Jenny Sanford’s Field Guide to Biking the Appalachian Trail

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Jenny Sanford, the soon to be ex- wife (divorce filed and pending) and campaign manager of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, has written a book, called   “Staying True.”  

Governor Sanford, who completely disappeared for five days last summer, for a side trip to Argentina to get it on with his mistress, leaving aides with the alibi of “he’s hiking the Appalachian trail”  says that he has not read the book yet.

“I know anything Jenny does, she does well, so I look forward to reading it along with everybody else,” he said, according to The Sun News.

Per Tim Rutten’s review in the LA Times, “Staying True”

is a memoir of a marriage that only can be described as the Contract With America meets Southern gothic.


In fact, by the time we get to the affair late in the book, it’s a bit of a relief, since this is about the first normative impulse either of the Sanfords seems to have had during their marriage.


As Sanford informs us elsewhere in the book, “Women were made for sacrifice.”

And boy does she sacrifice . . . over and over and over. What’s never clear from her extended exercise in score-settling is why? The man she describes is driven, self-absorbed, pathologically cheap and 360-degrees weird. She runs his political campaigns, puts up with his habitual absences and bears him four sons.…

The fomer Jenny Sullivan, grandaughter of the inventor of the Skil portable saw, was an investment banker with Lazard Freres when she met Mark Sanford at a party in the Hamptons on Long Island.  They married in 1989. At the time Mark Sanford was a financial analyst (who had trained at Goldman Sachs), who then switched to real estate back when they moved to South Carolina.  In the early 1990’s they moved to Sullivan’s Island, a wealthy island on Charleston’s harbor.  He ran for Congress in South Carolina’s 1st district starting in 1994, and served 3 terms, then ran for Governor of South Carolina in  2002 and 2006.  Jenny Sanford provided money and campaign management services for her husband’s ambitions. And bore him four sons.  Mark Sanford, in return, became the typical pious successful Southern Republican Politician, and  voted for the impeachment of President Clinton over the Lewinsky affair.  Don’t forget the opposition to gay marriage.  There were plenty of other examples of finger pointing flakiness, culminating in his almost shutting down the SC state government by a budget veto in 2006, (yet the SC legislature is Republican majority) and attempting to refuse to let the state have federal stimulus funds this year, in spite of its 11.5% unemployment rate.

per wikipedia, the history of Jenny’s world

Sullivan’s Island was the disembarkation port for over 40% (4-8 million) of the slaves traded to the British Colonies via the Middle Passage[4], making it the largest slave port in North America. It is estimated that nearly half of all African Americans had ancestors that passed through Sullivan’s Island. “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath or wall, or park or skyscraper lobby,” Toni Morrison said in 1989 [5]. “There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road.” On July 26, 2008 the Toni Morrison Society dedicated a small bench on Sullivan’s Island to the memory of the slave trade.[6]

yet today in Sullivan’s Island:

The racial makeup of the town was 98.74% White, 0.63% African American…. The median income for a household in the town was $72,955, and the median income for a family was $96,455.  

Currently, the population of South Carolina is about 30% African American, historically, until the early 1900’s, there was an African American majority, but many moved north for better economic opportunities. In the late 1800’s the state passed a constitution which required poll taxes, residency, and literacy tests, effectively disenfranchising SC’s African American voters, which was at that time about 58% .  South Carolina also did not ratify the 19th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for women until July 1, 1969, and then waited until August 22, 1973 to certify it.…


The marriage ceremony started off with Mark Sanford refusing to take a vow of fidelity.  

The denial that this might signal something was amiss in the relationship started immediately.

Not having a vow of faithfulness “bothered me to some extent, but … we were very young, we were in love,” Jenny Sanford tells Walters. “I questioned it, but I got past it.”

“With the benefit of the knowledge I have about Mark now, I could point to this moment as a clear sign of things to come,” she writes. But at the time, she found his honesty “brave and sweet” and thought he just had cold feet.…

and continued….

After their wedding there were warning bells, even if the new wife failed to hear them. On a Thanksgiving visit to the Sanford family farm, Mark saw no reason why he shouldn’t keep bunking with his brothers. When Ms. Sanford’s beloved grandfather died, Mark saw no reason to attend the funeral. When she was pregnant with their first son, he got bored after a single Lamaze class and insisted that he needed no instruction. As the book colorfully recalls, he said, “I’ve spent many long nights helping cows give birth and I know what to do when the baby gets stuck.”

“Staying True” isn’t a book full of recriminations; it’s the portrait of a smart, steadfast woman who found herself in a terrible situation.…

And then there was his gift giving habits.  Like giving her a diamond necklace by having a staffer purchase it, hide it, sending her notes on where to find it, …. and then when he saw his wife wearing the thing, wanting the box it came in, so he could return it because it cost too much.   Or the time he gave her half a used bicycle.

Wait a minute, she was his seed money source and campaign manager.  She didn’t find herself in this situation, she helped create it.   After his teary performance of confession in front of the cameras last summer, when we found out that he wasn’t hiking the Appalachian trail during his disappearance, but bopping the Argentinian “soul mate” mistress down in South America, he called her and asked how he did on camera.  Not only that, but there were other affairs, and he wanted her advice on how much information to spin about those in media interviews.

She writes in her book she was “gut-punched all over again” when she found out the governor had dalliances with still other women, some of which she learned about from his interview with the AP when he said he had “crossed lines” with a handful of other women.


She writes her husband told her at the time the relationship was “nothing much” and nothing she needed to know about earlier.

Jenny Sanford wrote her husband had admitted only one affair until that point and now “ever businesslike, he wanted to know what I thought he should reveal in the interview.” She does not say what advice, if any, she gave the governor.…

Always a creature of exquisite political timing, Jenny Sanford was careful not to file for divorce until the SC state legislature made up its mind whether or not to impeach Governor Mark Sanford for his version of “hiking” the Appalachian trail, er, Argentine dance floors with state funds.  2 days after getting by with a mere official censure in Dec 2009, and hanging onto the office for now, but out of contention for the 2012 Presidential Primary (…. shudder) she officially ditched her Valiant Knight in Pining Amour.  The state of SC is stuck with him until next January, when he term limits out, unless he does something else impeachable in the interval, or decides he needs to spend more time with his poetry.

From Gov Sanford, Date: Thursday, July 10,2008 12:24 am  (to Maria Belen Chapur)

Two, mutual feelings …. You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light – but hey, that would be going into sexual details …

Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true – at the same time we are in a hopelessly – or as you put it impossible – or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes …

Lastly I also suspect I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before – so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know… In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul.”…

NYT book review finale:  

“Staying True” ends the only way it can: with Ms. Sanford praising the beauties of nature, quoting Anne Morrow Lindbergh for comfort, saying that she feels like a storm-tossed sea, speaking of being steadied by her faith and enjoying her unanticipated new freedom. She writes with gravity about how she came to realize that she needed to forgive her husband in order to move on, regardless of whether he understood that decision.  

And I’m fairly sure that “moving on” part for Jenny Sanford, includes the gleeful realization that Mark Sanford is going to have to pay for his next business manager.  At the end of Duty, God, and Country, there’s always revenge.  


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  1. … “wow, these people are rich and powerful, but they’re still **** ups ! “

  2. Do not go to cocktail parties in the Hamptons.

  3. With Mark Sanford in his final year as South Carolina’s governor, his soon-to-be ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, above, is publishing an elegant evisceration of a memoir.


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