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Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Dakota" Voice All Apologies for Adulterous Sanford

Bob Ellis cuts-and-pastes an ultra-conservative blog called "Dakota" Voice. On this fundie blog, Ellis has cited adultery as a legitimate reason to...
But when Bob Ellis sees fit to open his mouth about adulterous AWOL South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the first words out of his mouth are, "Who Says This Is the End for Mark Sanford?" Parroting Star Parker:

When I’ve been asked whom I thought could be the individual to lead the Republican Party out of the wilderness, my answer has always been Mark Sanford.

His vision for his party and his country — traditional values and limited government — has always been clear, consistent, and, in my view, correct. And he has always pursued that vision, as a congressman and as a governor, with a boldness and courage rare among politicians [Star Parker, reprinted by Bob Ellis, "Dakota"Voice.com, 2009.06.27].

The only words of criticism of Sanford's behavior from Parker/Ellis: "I watched with disappointment his confession about his clandestine adulterous affair." And then we're off to the races, blaming America's moral decline on the Kennedys, Roe v. Wade, and, with tone-deaf hilarity, same-sex marriage:

We move step by definitive step to legalizing same sex marriage. By so doing, we will render our most sacred social institution, marriage, meaningless in the official eyes of government and as a nation will formalize the acceptability of behavior our Bible clearly calls sinful and abominable [Parker/Ellis, 2009.06.27].

You know, you don't do much for the meaning of marriage by running off to Argentina for five days of nothing-left-to-lose sex with your mistress, either.

Dakota War College had the decency to call Governor Sanford's misconduct what it is: "a big whack out of your moral authority" and "a bad example for the GOP." DWC also didn't have to wait three days for its moral compass to find the right words; Mr. Powers knew what to say right away. "Dakota" Voice waits three days after Governor Sanford's public confession to bury its first Sanford commentary, filled with diversion and sugar-coating, on a low-readership Saturday. (But hardly an hour after the media announce Michael Jackson's death, Ellis opines that the King of Pop, with his "sissified manner," has probably gone to hell.)

So who says this is the end for Mark Sanford? How about the conservative (and Moonie-run!) Washington Times, which comes up with a much more apt, direct, no-bull assessment of Governor Sanford's political future... or lack thereof:

...[N]ow he has squandered much of his legacy on an act of pure folly.

His extramarital affair gave his enemies the political rope they needed to hang him finally. Whether or not Mr. Sanford resigns is irrelevant. He is spent as a national political force. His erratic and bizarre behavior - the weird claims that he was hiking on an undisclosed path along the Appalachian Trail; his rambling, confused news conference announcing his infidelity; and the steamy e-mails that have been published on the correspondence between him and his Argentine mistress - have doomed his chances as a Republican presidential contender in 2012. He has become a laughingstock [Jeffrey T. Kuhner, "Corrupt Conservatives: Sanctimonious Hypocrites on the Right Dishonor Faith, Family and Freedom," Washington Times, 2009.06.27].

Bob Ellis likes to accuse me of moral relativism and depravity. Bob Ellis doesn't know me at all. On Mark Sanford's adultery and dereliction of duty, I'm the pinko secular humanist talking moral absolutes: Sanford has demonstrated an emotional instability, immaturity, and inability to keep personal crises from affecting his execution of official duties. (And yes, I would entertain a similar argument about President Bill Clinton's adultery and deception in the White House.) Professed Christian and conservative Bob Ellis is the one making excuses and exemptions... and claiming Sanford could be a great American leader.

Update 11:35 CDT: Who else says this should be the end for Sanford?
  • Randy Page, conservative Republican activist and president of South Carolinians for Responsible Government: "In order to best protect and Blogger: Madville Times - Edit Post ""Dakota" Voice All Apologies for Adulterous Sanfor..."preserve his family and the integrity of the Office of Governor, it is necessary for him to resign from office to allow his family, his staff and the people of the Palmetto State time to heal and move forward."
  • Conservative/libertarian-leaning Carolina blogger Bane Windlow, who has been an "ardent" Sanford supporter but now says Sanford "crossed the line by just up and leaving the state for six days. It’s almost akin to a soldier going AWOL while on active duty. That, plus the nature of his sabatical [sic] that has now revealed itself for all intents and purposes have crushed any remaining credibility the man may have left in Columbia." (Windlow's Carolina Politics Online has more than double "Dakota" Voice's readership, according to Quantcast.)
  • Arch-conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer: "The governor of the state is chief executive, and if there is a disaster in the state, and this guy is incommunicado, he is nowhere to be seen and he doesn’t transfer authority to his lieutenant governor who calls out the National Guard, you cannot recover from that. I think he doesn’t last a week in the office of governor."
  • and the list goes on....
Update 2009.07.03 11:13 CDT: John Gilgoff, US News's God and Country blogger, finds remarkable the total silence of other family values groups on Mark Sanford's "duplicitousness and breaches of character." Gilgoff quotes conservative faves Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson:

As long as we as Christians are willing to tolerate or overlook duplicity in our self-identified party, it will be clear to the world that our allegiance is to a party and not the truth, regardless of what we claim. . . .


  1. It's clearly the right time for Republicans to break from the fundamentalists. They are failing to fulfill their role in policy matters. The vast majority of people want and expect to make their own decisions about their private life. If they stopped moralizing most of us would happily respect their boundaries as they should respect ours.

  2. There are at least two sides to this issue:

    1. Extramarital affairs are mostly irrelevant factors in evaluating political or government management.
    That mostly seemed to be the case with Bill Clinton. He could obviously multi-task.

    2. Extramarital affairs demonstrate that a politician or official has no honor and cannot be trusted to be honest in anything if he cheats on his wife.

    I lean toward the latter perspective and believe such affairs warrant very careful examination of all decisions and behaviors of such politicians and officials. It is a variation of forewarned is forearmed.

    As I waffle between positions, my current positions may depend on the relative hypocrisy involved and the sanctimony of critics or supporters.

    When push comes to shove, I wonder how the holier than thous who are single-issue voters on abortion issues would decide in a situation between an obviously faithful man who supports women's rights and an obviously unfaithful rogue who promotes anti-abortion rulings or laws, denial of funding for abortions and family planning, aid, etc.

  3. Douglas, the holier-than-thou will do exactly what Ellis does: spin rationalizations that ignore facts and logic just to preserve their worldview.

    I can see room for debate between #1 and #2. The GOP could have #1 if they followed John's recommendation. However, when the GOP claims its defense of family values as a reason to vote for them over Dems, they authorize all of us to vote them out of office when they prove their personal disregard for the sanctity of marriage. If you can't keep the most important promise of your life to your wife, I feel no obligation to believe you can keep political promises.

  4. We hold our elected politicians and appointed officials to a higher standard because breaking the contract of marriage is a direct and immediate reflection of their ability to maintain ethical and moral decision making. An elected politician or appointed official who is willing to forsake the lifetime vows of their marriage for temporary illicit pleasure, whether Republican or Democrat is also willing to bend to other influences. It is all about trust. You either earn it or you lose it.

  5. Mitt Romney on Meet the Press gave his used-car salesman pitch on why the Republicans should hold their morals high. Our real issues are policy matters, not bedroom antics. I can't explain why, but people can be very ethical in their duty yet fail miserably in their personal lives. Look at history for that.

  6. Marriage is an old and artificial social institution that is rapidly losing value. It is no longer necessary to successfully raise a family. I expect it to decline just as it has done in Europe.

    Love and sex are irrational. One's choice of partners in no way reflects one's ability to rationally evaluate possibilities and to make good decisions. We have a very romanticized view of long term partnering that is at odds with our biology. We are expected to deny ourselves relationships that we desire to support the old marriage construct. We as a society need to break ourselves of this view.


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