Mark Sanford Sinks His Own House Campaign. Can Elizabeth Colbert-Busch Take Advantage?

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I’m sitting at my computer spooning up a regional brand of nonfat yogurt labeled as “Blueberry Swirl.” That’s a highly misleading description of the carton’s contents. In reality, once the lid is removed, one finds a few narrow blue lines of “swirl” in a sea of vanilla yogurt and a Pikes Peak of so-called blueberries tightly mounded at the very bottom of the container. But, no mind; I already got my money back once, shamelessly carting the evidence off to the nearest branch and subsequently calling headquarters. HQ promised to “look into it.”

In truth this piece is not about blueberries, it’s about the raspberries that should be targeting the three-term former Congressional House member and former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford. As I wrote in a recent submission, Sanford, after traveling the world to hook up with his Argentine “soul mate” (or is that mating?) is trying to regain his political bona fides via a run at his old First District Congressional Seat. His opponent is the reasonably accomplished Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, best known as the sister of liberal TV pundit/comic Stephen Colbert.

Initial polls had Colbert-Busch leading the ethically challenged Sanford by an average of 4 points. The latest poll basically reversed that count with Sanford apparently bolting to a 5-point advantage. Both camps are tight-lipped about the exact margin. If all the above are true, Colbert-Busch has blown a promising, albeit slight, lead.

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But just when things were appearing to take a downhill slide for the Democrat, along comes a story that could possibly re-reverse the polls. South Carolina state media is carrying the possible potboiler that reveals that two days after the May 7th Special Election to fill the seat of Senator Tim Scott, who was appointed to take Jim DeMint’s Senate seat, Sanford will be standing in front of a judge. Somebody exposed the fact that Sanford had been taking unauthorized (as in forbidden) sojourns into the home of ex-wife, Jenny, in direct violation of a court order that states that neither party to a 2010 divorce may enter the other’s home without permission. There was no hint as to why he was making these visits.

Jenny Sanford’s lawyer, Deena Smith McRackan, filed a complaint suggesting that Sanford had “entered into a pattern of entering onto plaintiff’s property.” His ex had apparently told Sanford “on a number of occasions” that he was in violation of the court order. I think this remains a civil case. That would probably mean no more than a strict warning and a possible restraining order. If this were a criminal case, you could be looking at breaking and entering and a jail sentence.

When contacted by the Associated Press Jenny Sanford authenticated the documents, but said she thought they were to remain sealed. She had no further comment, nor did the camps of Sanford and Colbert-Bucsh.

What a delicious political morsel for the Colbert-Busch campaign. Further proof that this sleaze-ball has no business having any input into the nation’s business. How easily compromised can a man be? Playing fast and loose morally with plenty of passion for shapely South American reporter Maria Belen Chapur, but no compassion for the downtrodden. Moreover, as governor, he treated taxpayer money as his own private little piggy bank.

Yes, an embarrassment of political riches for the opposition. IF! If the opposition were to mine these riches. But hold on. Enter the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a brittle old bitty if ever one existed. The most recent edition of the New Yorker said it best in their “Talk of the Town” section. Under the heading of “Thatcherism” these characteristics were ascribed to the late Conservative Party leader; doctrinaire free market fundamentalist favoring small government, privatization, meager public services, monetarism, regressive taxation with a hostility to trade unions, indifference to unemployment, austerity as a matter of principle, nationalism, military pride and Victorian social values. With a couple of possible exceptions, her policies sound like the modern-day template for radical Republicanism.

So what did Colbert-Busch say in eulogizing Thatcher? The New Yorker quotes her as praising Thatcher as “a tough consensus builder who cared about everybody.” Whoa! A little history here. With the British people, Thatcher was about as popular as “Shingles.” It was pure manipulation and the party’s popularity that kept her in office before she gave up her post. Never did her poll numbers reflect meaningful support from her constituents. In fact, she was bloody unpopular in most circles. Yeah, she “cared about everybody” in the same way Mitt Romney “cared about everybody.” As long as they were lily-white jillionaire’s, living in 20,000 square foot manses with most of their taxable riches stashed overseas.

As for consensus, her own party was her undoing when she voluntarily withdrew from her post after failing to win a high enough percentage of “consensus” on the first-ballot, forcing a second ballot.

But I’m not finished. Fox personality Greta Van Susteren quoted Colbert-Busch on her blog, Gretawire, as further gushing that Thatcher was a stateswoman and an example for all of us. “I was so saddened to hear today about Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s death. When I talk to younger women about their careers I point to Margaret Thatcher as a role model.” She again repeated that Thatcher “cared about everybody.”

A more effective and accurate eulogy would have sounded something like this; “Margaret Thatcher paved the way for women to pursue public office and meaningful careers. Though our politics may differ, I truly admire her spirit and dedication.” End of story. Respectful but not suggesting that you agree with much of anything she stood for.

So the Colbert-Busch campaign has adopted the frustrating Southern strategy of never saying a negative word about the opposition or the recently deceased. In fact, in the Thatcher case, the Democratic candidate actually burnished the late Prime Minister’s reputation to a high political gloss. Maybe she’s hoping to impress some right-wingers into voting for her.

I’m not saying this “y’all come see us sometime” won’t work. Colbert-Busch’s Southern sensibilities might just carry the day over a politically-wounded Sanford. This is an extraordinarily important race that could be the harbinger of things to come for Democratic efforts to filibuster-proof the Senate and take back the House, not to mention the 2016 Presidential race.

I wish Colbert-Busch all the luck as a “consensus builder who cares about everybody.”

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