This song fits Gov. Sanford so well:
“you keep on tellin’ me
‘baby I love ya,’
just ain’t your game
You tell me I can have anything I want
but whhhyy can’t I have your name?
callin’ each other brother
with your hand in his pocket
–Millie Jackson, singing her song “Hypocrisy” on Soul Train to promote her “It Hurts So Good” album, 1973.
Sanford would also fit perfectly in my old 2006 rundown of hypocrisy in politics.
This is the same Mark Sanford that, as a US Congressman, called Bill Clinton’s affair “reprehensible” and said, “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally” to resign. “I come from the business side. … If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.” (source) Sanford won’t take his own advice, and has declined to resign as governor. Sanford voted in favor of three of four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, citing the need for “moral legitimacy.” “The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of democratic government, representative government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything, Sanford said. (source)
This is the same Mark Sanford that, when asked about philandering Republican Congressman Bob Livingston (who resigned when his extramarital affair was exposed right before officially taking over for philandering Republican Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House), said “I’m sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out the president lied under oath, [Livingston’s] situation was not under oath. But the bottom line is, he still lied. He lied under a different oath and that is the oath to his wife. So it has got to be taken very seriously.” (video proof)
Mark Sanford built his career on his moral rigidity and finger-pointing at those who weren’t as “upright” as him. Anyone who stepped outside the box became fodder for Sanford’s sanctimonious grandstanding. Especially gays. Sanford is one of the gay-hatingest politicians in America. One of his primary campaign platforms was how urgent it is to “defend marriage” against the gay threat. Were you “defending marriage” when you repeatedly begged your wife for permission to cheat, governor? (she refused to condone such behavior). Why is it that the “red states” most eager to “defend marriage” make up eight of the 10 states with the highest divorce rates? (according to the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract)
Democrats cheat just as much as Republicans, but they don’t campaign for office with Bible-beating messages attacking those less righteous than them. That Bible they are waving actually contains many more condemnations of adultery than condemnations of homosexuality, which, if you listen to some conservatives, sounds like the ONLY thing the Bible talks about. The sages understood how destructive adultery is to families and communities. Unfortunately, politicians don’t.
These are men who love themselves deeply, need to be recognized and relish approval. These are men who adore getting praise and who often are surrounded by swarms of sycophants. These are men who, in some cases, need to exercise power and sometimes can become drunk from it. These are men who think the rules don’t apply to them and who think they’re untouchable.
There’s a culture of infidelity in every state capitol. I saw it in the Senate offices in Montgomery, AL; with the way Senators’ secretaries look at their Senators and how they interact like spouses, you’d have to be really oblivious to not notice what’s going on. State legislatures take some of the most arrogant and entitled men in a state, and, for half a year, assemble them in the capital city, far away from their wives. With scumbags like politicians, some infidelity is inevitable in that situation.
Next time a politician is presenting himself as moral arbiter, remember all of this.