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The Mark Sanford Saga Gets Weirder

If you’ve read Michael Brendan Dougherty’s profile of Mark Sanford [1]—or, for that matter, if you haven’t—you know the former South Carolina governor is a bit weird. His bid to return to Congress is getting a little weirder as news arrives that he has a court date, just days after the special election, to answer to a charge of trespassing at his ex-wife’s home. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I’m trying my best not to get in the way,” the Huffington Post quotes Jenny Sanford [2] as saying, “but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

She denies leaking the supposedly sealed court docs about the case. Mark Sanford’s side of the story [3] is that he didn’t want their 14-year-old son to watch the Super Bowl alone: “I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because as a father I didn’t think he should watch it alone. Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cellphone when she returned and told her what had happened.”

Perhaps that’s adequate as political excuses go. He had to say something. But I find the phrasing a bit strange: “as a father I didn’t think he should watch it alone.” Does that just mean he thought his son would have more fun watching the game with company, or is that “as a father” line meant to be vaguely moralizing—as if the Super Bowl and its ads might be too racy for the teenage son of a guy who hiked the Appalachian Trail all the way to Argentina with his mistress? Probably “as a father” is just a politician’s stock empathetic cliche, cropping up by force of habit in any reference to his family life. But Mark Sanford, of all people, should be careful about relating to the public “as a father.”

Update: Politico reports that the National Republican Congressional Committee is pulling out of Sanford’s race. They think he’s toast. Or as David Freddoso says on Twitter:

NRCC “won’t be engaged,” won’t be married, and won’t be in Argentina w Mark Sanford’s campaign

— David Freddoso (@freddoso) April 17, 2013 [4]

13 Comments (Open | Close)

13 Comments To "The Mark Sanford Saga Gets Weirder"

#1 Comment By O.L. Johnson On April 17, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

Do you know what would be entertaining. A Sanford-Weiner presidential ticket.

#2 Comment By Michael N Moore On April 17, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

“Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman” (who was your campaign manager). I think that we can look forward to Jenny being very helpful to Steve Colbert’s sister.

#3 Comment By W.E.B. Dupree On April 17, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

Also, does it mean that she was out of town and the 14-year-old kid was basically looking after himself? Technically, parents aren’t supposed to leave minors alone for the weekend, right? Or does it mean that there was some other adult there who let the Guv in?

#4 Comment By collin On April 17, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

You have completely wrong. Mark Sanford being the great father was very concerned his 14 year son would not know the difference between zone and man-to-man defense.

This is important stuff here!

#5 Comment By Sean Scallon On April 17, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

Lord knows you never ever want to let your teenaged son to watch the Super Bowl alone.

#6 Comment By Rob On April 17, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

It gets worse and worse. Politicalwire has a story up about how Sanford forced his sons to share the stage with the Argentinean woman at his primary victory party–the first time they met her. Stick a fork in Sanford. What a creep.

#7 Comment By Anderson On April 17, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

The “alone” thing is obviously a dig at his ex – who if she really was leaving their 14yo home alone, maybe deserves it. But at this point I see no reason to accept Sanford’s word about anything.

#8 Comment By Noah172 On April 17, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

Oh, heavens to Betsy! This awful Sanford! What this country really needs are more stable, sober, faithful family men in high office, such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

There are quite a lot of 14-year-olds watching football alone because their servicemen fathers died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

There are a lot of fathers who do have time for bonding with their sons because they (the dads) are unemployed thanks to the immigration, trade, housing, and other economic policies of family men Bush and Obama.

In his past career, Sanford supported some of this madness, and opposed other parts. His opponent, the comedian’s sister, is an avowed vote for illegal alien amnesty. Let’s talk about things that matter.

#9 Comment By Carl On April 18, 2013 @ 1:19 am

I tend to agree with Noah172. From the outside looking in, it’s impossible to tell whether he’s a jerk for breaking into his ex-wife’s house or his ex-wife is a jerk for keeping their son away from his father or (most likely) they’re both jerks. Divorce is always messy, and it’s hard to tell the truth of it, even if you see it with your own eyes. In any event, it doesn’t really mean much compared to the policies Sanford or his rival will end up enacting.

#10 Comment By sal magundi On April 18, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

“I want him to sink or swim on his own.”

why thank you so much!

#11 Comment By Thomas Andrews On April 18, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

The Republicans have sowed the wind and now they are left with politicians like Sanford to harvest.
I’d say it serves them right, just – we surely didn’t deserve it.

#12 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On April 18, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

He’s certainly not very astute politically to run the risk of complicating his marital story by violating a court order in, or on the eve of the campaign.

It’s a “stop me before I make an ass of myself again” moment.

#13 Comment By Consequences2 On April 18, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

Trespassing charges don’t just file themselves…

I take a dim view of women who file trespassing charges because a dad showed up to watch a football game with his unsupervised minor son. (If the kid really was alone.)

Perhaps Child Protective Services should follow up and see what she was up to.