My Itchy Nose: The Sanford Affair

As I’ve been basking in the drama of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s epic Fail, my curiosity was peaked by some comments on the FDL post, How Stupid Does Erick Erickson Feel Today? As well as posts on TPM, DU, Kos and other sources, all of which make vague connections and toss flimsy innuendo, but none of which actually make the suggested connections overtly.

Having spent a little over 30 years in news/publishing (and having done a bit of investigative journalism in my prime), I found it all just so… fascinating! There are things here that need some firmly supported answers. Disjointed factoids garnered thus far:

Sanford, sans written statement or even notes, appears late to his own press conference, also sans wife (now said to be with kids at beach house) and personal assistant. Sanford began with a rambling extemporaneous exposition on the joys of hiking, as if he intended to defend that story, not realizing that the press corps already knew where he’d been (and who he was with). He didn’t begin apologizing and whimpering until ~4 minutes in. When he asked for that female personal assistant, realized she wasn’t there, knew he was busted.  A pitiful performance.

MSNBC reported that an SC newspaper has been sitting on “the” story (the emails of love) for months. Because The State newspaper is a right-wing rag, it’s not hard to figure why they sat on the info, though it also makes me wonder about who the anonymous person who forwarded them to the newspaper might be. Mrs. Sanford? She managed his campaigns, may have access to his emails. His personal assistant who abandoned him yesterday? These two might also have access to his personal email, at least via forwards he may have sent them and a basic knowledge of his range of rememberable passwords. Someone else in the office?  

And why in the world did Sanford think his emails to his lover wouldn’t be seen by his wife or members of his staff? Or that the reporter at The State wouldn’t forward them to these people despite sitting on them in official capacity? Were they sent on his office email account (and thus part of public record)? His personal email account? I should think that tracking the details of this particular link would bear some hefty fruit.

And because it was The State that busted him on his week crying in Argentina, a little digging into the reporter who had the emails and sat on them since December – and his/her contacts with the governor – might reveal something interesting. Because in my experience, even unassigned evidence gets thoroughly checked out, schedules perused, home situations watched for the possibility of catching the culprit in the act for a scoop. This is the governor, for goodness’ sake! His wife says she kicked him out two weeks ago. You can’t tell me the SC press didn’t know he wasn’t living in the mansion anymore. Or did he just move to a different bedroom, and if so, how come nobody noticed he was MIA until days later?

Most intriguing tidbit: Sanford & Ensign’s connection with the D.C. ‘Family’ and their foundation that runs a Congressional group home on C Street. Timeline on the relationships that brought them down would be a help. TPM’s story, The Sanford/Ensign Connection suggested that both the Ensign and Sanford affairs were known by the Family’s C Street Foundation. I’m thinking a timeline check might just establish a setup, given the fundy passion for in-group confessions and such.

We all know about the various call girl/boy prostitution rings run in DC by behind-the-scenes movers and shakers that serve to compromise Congresscritters enough to make them amenable to manipulation on certain policies and votes – political blackmail. This sort of thing has been going on in Washington for so long that nobody even thinks it’s worth talking about anymore. So the only juicy angle here would be the Family’s participation, given the number of politicians on both sides of the aisle who admit participation or membership.

At any rate, my nose has been itching ever since I heard Sanford was AWOL. Something much deeper than a simple affair is going on here. I think it would be a shame if in the end, that’s all that is ever exposed in the course of his political ruination. Because if there are machinations behind the scenes, the string-pullers will be rewarded with the knowledge that they can go even farther next time someone they puppet doesn’t do what they’ve ordered.


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    • Joy B. on June 25, 2009 at 19:38

    …would be to figure out how the Family – in its C Street guise – operates in state capitols to compromise governors and (?) state legislators. This could turn out to be explosive enough to blow a large stump. You never know!!! ยง;o)

  1. that for me is the pertinent point of the whole story.  IMHO, the details aren’t the heart of the matter, it’s the failure of the media to:  1. follow-up and pound Sanford, and his GOP’er colleagues for their continued hypocrisy and 2.  Ask these GOP’er politicians why they don’t do as they demand their opponents do when they are confronted with the evidence of their own wrongdoing.

    …then Rep. Mark Sanford called for Clinton’s resignation following the publicizing of Clinton’s affair:


    the following lawmakers had called for President Clinton to resign since he admitted an affair with Monica S. Lewinsky, according to National Journal’s Hotline:

       …Mark Sanford (R-S.C.)

    It’s the continuing hypocrisy of people like Sanford that is the point of the story to me. He was among the bloodthirsty mob of self-righteous republicans–many who were involved in their own illicit affairs–who nattered on endlessly about how terrible and destructive Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky was.  

    Sanford called for Clinton’s resignation but has refused to resign himself.  For me that’s the heart of the matter– exposing and holding the GOP’ers accountable for their hypocrisy, and holding their feet to the fire when they hold their political opponents to a higher standard than they hold to themselves. At the same time the public and the press allow these hypocrites to retain the fiction that the republicans are all more chaste, more moral, more righteous than their opponents or the majority of Americans.

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