about this, but Steve Chapman's take kind of set me off:

"I realize that politicians are prone to selfishness and narcissism and may often face sexual temptation. But those who can't practice restraint really shouldn't be married."

Oh, tut tut. No one expects to fail. Deep cads and sex addicts aside, that's a profoundly silly standard, sort of like saying "those who can't expect to not crash shouldn't drive a car" or "those who can't expect to not make transparently silly arguments shouldn't write editorials."

Also, such arguments have a tendency to come back and bite you in the ass at the worst possible time, as is currently happening to Mark Sanford.

Some notes.

* As always, when a politician is caught with his pants down and the recrimination starts flying, I turn to Harry Hutton to clean my brain:

"While Prescott was harmlessly fucking his secretary, the rest of the cabinet were probably hatching schemes to make us all line up and be fingerprinted. Put it this way: would you rather he was shafting his secretary, or the nation? We got off lightly.

"I would go further: I would say that screwing his secretary is his main achievement since taking office, and one of the things that sets him apart from monomaniacs and cyborgs like Blair, Brown and Straw. Blair would no more fuck his secretary than he would read a novel. Why? Because he’s a lunatic and a freak, with no more sense of proportion than a Saudi cleric. Brute that he is, Prescott is one of the few members of the establishment who is still recognisably earthling."

[Tony] Blair would no more fuck his secretary than he would read a novel is like Dorothy Parker-level science.

* Another brain-cleanser: Chris Rock. I'm not quite cynical enough to belive that "men are only as faithful as their options" (Bring the Pain, IIRC), but: Mark Sanford is rich, successful, tall, powerful, allegedly handsome, at least somewhat charismatic, famous, and at least kind of romantic.

I am none of those things. And while having those qualities is not a guarantor of infidelity, it does require a much greater act of will to be faithful (and a whole lot of other things, including not corrupt and many other typical failings of powerful rich dudes) than it does for weird shut-ins like me. 

Yes: cheating is bad, don't do it. But I try to keep his circumstances in mind before getting on my high horse.

* Reactions to this sort of thing are inevitably personal, so the thing that bugs me is that Sanford couldn't handle his shit. Any human being will have some shit to handle, and while I try to be understanding when people can't do it, there is sort of a minimum baseline for doing it, and Sanford went way below that. I can't go AWOL for a week without expecting to be fired, as, I'm sure, neither can you.

A promise to my colleages: if I ever have to go to Argentina to settle things with my mistress, I will schedule PTO and get someone to cover for me.

* This post, arguing that Sanford's wife's statement to the press was a hall-of-fame passive-aggressive kiss-off, is totally fascinating: "Hauling out Psalm 127 is hitting Mark Sanford across the head with a two by four in evangelical circles."

* Jenny Sanford, by the way, is pretty interesting. Winnetka native, Skil tools heiress, as or more accomplished than her husband, and clearly better in crisis mode (which makes sense, given that she was his campaign manager). She could certainly make a run for office. The only thing that scares me about her is that, as a VP at Lazard Freres, her expertise was media mergers and acquisitions. Not saying she did anything terrible, just that I have a knee-jerk reaction for obvious reasons.

* I'm actually totally down for not making fun of Sanford's e-mails to his mistress.

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