In the Loop: Republicans' Favorite Mark Sanford Jokes

Former vice president Dick Cheney uses the future tense when speaking of cracking open a certain book about him. But we know better.
Former vice president Dick Cheney uses the future tense when speaking of cracking open a certain book about him. But we know better. (Obtained By The Washington Post - Obtained By The Washington Post)
By Al Kamen
Friday, June 26, 2009

The extraordinary Mark Sanford saga has produced a never-ending stream of excellent fodder for late-night talk show hosts, political quipsters and the like. Democrats, naturally, have been having the most fun, but even some Republican strategists have seen the bizarre ironies surrounding Sanford's political demise.

For example, Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush who later broke with him, couldn't resist when he responded to an inquiry from our colleague Dan Balz regarding Sanford's Buenos Aires jaunt. "Maybe he was trying to establish his expertise in international relations for a national run?" Dowd e-mailed. And then: "I now understand better why he didn't need a stimulus package from D.C. Things seem to be quite stimulating in his world already."

And longtime conservative PR guru Craig Shirley clearly has too much time on his hands now that he's finished his book on the 1980 Reagan presidential campaign, "Rendezvous With Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America." (It comes out Oct. 15.)

So Shirley had time to conjure up and e-mail friends a summary headline of the Sanford debacle:

"Sordid Sex Scandal Surrounding Southern Sexpot Sinks South's [Off-Color Yiddish Term] Sanford; Sons, Spouse Split."

Reading, Big Time

Former vice president Dick Cheney has reportedly picked up a $2 million advance for his memoir -- even though he said it won't be "a screed" and told the Associated Press that he won't be "trying to settle grudges." Cheney agreed that there have been a number of books about him, and he noted that he's read one sympathetic book written with his cooperation.

He said he had a "stack of books" by his bedside and wanted to read "at least some of them."

Cheney was asked whether that reading might include critical books, such as our colleague Bart Gellman's unflattering portrayal of him in the book "Angler."

"I expect I would," he replied.

Looks as if he already has. Judging from this photo of him on Air Force Two last year, Cheney's at least pretty far into the book and even appears to have some pages bookmarked.

Doing Fine in Oklahoma

Keeping up with . . . retired Gen. Tommy Franks, the former Centcom commander who oversaw the successful overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and retired just after the somewhat unfinished invasion of Iraq.

Franks has done some speaking and writing, finished a memoir, and settled down back on his ranch in southwestern Oklahoma, more or less midway between Oklahoma City and Amarillo, Tex., and has opened up the Gen. Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum.

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