Video: Sanford says past won’t hamper him in Congress

posted at 4:01 pm on May 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

CBS headlined this interview “Sanford: Moving on from GOP naysayers,” but Mark Sanford actually doesn’t have a lot to say about fellow Republicans in his post-victory interview. Instead, Sanford says his election demonstrates the South Carolina tradition of forgiveness and redemption, and that he expects few problems from colleagues now that he has won the seat:

Sanford told NBC that he’ll have “plenty of friends in Washington”:

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Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford may have been ridiculed by Democrats and largely abandoned by his own Republican party, but he insisted Wednesday that he’ll find people to work with when he heads back to Capitol Hill.

“I’ll have plenty of friends in Washington, D.C.,” the newly elected congressman told TODAY’s Matt Lauer.

“I look forward to working, whether its Republicans, Democrats, Independents — you name it, a whole host of different folks in terms of trying to accomplish things that better people’s lives here in the first congressional district and frankly turn the tide with regard to spending up in Washington, D.C.”

But should he? Jonah Goldberg wrote at length about this today, noting that demand for moral leadership in politics doesn’t appear to match up well with supply:

And it’s worth noting that what has changed the most isn’t the supply of moral politicians, but the demand for them. Ambitious, selfish, amoral men have always been attracted to politics. At least in terms of his sex life, John F. Kennedy was a disgusting man who, among other things,  pimped out an intern. Other presidents, Republican and Democrat, cheated on their wives, too. Such behavior is not new. But that was all kept from the public eye — by the press, by the establishment, etc – in part because it was understood that if the public found out, the politician’s career would be over. Times have changed and the public doesn’t demand — or demand sufficiently — either the myth or the reality of morality anymore.

I think it’s fair to say that conservatives still care more than liberals about maintaining the old standards. And that creates a real dilemma. In an era of moral lassitude, how much do you insist on moral propriety in politics? Since sin and temptation are bipartisan phenomena, should conservatives be at a constant disadvantage?  I don’t think there are easy answers there, or at least I can’t think of what they might be. Asking Republicans to vote for Colbert-Busch in order to punish Mark Sanford strikes me as a hard sell. Why support the party you disagree with politically just to punish a man you agree with politically? Colbert-Busch — whose political hero, of course, was John F. Kennedy –  wouldn’t even answer directly whether she would vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker. On matters of political integrity, it seems to me, Sanford was hardly the clear worse choice.

But one thing I really resent is the tendency of liberals to demand that conservatives stick to standards that liberals reject entirely. If you have no brief against the Clintons, the Weiners, the Spitzers, or the Kennedys please don’t pretend you’re offended by the Sanfords. Indeed, when Democratic politicians get caught in scandals, the response from liberals is invariably, Why can’t you conservatives lighten up? Who are you to judge? Etc. It is only when conservatives are caught in such messes, that liberals walk over to the conservative side, pick up our standards, and beat us up with them. Any talk of lightening-up or forgiveness is immediately denounced.

It’s absolutely true that conservatives need to wrestle with the question of what we should expect from our politicians. But I’m not sure liberals have anything worth listening to on the subject.

Perhaps it’s not even really that complicated.  We’d certainly prefer to have our politicians exemplify moral ideals, but in the end that’s not their job.  Their job is to put in place the most beneficial policies and enforce the law, and in the end, that’s what voters prioritize.  Once Sanford won the primary — where voters could have imposed a moral penalty on Sanford — the general election came down to a choice on policy, and the heavily Republican district made the rational choice in that paradigm.

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A poster child for Narcissism. When we have a narcisistic king ruling us and a whole group of clowns that foist fules, regulations and wonder like obamacare and taxes and exempt themselves the last thing we need is a another self centered
elitist.

It’s your decision to bang some argentinian hooker but live with the consequences.

acyl72 on May 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM

his whole affair really angers me because I love everything else about the guy and want to be on his side

commodore on May 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM

“Yesterday is yesterday, and today is today.”

But a crook is still the same.

Liam on May 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM

There are far better reasons to get rid of most of them than affairs.

Cindy Munford on May 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Tempting to toss some rocks at Sanford, until I remind myself of my own shortcomings and sins.

I hope he gives Boehner and the rest of the House establishment he11. I still maintain that our sleaze balls are better than their sleaze balls.

TitularHead on May 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

I don’t know whether to lament that the GOP now has to deal with their second worst representative after Todd “God wants me to be a Senator” Akin…

… or to laugh my ass off that despite Sanfords enormous baggage, the candidate from The Daily Show Party couldn’t beat him.

Alberta_Patriot on May 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

We’d certainly prefer to have our politicians exemplify moral ideals, but in the end that’s not their job.

I would agree completely. We’ve held our politicians up to a higher standard and we hope they meet them. But I’m a little confused. If the game is politics, why we would cede the political field to destructive opposition if our party member could clearly win and help advance our cause?

Notwithstanding the fact that local politics and the electorate are in the best position to pick their representatives, I certainly understand the national angle and perhaps larger party reputation issues. We’ve been beat over the head with numerous political failures to our detriment. But then, we allow it. We allow malicious political forces to hide behind moral arguments with which they don’t agree, but use them as a cudgel to gain electoral success.

Sanford is perhaps a different case. IS he truly looking for redemption? Only time will tell. But the citizens of SC have seen fit to have him represent them. And as a national party, we should be more than happy to have his support.

Marcus Traianus on May 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

No fact finding trips to Argentina on the taxpayers dime for this one.

meci on May 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Hey, the Repubs want him they got him. Anyway, since when has the GOP/RNC done anything in the last couple of years to find something better? Nah, same old GOP/RNC, if it doesn’t live in the good-old boy room it doesn’t get a second look.

Limerick on May 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Sanford was very good in that CBS interview. They were unrelenting.

nicktjacob on May 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM

CBS headlined this interview “Sanford: Moving on from GOP naysayers

How about we just move on? SC-1 elected the Republican..that’s not really news.

Hat Trick on May 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Another untrustworthy Republican. Just what we need.

rickv404 on May 8, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Once Sanford won the primary — where voters could have imposed a moral penalty on Sanford — the general election came down to a choice on policy, and the heavily Republican district made the rational choice in that paradigm.

^This

Sanford’s lack of morals is more favorable to voters than Colbert-Busch’s liberal policies. That says to me that the voters in the district are so opposed to liberal policies that they would rather have Sanford and his moral issues than someone pushing liberal ideology.

One could say that they may have even determined that his morals are still not as bad as the imorrality assosciated with a liberal ideology.

weaselyone on May 8, 2013 at 4:42 PM

I think it’s fair to say that conservatives still care more than liberals about maintaining the old standards.

This is bothersome. It implies that “the old standards” are arbitrary.

The man tossed his wife under a bus because some Argentinian woman had a great ass. He swore oaths and broke them — because, booty. He wrecked family — because, booty. He made his supporters look like morons with creepy, swooning “soul mate” justifications in public — because, booty. So, he demonstrated a structure of values that puts booty in the middle and other considerations beyond that. There’s nothing arbitrary about this, and it has nothing to do with “old standards.” He’s immature and erratic.

I’m not even touching the hollowness of the whole forgiveness schtick he’s got going on.

We deserve better, and he should be replaced in the next primary. Lots of men enjoy a magnificent Argentinian ass, but lets find a guy that isn’t willing to fling friends and family out of his way every time he gets an erection.

Axe on May 8, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Why would he have any trouble?
It isn’t as if there aren’t plenty of others there who’ve done the same and worse.

krome on May 8, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Sanford can say and do whatever he wants, but, he cannot, and should not, be trusted – this will never change.

Pork-Chop on May 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Once Sanford won the primary — where voters could have imposed a moral penalty on Sanford — the general election came down to a choice on policy, and the heavily Republican district made the rational choice in that paradigm.

But was that the paradigm?

The GOP top crust openly disassociated themselves from Sanford. There are ways to front someone indirectly, but the money didn’t flow from secret wells, and Sanford won debating a cardboard cutout.

Was this a vote against the RINOs in charge as much as a vote against the DEMs?

Sanford told NBC that he’ll have “plenty of friends in Washington”

correct even if they puke

I hope he gives Boehner and the rest of the House establishment he11. TitularHead on May 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Bet many were feeling that as they voted. Congress is kicking the public in the rear daily. Interesting to see where he lands. Specterville, Rubioland, or Independent

Meanwhile, I think the Club may smell rebellion in flyover. The RINNCOs are trying to ram amnesty, national sales tax etc now. Before the next election. Sanford might be a harbinger

entagor on May 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Well, his ex-wife should be happy he has a job with a well-documented salary…

Marcola on May 8, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Was this a vote against the RINOs in charge as much as a vote against the DEMs?

I can’t say that it was, because the RINOs were (weakly) backing Sanford over his competitor in the primary, Bostic, until the news about him visiting his ex-wife’s during the Superbowl came out. There was not a lot of enthusiasm for this race from the Republican side of things. I don’t really have any idea how Sanford is going to vote when he gets to DC. I’d assumed he would just join the Boehner coalition, but maybe he is going to rebrand himself as a conservative crusader.

We’ll see.

If he does a bad job at representing his district, Bostic can always come back for a second crack at things next year.

Doomberg on May 8, 2013 at 5:46 PM

…he is starting to assemble the resume of a democrat

KOOLAID2 on May 8, 2013 at 7:12 PM

I can’t wait until he goes up against Nanzi Pelosi on something. Mark Sanford was *THE* most hated governor at the state capitol in Columbia, SC in quite sometime. The democrats hated him because that’s all they have. The good ol’ boys (like Jake Knotts…the one who called Nikki Haley a “towel head”) hated him because he called them out on their out-of-control spending. The entrenched GOP in Columbia are much the Bush-Rove wing of the party when it comes to spending. ‘Nuff said?

SouthernGent on May 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM

A poster child for Narcissism. …

another self centered
elitist.

It’s your decision to bang some argentinian hooker but live with the consequences.

acyl72 on May 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM

I think that first word describes you, too.

Just think about it: in one post, you’ve re-defined narcissist, elitist and hooker. If you think you have the right to re-define slanderous names without regard to their actual meanings, I think I should get to call you…let’s see, how about “narcissist”? or “Democrat”? or just plain “intellectually lazy”?

Yeah, that one works.

rwenger43 on May 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

I can’t wait until he goes up against Nanzi Pelosi on something.

Yup. Get some popcorn ready.

If the old Mark was just ambivalent to the “play along if you want your Federal money” lady, the new Mark will be openly hostile. In fact, in his quest for redemption, Mark might just double-down on his previous efforts to get Washington’s spending under control.

He owes nothing to anybody except the voters who want him to cut spending.

When that Southern Gentleman very politely tells Nancy where to stick it, I want it to be on tape.

rwenger43 on May 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM

SouthernGent on May 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM

You know, an interesting outcome here of Sanford’s return to Washington could be the stiffening of Sen Lindsey Graham’s spine.

Before Graham fell under the sway of John McCain–which started before the 2000 Presidential primary when both Graham and Sanford alone in the SC delegation supported McCain over Bush–he and Sanford were pretty tight politically. It would not be a bad thing for Graham to get some of Sanford’s mojo (as well as loyalty to the voters that sent him to Washington).

I’m tired of Lindsey being satisfied with getting 65% of the Republican support in his state, when most of the non-support comes from conservatives.

rwenger43 on May 9, 2013 at 11:46 AM