Amazingly enough, The Washington Post Opinions page has blessed us with another entry in PostScript Offensiveness Week! There’s been something for everyone: racism, sexism, drugs, illicit sex, political hypocrisy and whatnot. Particularly the whatnot. Today’s special is political hypocrisy with some illicit sex mixed in, which means we’re getting all judgy in the comments on Eugene Robinson’s column. Robinson wonders if we’re being fooled — if Mark Sanford in South Carolina and Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia are serious electoral candidates or some kind of joke.
Sanford is running for a House seat four years after making “hiking the Appalachian trail” a famous sexual euphemism to explain his week-long absence from governing South Carolina. He’s now engaged to the woman who bewitched him from his duties then, so presumably can be more engaged in the job this time around.
Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Attorney General who’s running for Governor, has resurrected a presumed-dead sodomy law in order to uphold a conviction, under the argument that oral and anal romance with a minor (who is nevertheless above the age of consent in Virginia) should be a felony even if vaginal romance isn’t. PostScript just started looking hard at the case today, and has discovered that the gentleman in question filed a report of sexual assault against the teenager in question, and also that receiving willingly-given romance above the age of consent could be a felony with a four-year jail sentence. No, PostScript can’t be more clear about this. She can point you to the trial record, though.
But the commenters are more interested in the redemption of Governor Sanford. If a redemption is even needed.
patriot17 argues that it’s impossible to get the “bad” people out of politics:
I don’t like Sanford’s politics, but his conduct in his former marriage is really not any way to judge him as an elected official. Many politicians turn out to be unfaithful to their spouses. We don’t need priests, we need leaders. We may assume that they all have human failings.
You may argue that this issue shows that he is dishonest. I don’t know anyone who is old enough to talk who hasn’t been dishonest. I also think that politicians as a group are probably among the more dishonest people in our society. For this we have 3 branches of government, so that they can all keep each other on a short leash.
TruthSeekerX1 agrees, and posts a comment that strangely resonates in the Cuccinelli drama:
Thanks, patriot17, for pointing this out. What someone does in their bedroom, as long as there is consent, is their own business. So he cheated on his wife, this doesn’t make him unable to fulfill his duties in office. Criticizing him for his own decisions about his sex life is wrong.
But several commenters think personal conduct bleeds over too much into public conduct in the Sanford case:
Say [what patriot and TruthSeeker said] to Sanford; he voted to impeach Clinton.
Actually, when you state your policies are built on “morals” and call yourself a “defender of marriage”, then your sex life is fair game. If a politician doesn’t want his sex life open for discussion, then don’t put on the holier-than-thou attitude to get the evangelical vote.
… forget about the fact that he went MIA for a week as a state governor without even an emergency number. Oh yeah, he spent state funds so he could spend time with his mistress!
And some commenters sigh and say, well, what can you expect from our system?
The election will be a joke as well…Stephen Colbert’s sister vs. Sanford? Is that the best the Dems can offer?
Granted that some of these are lousy candidates- but look at how they got to their current position. Sanford has name recognition- and not everyone follows politics all that closely. So, name recognition is a huge advantage Why else all the advertising, the polls investigation it, etc.? And in the primary, he ran against a slew of candidates- none of them well known. What did you expect?
The nominees discussed here are better examples of the power of money and name recognition than of anything else- and that is problem for both parties and the nation as a whole.
I suspect this is not a question of “is this the best they can do” for the GOP but rather, “can these candidates get elected?” I am beginning to suspect that the goal will never be the Presidency for a large portion of the GOP but rather getting elected and doing nothing constructive.
This is a good point. It’s up to the voters to tell us if these candidates are a hilarious joke or not. Then again, they might be fooling us, too.