Mark Sanford (R-SC), who compared himself to King David while explaining his affair to the public in 2009, is now selling his adultery as a plus in his run for Jim DeMint’s old congressional seat in South Carolina.
You should not only forgive Mark Sanford for his Appalachian Trail “mistake”, but you should vote for him because of it. See, Sanford explains in a new ad, he now understands grace and second chances.
Here is Sanford’s ad:
Sanford addressed the camera directly and said, “Washington’s math doesn’t add up, and so for years while many have talked, I’ve fought to do something about it. I’ve cut spending reduced debt, and made government more accountable. More recently, I’ve experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes. But in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it. In that light, I humbly step forward and ask for your help in changing Washington.”
Speaking of grace and second chances, when South Carolina was suffering under one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates (9.5%), Sanford told the unemployed he would “pray” for them, while he explained that he would be turning down a portion of the stimulus money and cutting programs for the poor.
Watch here via C-Span (Feb 23, 2009):
CALLER: I hope you all are not playing politics with this. People in South Carolina are hurting. You know how unemployment rates are high right now and going up higher. We are running out of money in the um, unemployment bank — we need money for that, the people that need help. And I’m one of them, I can’t get no help.
SANFORD: Well I’d say hello to Charleston because its home and I’d say hello to this fellow this morning and say that my prayers are going to be with him and his family because it sounds like he is in an awfully tough spot. But I would say that I still have to look at the practical reality of what’s being talked about here.
Sanford was a hero to conservatives for his willingness to cut, cut, cut. Even before the recession, things got so bad under Sanford that Time magazine named him one of the three worst governors in the nation in 2005 because Standard & Poor lowered South Carolina’s bond rating under Sanford and at the time the state had a 6.3% unemployment rate. Time reported his critics (many of them Republicans) “fear his thrift has brought the state’s economy to a standstill.”
This is the man who, after having his numerous vetoes overridden (all but one, in fact) in 2004 – including his veto of a program that extended health insurance to 100,000 poor children, rejected the South Carolina Assembly’s entire budget in 2006. The government would have shut down weeks later without the quick action of the legislators (just what we need in the House).
Mistakes. A lot of them. A mistake is an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc. In June of 2009, Sanford swore that he hadn’t spent any taxpayer money hiking that Appalachian Trail, “To be very clear: no public money was ever used in connection with this.”
Then, after being busted post Freedom of Information Act requests, Sanford said once again that he had made a “mistake”. He said,”I made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful to my wife with. That has raised some very legitimate concerns and questions, and as such I am going to reimburse the state for the full cost of the Argentina leg of this trip.”
See, that’s not a mistake. It’s not poor reasoning, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge that leads one to willfully mislead the public about a personal abuse of taxpayer money.
Turns out, Sanford was also possibly violating state law by using the airplane to fly his family around to his kids’ games and get haircuts for himself. Sanford’s history of ethical “mistakes” isn’t confidence inspiring.
Sanford’s approach, lauded by conservatives, did not stimulate the economy as promised by fiscal hawks, yet Sanford’s approach exemplified the “self-reliance” conservatives talk about so much. Or, I should say, self-reliance/austerity for thee, while he helps himself to the taxpayers’ money and resources.
While prayer may not be an effective public policy for the hungry, it sure makes great TV for those who know how to use it like Mark Sanford. Wrap your willful choices to misuse the taxapayers’ money in God’s grace, play the remorseful sinner and all will be forgiven because everyone deserves a “second chance”.
Irony: Sanford offered nothing but prayers when his desperate constituents begged him for help, and now he is begging them for a job and thinks he deserves a second chance.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.