Sanford and Weiner – I Knew They’d Be Back

poltergeist-theyre-backWhen both of these guys left public office a few years back, like cockroaches who’ll survive nuclear war, I knew we hadn’t seen the last of them. I was right. Former Republican Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina was just elected by a landslide to his old House of Representatives seat and Democrat Anthony Weiner, who was forced to resign from Congress, just announced his run for Mayor of NYC.

Well, we know that the people in South Carolina gave back their disgraced Governor his seat in Congress. We don’t know what the people of NYC will do, but kudos to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo who just said if he’s elected, “shame on us.” But, I have so little faith in the American electorate, I wouldn’t be surprised if this little weasel makes his way to Gracie Mansion.

In case you don’t remember, then Gov. Sanford, married at the time with four children, was carrying on an affair with Argentinean Maria Belen Chapur. In 2009, he told his staff he would be hiking the Appalachian Trial and would not be taking any phone calls; instead, he went to Argentina to carry on with Miss Chapur and remained in communicado for four days. When he was spotted by a reporter getting off a plane in Atlanta from Argentina, he knew the you-know- what hit the fan and ‘fessed up. His wife divorced him and he’s now engaged to his “soul mate.” He survived impeachment proceedings and left office in 2011 with a 55% approval rating. Go figure.

Back in New York, then Congressman Anthony Weiner, a married man with a pregnant wife, kept himself busy on Twitter by sending photos of his crotch to women. Even though they were sent on his own account, he lied over and over again, saying his account had been hacked, and even vehemently denied they were of his own body parts. Eventually, he ‘fessed up, stayed married, but was forced to resign from Congress. Now, he’s back, and just announced his run for Mayor.

I don’t get either of these jerks and I don’t get the people of South Carolina who voted for Mark Sanford. I’ll hold off on New Yorkers until the election but it’s mind-boggling how either of these guys can even show their face in public.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, today, there is no such thing as “shame.” People, and particular public figures, think and know they can do just about anything and still maintain their standing in the community. Although we haven’t heard much about Mel Gibson lately, the likes of Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, and now Sanford continue to enjoy successful careers despite their actions.

When I’ve discussed Bill Clinton with friends, some would say, “well, it was his private life” and I’m sure some will say the same thing again about Sanford and Weiner. Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not about your private or public life, it’s about a character defect; it’s about lying, a lack of ethics as well as poor judgment.

How can the public trust someone when they have a track record of lying and deception? How does a Governor exercise good judgment when he traipses off to Argentina for a roll in the hay with his “soul mate” and, worse yet, no one in his administration knows where he is? He could’ve been anywhere; he could’ve been kidnapped and held for ransom or killed. I wonder how much public money was used during that four-day period trying to track him down?

We’ve all made poor judgments and made bad choices and mistakes in our lives. No one is perfect. But, for most of us, our judgments and choices don’t potentially affect millions of people. If we can’t trust someone to make sound judgments in their private life, how can we expect them to make a sound judgment when it comes to their public decisions? If they’re willing to deceive the women to whom they’ve made a most sacred vow and to whom they owe fidelity, commitment and trust, we, as the public, don’t stand a chance.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • ABoleynGirl

    re: I don’t get either of these jerks and I don’t get the people of South Carolina who voted for Mark Sanford. I’ll hold off on New Yorkers until the election but it’s mind-boggling how either of these guys can even show their face in public.

    I think there’s some punchline to a joke that ends with “it’s not Weiner’s face people recognize.”

  • Roger Ward

    Along with an inability to feel appropriate shame (by some of our elected officials) there is another character defect (in their supporters): that’s the inability to feel righteous indignation and to act on it appropriately. Can you imagine Lincoln, Madison, Reagan or Washington acting like Clinton, Nixon, Sanford or Weiner? I can’t. The former were men of character …. the latter, roaches. These roaches endure in office because their supporters are unable or unwilling to see the failure in the men they voted for. (I’ve never yet found a Democrat who will condemn Clinton for his behavior; they always say he was treated harshly for some trivial peccadillo, instead of for lying to Congress.)

    • veeper

      Old Honest Abe…

      wasn’t as Honest, forthright and clean as the american school system text books make him out to be…

      • Roger Ward

        Casting aspersions on Abraham Lincoln’s character is inappropriate without evidence to support the charges.

        • veeper

          I went to school with him….

    • Ron F

      Roger, I agree except my experience is Republicans are always more judgmental about Democrat politicians and Democrats are always more judgmental about Republican politicians. Or Republicans will acknowledge problems in their own party but say Democrats are much worse or vice versa. Although I have a problem, one of my heroes is Thomas Jefferson and he was a slave holder, remained a slave holder, did not free his slaves on his death and probably fathered children with a slave, who he did not free.

      • Roger Ward

        Until fairly recently, slavery was the natural order of things. It existed in virtually every country and society on earth and still exists in some countries today. I don’t agree with it …. then or now …. and like you, I wish Jefferson had followed the examples of many of his contemporaries and freed his slaves. Jefferson was a towering intellect and there is considerable thought and opinion that this country would not exist without his efforts — at least, not as we know it now. In fairness, a man should be judged by the world’s standards in place at the time he lived. History tends to be revisionist history so all historical data need to be reviewed skeptically.

        • Ron F

          Roger, I tend to agree but if I am correct, Jefferson was the only significant founder who did not release his slaves and I do not know of any others that might have had children with one of their slaves. In addition, if we judge people by the standards in place, morality becomes relative. It might be. If we were raised in the South in the 1950s by racist parents, would we be racists or if we were raised in Germany in the 1930s would we be Nazis. Does it also mean we should judge people in the Middle East by the standards of the country they grow up in?

          • Roger Ward

            Ron, Standards of decency transcend history and moral relativism. Kindness, honesty, fairness, compassion, equality. humility, etc. exist apart from history and cannot be judged by the standard of moral relativism of a given (later) time. What I meant was that it is historically unfair to condemn Franklin for holding his slaves, a legal act and a widespread practice at the time, whatever we may wish in the present. If Franklin were cruel to his slaves (unproved, to my knowledge) his cruelty does not change, but it should be viewed through the cultural environment in which it was practiced. If a Nazi committed torture, this torture is not mitigated by the fact that he felt compelled to it. It is still torture and deserves condemnation …. but in our subsequent view, years after the fact, we should be able to view the Nazi’s actions in the context of life in Nazi Germany. Would you or I be able to stand up to our Nazi superiors and the general level of brain-washing that prevailed? I’d like to say yes …. but I really doubt it. In school, I was taught to hate the sin but to love the sinner. It’s a strange dichotomy …. but one worth considering.
            From what I know and remember about Jefferson and Hemmings, I think you are correct.

          • Ron F

            Roger, I agree but I think slavery is morally wrong no matter what the circumstances. On the other hand, it was a legal act and the Constitution protected the property rights of slave owners. Isn’t there something about a slave that escapes is still a slave. It is the thing I have always found the most troubling – “All men are created equal” but it really meant only caucasian men, and not blacks, women or native Americans. If our rights were given by God, why were they given to so few of us?

        • Ron F

          Roger, one last thing. The idea of Thomas Jefferson fathering children with Sally Hemmings is not revisionist history. I believe through DNA testing they have been able to prove that someone of his generation fathered the children and I think they have it down to between he and his brother and the most likely is Thomas Jefferson.

  • veeper

    ted kennedy, bill clinton and the democrats made being a sleaze ball, zero character, LIAR acceptable for elected office to represent the new face of america….

    which is….sleaze ball, zero character, liars , fat, lazy, irresponsible and willfully ignorant…

    the people and their representatives are reflections of each other…

    america is no longer capable of producing quality political leadership. The best qualified and highest character people in america will not have anything to do with america’s cesspool elective offices.

    • Ron F

      Being a sleaze ball is not restricted to Democrats. Pete Domenici, Thad Viers, Chris Lee, Mark Souder, Chip Pickering, John Ensign, Mark Foley and Strom Thurmand are just a few of Republicans whose indiscretions, while in office, recently came to light. As for qualified and high character people seeking elective office, how about Ronald Reagan. In addition, Rand Paul seems qualified and of high character. Although, as a general rule I distrust politicians of both parties and wish that we would stop using the term “public servant” to describe them.

      • veeper

        you didn’t read my comment….I never said repubs didn’t has sleaze balls…

        as for reagan and paul seeming to be qualified and of high character….

        the bar for politicians is really not very high….

        or else….there would be a lot of unfilled elective positions, on every level of government, around the country.

        • Ron F

          Veeper, I read your comment. I was responding to your comment that “ted kennedy, bill clinton and democrats made being a sleaze ball, zero character, LIAR acceptable for elected office to represent the new face of america”. Republicans did not Democrats to make it acceptable. I was just giving recent Republican examples. I should have added Newt Gingrich. I agree the bar is not very high.

  • chief98110

    “Like cockroaches, politicians like these guys will be what’s left after
    nuclear war;” sad but true. What the heck are the voters thinking? The
    electorate is getting exactly what it deserves and as Chief Justice
    Roberts indicated in his Obama-Care opinion, “It is not our job to
    protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

  • Ron F

    They are narcissists and self-centered so obviously they do not think the normal rules apply to them. Most politicians are. I disagree that there is no such thing as “shame” anymore. We just don’t hear about the people that have it. I also have more faith in the American electorate. The fact that I disagree with the outcome in most elections does not mean that the people are not making informed or intelligent choices. They probably think I am not informed and am making poor choices. I do wish we had seen the last of both men.

    • JDinSTL

      I wish Lorena Bobbitt had hacked Weiner’s Twitter account.