June 25th, 2009

Mark Sanford, Southern Conservative Hero

by Philip Baruth

Hard to say which angers VDB more, when it comes to the Mark Sanford “Run For The Border” escapade: the state-funded affair in Argentina, or the way the Obama-obsessed, drive-by, liberal-elite media forced Sanford into the SUV and demanded he catch a red-eye in order to have sex with that woman. Or esa mujer, as the adulterers say in Argentina. Yes, VDB is not fooled. Clearly, Mark Sanford’s downfall was orchestrated by a shadowy cabal only partially composed of George Soros, Alec Baldwin and Keith Olbermann.

We laugh, but of course wing-nuts will be wing-nuts, and this ultra-nutty idea — that Sanford and Ensign were set up and taken down — will eventually take firm root in the gamy soil of Conservative blogs.

Which is fine. VDB will continue to enjoy the spectacle of high-profile Conservatives busily setting fire to their own careers. And along the way, we’ll enjoy the confusion and backtracking and sputtering frustration of some of the wackier elements of the right-wing blogosphere.

Take a completely run of the mill anti-Obama site like ExposeObama.com — please. These are the sort of folks who went to work even before Obama’s election, to declare him illegitimate as a candidate, and fraudulent as a President-elect. And when Mark Sanford stepped forward and refused some $8 billion in stimulus funds for hard-hit South Carolina, they had their man.

He spoke with a reassuringly thick Southern accent. He hated the idea of unemployment benefits. He’d once brought pigs into the state house to make a point about something, which sounded, vaguely, like something Jesus might have done. And he had the family, a stalwart wife and four boys, four boys, almost if not quite Mitt-like in its masculinity and fecundity.

They called him “heroic” on ExposeObama.com, and they talked about him more or less incessantly as the Next Best Thing.

But this sort of loyalty was weak and tepid compared to that demonstrated for the last six months on a sad little site called MarkSanford2012.com, a site dedicated to bringing Sanford forward into the limelight of a national candidacy.

And when Sanford was finally caught in a web of hastily constructed and contradictory alibis, it was Mark Sanford 2012 that stood by their man, and blamed everything on the “intrusive” elite liberal media. What could be more poignant than the reverse order of these two entries, pre- and post-revelation?

Sanford talked in his press conference about hurting his four strapping boys, and his dear wife, and his state, and his mistress, but he said nothing about the pain being felt today at Mark Sanford 2012. And that was wrong, because they gave him everything: unconditional loyalty and pure blind illogical devotion.

Mark Sanford: standard GOP road-kill. But it’s the little ones he leaves behind that make your heart hurt.

And in the topsy-turvy way of politics, Sanford’s sins get visited on his Party, and everyone who ever came into contact with this romantic, pig-carrying Conservative. The repercussions, believe or not, are even being felt here at VDB. We had the following anxious email this morning, straight out of Shelburne:

Dear VDB,

As you know, I am following your campaign for the state senate with great interest. While it’s all fine and good that you’re using your blog to let voters know where you stand on issues that affect Vermonter’s lives, I for one have more pressing concerns than the fate of Vermont Yankee. These are uncertain times, and I already have abandonment issues. VDB, are you ready to pledge to us, your future constituents, that should you hear the siren call of Buenos Aires, you won’t tell your staff you’ve gone to recharge your legislative batteries on the Appalachian Trail?

Concerned in Shelburne

Well, let VDB just say this about that: we plan to take our cues from Vermont’s own Governor, about whom many critical things may be said and often are.

But the one thing you never, ever have to worry about with Jim Douglas is that he’ll catch a red-eye to South America and engage in a steamy tryst beside the sea with a dark-eyed Argentinian ex-journalist. Our Governor has far more important things to do, crucial things, each and every day.

And so, of course, do we.