Have Republicans forgotten they were elected to govern? Not when it comes to money and power. Money, especially. It’s being used in South Carolina to raise support for Lindsay Graham, up for reelection next year, by touting an immigration solution that matches his work with the Senate bill introduced by the Gang of Eight. Now in committee, the bill is the object of scorn by Alabama’s Jeff Sessions. But Graham says he, “believes in it with all his heart.”
The same 501(c)(4) money supporting Graham opposes Vincent Sheheen, a Democratic candidate for governor, a moderate from an established political family, the kind of Democrat that once won easily in South Carolina, as Bill Clinton once did in Arkansas. A 30-second commercial opposes Sheheen by saying he wants South Carolina to be the only Southern state to accept Obamacare. The spot openly touts the region’s solidarity with regression.
Win or lose, Republicans have put buzz words in place. Now at the state level, voters hear the bell and respond. This is one reason why Republicans repeatedly raise Benghazi. It’s not only to tie Hillary Clinton to the incident, but to pound into it a connotation of failure, weaknesses and cowardice. Hence the angry testimony of State Department officers in a recent hearing which added nothing to what was known except more reports and confessions of anger.
The white men expressed their anger at being told troops would add to the confusion, especially when conditions were not clearly understood. The Republican purpose is to add anger and fear—to turn Benghazi into a brand like Obamacare. All one need do is hear the word, and a parade of negatives immediately comes to mind for the uninformed majority.
If Benghazi is in, military sexual assault is out. Silence reigns about a problem so severe that both males and females in a US uniform are more likely to be sexually assaulted than killed in combat. The Republican concern for mission-readiness and discipline so displayed when gays were allowed to serve openly does not extend to violence and force within inter-gender (and intra-gender) relationships.
Any civilian organization facing year-on-year statistics for sexual assaults at the level of the military would be gravely criticized and shut down. Yet the focus of Congressional national security is on e-mails about Benghazi talking points, while the rampant, growing, out-of-control epidemic of military sexual assaults undermines military working order—widespread reports cite the difficulties of working with your rapist—and puts the nation’s security at risk. And brings home a lot of hurt.
Last year, 26,000 assaults were committed, by the military’s own score. The Air Force Chief of Staff discussed it in a Senate subcommittee hearing as the result of a “hook-up” culture. Yet the Air Force’s officer in charge of the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention was charged two weeks ago with groping an unknown woman in a Virginia parking lot, and was arrested by civilian authorities. Yesterday, the Army reported the arrest of an officer at Fort Hood, a Texas base, who was the Sexual Assault Prevention Office Coordinator. He is being held on multiple charges of abusive sexual misconduct.
Outrage? The tempest over revised talking points and e-mails also ignores three of the most important global developments in recent weeks: the factory fire in Bangladesh that left more than 1,100 workers dead, calling into question issues of global working conditions and safety; the massacres in Northern Nigerian villages by the Nigerian army; and the conviction of Guatemala’s former president and military dictator, 86-year-old Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide. Continue reading Hooking Up the Wrong Way
Benghazi memo underwent multiple revisions by Jay-Z and William Ayers! IRS scrutiny was merely groundwork for tossing Teabaggers into secret FEMA concentration camps! They’re gonna confiscate and melt down all privately owned guns for a statue of Obama taller than the Washington Monument! The Tsarnaev brothers smoked crack on the Truman Balcony and slept in the Lincoln Bedroom! For Congressional Republicans, the Obama Administration is just one scandal after another, and – by God and the Founding Fathers! – they’re going to get to the bottom of every last fictional one of them.
Turning to more rational events, the Senate Environment Committee will vote Thursday on Gina McCarthy, the President’s nominee for EPA head. The nomination has been held up for a month by Senate Republicans, whose rationale for opposing McCarthy apparently boils down to the fact that she was nominated by Barack Obama.
In any even bigger surprise, the full Senate may vote as early as Tuesday on another stalled nominee, Ernest Moniz, who has been put forward for Secretary of Energy.
It’s National Women’s Health Week, which was part of the rationale for a White House event last Friday underscoring Obamacare’s measures to improve women’s health. The President noted on Friday:
… there are times when I just want people to step back and say, are you really prepared to say that 30 million Americans out there shouldn’t have health insurance? Are you really prepared to say that’s not a worthy goal? Because of politics?
Strangely enough, this Thursday a majority of the House of Representatives will essentially say (for approximately the 7,148th time) that 30 million Americans out there shouldn’t have health insurance, that it’s not a worthy goal. And they’ll say that because of politics. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 5/13/13
ABC’s This Week has Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) in a discussion about Benghazi and Syria. The foreign policy roundtable, with ABC News’ George Will, former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chair Gen. . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 5/12/13
Being a student of the political lexicon, I would like to propose a new definition for an old term — a term we’ve all used since roughly the second grade. I refer, of course, to the “wedgie.” For those who are astoundingly unaware of what this term literally means, I would refer you to your local second-grader (pick any boy age 7 or 8 and ask him… and after he rolls around the floor screaming with laughter for awhile, he’ll explain and even demonstrate the “wedgie” for you, I’m sure). Ahem.
But I propose a new definition for the wedgie, one in the adult political realm which has nothing to do with underwear (to clarify: the definition has nothing to do with underwear — the adult political realm often has all too much to do with underwear). My new proposed definition:
Wedgie: When a political party’s “wedge” issue turns on them and instead of dividing the other party, begins to divide their own.
Usage: “Boy, the Republicans are really getting a giant wedgie on immigration, aren’t they?”
You’ll have to forgive my irreverence, but we’ve been waiting for this fight to be joined for a long time. The immigration bill was supposed to be debated in February, and has been slipping ever since, but we’re now finally in the thick of it. Patrick Leahy’s Senate committee is voting on proposed amendments to the bill, and they’ll be doing so for weeks to come, because there are 300 of them so far (77 by Chuck Grassley alone!).
This has intensified the struggle within the Republican Party between the nativists and the realists who can read demographic data. More on that in a bit. But what’s amusing is that the wedge has turned so quickly, in historic terms. Starting in the 1990s, Republicans have scapegoated Latinos mercilessly on the immigration issue, and have won many elections because they have successfully driven a wedge between Democratic voters (in the same way they used “tough on crime” in the 1980s).
Now, however, Latinos have truly come into their own as a political force in American politics, and Republicans are on the brink of losing this entire bloc for another generation or so. Which is why there’s a comprehensive immigration bill even being discussed, right now. Unfortunately for those trying to drag the Republican Party into coming to some kind of terms with the new reality, there are still quite a few Republican politicians (and — more importantly — a whale of a lot of Republican primary voters) who are still echoing the old party line and will not budge one inch. Listen for the cries of “Amnesty!” to identify them.
And so the wedge turns. Republicans are giving themselves a wedgie. And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group, could it?
To be scrupulously fair, however, we must also point out that Democrats have their own immigration wedgie in their near future. Sooner or later, an amendment will be proposed to allow gays to sponsor their spouses for immigration. This will be kind of a double-reverse wedgie, as two Democratic goals come into contention. But for this week, it’s been mostly Republican-on-Republican infighting.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is making all kinds of sense with the first bill she’s introduced as a senator. Here are the facts, in a nutshell. The federal government loans money to students for their education. The interest rate currently charged is 3.4%. If Congress doesn’t act, this will go up to 6.8%. The federal government also loans money to large corporate banks. It charges them 0.75% interest. So why should students pay up to 800% more on their loans than giant Wall Street banks?
Senator Warren’s bill would fix this disparity, by charging students the exact same rate as we charge the banks. Here’s what she had to say about her bill: “As a country, every time we advance money to the big banks at low interest rates, we invest in those banks. We should be making at least that same kind of investment in our students.”
This is exactly why Democrats across the land cheered Warren’s victory in her Senate race. This is exactly the kind of thing we had all hoped for from Senator Warren. For making her very first bill such a commonsense measure, and for stripping away all the governmental nonsense to make a very salient point, we are happy to award the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week to Senator Warren.
[Congratulate Senator Elizabeth Warren on her Senate contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts, and you can show support for her bill by becoming a citizen co-sponsor of the legislation.]
Well, if we had a “Democrat Who Disappointed The Most Other Democrats” award to hand out, it would have to go to Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who did better in the vote than Obama (in the district) by five percent, but who also still lost a South Carolina special House race to Mark Sanford. Our only consolation is that we now will be able to make Sanford jokes for the next year and a half, my favorite so far being: “Mark Sanford (R-Appalachian Trail).”
Don’t like that one? Feel free to make your own. The most historic joke about South Carolina was when it was notably described by one of its own sons as “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”
Kidding aside, we’ve got a pretty revolting Democrat in our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week category. The story starts nine years ago, when the mayor of Jersey City, Jerry Healy, got drunk and wound up naked on his front porch, where a photo was snapped of him, wallowing in his own crapulence. As if this weren’t bad enough, this week Healy offered an explanation for how the photo happened which just defies comment:
A nude photo of Jersey City Mayor Jerry Healy that surfaced years ago is making headlines again following Healy’s new explanation behind it. The photo, which shows Healy sitting naked on his front porch, was first published nine years ago. However, in a newspaper interview this weekend, Healy said a group of Hispanic girls drew his attention by making noise outside his home. Then, he said, they touched him and did “filthy” things.
It’s rare that a story strikes us speechless here, but this one certainly qualifies. There’s nothing in the way of chastisement which can even be offered up, as the story indeed speaks for itself. Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week is the mildest way we can put our own feelings towards Healy, in fact.
[Contact Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy on his official city contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.] Continue reading Friday Talking Points  — Wedgies For All!
Moral charges no longer have political meaning! Violate any of God’s Supreme 10 or men and women’s high ideal of public trust, or the simple statues of common law, and after taking the state plane overseas to see your mistress, paying the highest ethics fine in the history of the state, run for office by campaigning against a cardboard cutout which is not even the image of your opponent—and in South Carolina District 1, you can win by 10 points!
Ideas and people connect values and actions. Cardboard cutouts and moral charges are the new symbols of faith for a coast that was once America’s richest locale, a coast that generated the ideal of the American Dream that now has been consumed by its contradiction—not overrun by the contradictory presence of Africans enslaved that dream left out as it created its riches from their labor, but by the corrosive greed of entitlement that ignored their humanity. That greed has overwhelmed all common sense and decency in South Carolina 1. It threatens the country.
Tuesday’s special election in SC-1 was about Mark Sanford. Conducted in two stages, a Republican primary, then the special election, the electoral process presented a badly flawed, unrepentant individual continually exercising bad judgment—Thursday, he appears in local court to answer charges of trespassing for entering his former wife’s house without her consent, after being previously warned—and the voters sanctioned his passive mean-spiritedness as their ideal of character and to represent their politics.
But every action has the seeds of change in its core. Those seeds are ideals that stretch to the arc of the universe, Dr. King reminded us. Let Mark Sanford have his day, his win, his office, his place as the symbol of our worst.
That symbol is but a symptom of a larger, growing illness that is taking many forms. When the Air Force’s top officer in charge of preventing sexual assaults is charged by civilian police for drunkenly grabbing, in a parking lot, the breasts and buttocks of a woman whom he did not know, Houston has a bigger problem than the personal conduct of a corrupt congressman or the failed positive of a career military officer.
Today, the AP reported the Air Force removed the launch authority from 17 officers in charge of the nation’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles, siloed in Minot, South Dakota. An April inspection found multiple readiness violations, from failing to obey orders and a lack of decorum to potential compromises of the missile’s launch codes and ignoring safety precautions.
Yesterday, the Pentagon released its annual report on sexual assaults. By its own statistics, the US military—an organization trained in the highest ideals of honor and conduct—has a higher rate of sexual assault than any civilian organization. Continue reading A Profile of Flaws
Now that their nine-day recess is over, picture members of both houses of Congress returning to Washington refreshed, energetic, eager to tackle the nation’s woes, and ready to work in a genuinely bipartisan fashion for the good of their constituents. Now picture the exact opposite, which is what will happen this week as the 113th Congress resumes. Oh, and if you’re sick and tired of the phrase “debt ceiling,” you might want to go on recess yourself.
The House Homeland Security Committee begins hearings Thursday on the Boston Marathon bombings. The hearings will continue until House Republican leadership is satisfied that they’ve come up with a way to blame everything on President Obama.
Meanwhile, deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s remains remain uninterred, while Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors continues its search for a cemetery to take them. Surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s three public defenders, meanwhile, might be forced to take three-week furloughs before September 30, the close of the federal budget year, due to sequestration.
Jim Porter looks to become the NRA’s new president tomorrow, succeeding David Keene. Is Porter qualified, you ask? Well, a ThinkProgress item on Friday looked at a June 2012 speech Porter gave to the New York Rifle & Pistol Association, in which he referred to the Civil War as “the War of Northern Aggression,” described Barack Obama as a “fake president” and called Eric Holder “rabidly un-American.” Yes, Porter sounds like the perfect guy for the position. And don’t worry; NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre isn’t going anywhere. Nor will he ever shut the hell up. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 5/6/13
ABC’s This Week has billionaire investor Warren Buffett giving his predictions about the economy. Political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin, Heritage Foundation president and former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, former New Mexico governor Bill . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 5/5/13
Before I get into our main subject, allow me a moment of frivolity. I’d like to be the first (because I’m a day early) to wish everyone a Happy Star Wars Day! Yes, tomorrow is unofficially known as Star Wars Day, because (get ready to groan if you haven’t heard this one before) it is the fourth of May. Put another way, “May the 4th,” as in (I’m warning you, this is pretty cringeworthy) “May the fourth be with you.”
But this year’s Star Wars Day is a big one, because the original film (“Episode IV” to be fully accurate) is going to be dubbed into Navajo. They’re having casting calls today and tomorrow to fill the parts, and they’ve already translated the script. That’s pretty cool, I have to say. The people behind the effort did this to raise awareness of their language especially among their youth. Which, as I said, is a pretty great idea. I might just get a copy of the Navajo Star Wars when it comes out, just to hear what it sounds like. I have driven through the Southwest and tuned my radio into Navajo stations just for the novelty of hearing a Native American language spoken on the airwaves, so I could see sitting through a movie (where I pretty much know all the dialog anyway) just to hear it in such a unique and interesting format. So, more power to the people who put this together, or (more properly) “May the Force be with them!
In other Native American news, I read with interest this week a proposal put forth by Tim Giago, a Native American journalist, to build a museum at the site of the historically-significant Wounded Knee to present the history of the decimation of Native Americans throughout the Americas. While a quick look at a map suggests that such a museum might draw more visitors if it was located at the Crazy Horse Monument site (which is a lot closer to South Dakota’s main tourist draw, Mount Rushmore), the Wounded Knee site isn’t all that out of the way, especially for any tourists driving through Badlands National Park. The historic significance of the site is an excellent argument for building such a “Holocaust Museum of the Indigenous People” upon the site of a massacre.
In other early American news, there is now solid proof that the first English permanent settlement in America almost immediately resorted to cannibalism. It’s been in the historical record all along, including one man who “slew his wife as she slept in his bosom, cut her in pieces, salted her and fed upon her till he had clean devoured all parts saving her head,” but apparently some anthropologists hadn’t been convinced. Now there’s proof, in the form of bones from a teenage girl who was (to put it bluntly) butchered for her flesh after she was dead. Nothing like making a good first impression, when Europe first settled America! This is why children’s schoolbooks have one whale of a lot more about Plymouth Rock than they do about Jamestown, incidentally.
OK, this is a pretty bizarre introduction to this week’s news, but hey, I’m just passing along what was reported, folks. In more modern (but equally stunning) news, a professional pundit was fired because he wrote an opinion piece that was factually inaccurate and pretty ignorant all around. Is that even a thing? “Journalists” can get fired for saying things which are false (things which five minutes of fact-checking would have proven laughably wrong), and for other stupid comments? Really? Wow, I had no idea. Could’ve knocked me over with a feather…. Of course, while Howard Kurtz no longer is welcome on the Politico site, he’s still got a television program on CNN, so I guess the universe isn’t tilting as radically as a first glance might imply.
OK, that’s enough, let’s get on with it….
There are two winners of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week, even though the impressive thing they did didn’t happen last week. The impressive results (so far) did, though.
Senators Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan are both Democrats from two rather reddish states (Louisiana and North Carolina) with plenty of rural gun owners within them. They both went ahead and voted for expanded background checks anyway. Well, the polls are now in, and they both increased their approval significantly by voting the way they did.
This is important for a number of reasons, not least that it might convince a few more senators to vote for the bill if it is brought back up again (which may, indeed, happen — especially if Democrats see it as a winning campaign issue). But the real significance is that this is the first time the old Washington conventional wisdom has been proven wrong — voting for gun control is not suicidal for “purple state” Democrats. It’s not the “third rail” it used to be.
So while the award properly belongs to the people of Louisiana and North Carolina who are showing strong support for their senators, we simply don’t have enough awards to send to them all, so we’re instead sending both Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan awards, for their courageous votes which caused the bump in their poll numbers.
Other Democrats (and Republicans, too), please take note.
[Congratulate Senator Kay Hagan on her Senate contact page, and Senator Mary Landrieu on her Senate contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]
While some on our Friday Talking Points Awards Committee argued strenuously to give the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award to either Kathleen Sebelius or Eric Holder this week, we must instead give it to their boss: President Barack Obama.
Last week, President Obama appeared before a Planned Parenthood meeting and gave a rousing speech, promising his administration would fight for women’s rights as hard as they possibly could. It was, from all reports, a good speech and got lots of applause. This week, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (led by Sebelius) suddenly announced they were relaxing — but not removing — age restrictions on the Plan B “morning after” birth control pill. They insisted that it was purely coincidental that their decision to allow younger women to have better access to the pill came five days before a deadline to comply with a court order where a federal judge blasted the “politics over science” policy of the Obama administration, and which would have completely removed the age restrictions of Plan B — making it as available (if not as cheap) as condoms. Continue reading Friday Talking Points  — Most Disappointing Plan B
I don’t know what planet Peggy Noonan inhabits, but I’m quite certain its atmosphere is critically lacking in oxygen. There’s no other way to account for her periodic dispatches to Earth via the Wall Street Journal. One of the latest, concerning last week’s opening of the George W. Bush Library, Museum and Crawfish Hut, is a textbook example of oxygen-deprived punditry at its flailing, gasping worst.
Like so many of Noonan’s ruminations, the piece reads like something written well in advance of the event it supposedly comments on, with just enough anecdotal detail added afterward to lend it a flimsy plausibility. And like so many of Noonan’s ruminations throughout Barack Obama’s White House tenure, it follows a paint-by-numbers approach: Peggy Noonan loathes the President, therefore obviously everyone else does too.
“Obama fatigue has opened the way to Bush affection,” proclaims Noonan, and having picked up that mythical ball, she runs like hell with it, dodging historical fact, empirical evidence and mountains of polling data as she makes her way downfield:
One thing Mr. Bush didn’t think he was was superior… He always seemed moved and grateful to be in the White House.
And so would I if five conservative Supreme Court Justices had installed me there over the express wishes of the electorate, but – come to think of it – I don’t remember any occasions where Bush seemed to be genuinely moved or grateful, for anything.
Glibness and triteness fight for dominance in Noonan’s portraits of the presidential attendees. It’s pretty much a draw:
Anyone can soften with age, but [Carter] seemed to have sweetened. That don’t come easy. Good for him.
… [GHW Bush] feels the tugs and tides of history… [the] crowd, and the people watching on TV—the person they loved and honored most was him.
At first I didn’t understand how Noonan knew which ex-President TV viewers “loved and honored most” but then it occurred to me that she probably just phoned all four or five of them afterward to check.
Then she segues into some nice stuff about Bill Clinton, so you just know she’s fixing to move on to some really nasty stuff about Barack Obama. It’s always fascinating to see which adjectives Noonan resorts to regarding the President, when the words she really seems to want to use range from “shiftless” to “uppity” and back again: Continue reading TSW #37
In the televised debate Monday night for South Carolina’s US House seat in District 1, Mark Sanford compared himself to Bill Clinton. Huh? Yep. The House’s most conservative Republican former member found common ground with the former Democratic president. You already know it was not an act of statesmanship. Clinton and Sanford were fallen, pushed by demons and desires into sin. Clinton looked to God for redemption. Mark Sanford turned to Bill Clinton.
Since Sanford brought it up, their sins and failings warrant a comparison, especially when a Republican in a Republican district evokes Bill Clinton as his politician savior. Is this a new thesis of mercy or an invitation to temptation? Their crimes do share elements both wide and narrow.
Narrow, as both had hot scandals. Both lied and were caught, both were in the public eye. Both had affairs. After that, the connection breaks down.
Clinton remains married. His wife is our former Secretary of State. Sanford chose divorce. He is engaged (but not yet married!) to the Argentinian woman with whom he had the affair. Clinton never ran again for public office. Sanford, who fervently supported and then broke self-imposed term limits, wants another chance. Clinton was not fined for the private use of government property. He avoided successful impeachment as the first President for whom the bill of high crime (and misdemeanors!) involved oral sex (it really is sex!). His high crime was lying about his risk-taking; his DNA was saved on a dress!
Sanford instead poetically proclaimed his love at a press conference when he returned from a week’s absence on Father’s Day weekend and asked his wife for an open marriage. He repeatedly confuses and commingles his private and public selves. Voting no on every spending bill and twice on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), he slickly slashed through his own fiscal barriers to fund his impulses and lasciviousness. He flew on his public credit card, in state planes.
His hand in the public till, he jetted off on taxpayers’ money. Eventually, he paid it back. But strange behavior for a man who spent his time in Congress sleeping on a couch and once gave his wife a $25 used bicycle as a combined Christmas and birthday gift! The man who slept on an office cot and voted against every budget took a state plane to get a haircut!
A wide comparison creates more stark differences between Clinton and Sanford. Clinton created 21 million jobs in eight years in office; in four years, South Carolina, with Sanford as its executive, lost 98,000 jobs, with a Republican in the White House. His current priority? In a state in the bottom five of employment, cutting the federal budget.
His claim of attracting Boeing is debunked by a well verified story that state leaders convinced Boeing that legislative support was more important than the governor’s endorsement when they were spooked and on the verge of pulling out because of Sanford’s weird behavior.
Since Sanford initiated a comparison with a Democrat in order to claim the privilege of forgiveness and equal treatment, principles he voted against and failed to fund, another comparison might be effective with a scandal-driven Democratic politician, one who sought and successfully achieved a return to public office—Washington, DC’s former mayor, Marion Barry.
First, I have met Marion Barry and Mark Sanford, and lived in cities and districts where they were elected to govern and procure progress. I have looked closely at the policies of both men and seen them on the campaign stump. Through their period of travails, I have witnessed their efforts at political comebacks. I have seen them put themselves before voters to judge not only policies and promises, but their penalties and crimes.
Marion went to jail. Mark paid $74,000 in fines. Both lost wives. But both are confident, handsome and resilient. Both are polarizing figures, with detractors and supporters. But Mark Sanford is no Marion Barry. He’s worse!
Here’s why: Politics comes down to service, money, and rights.
Mark Sanford, in his service as governor, once walked into the South Carolina State House, carrying a pig under each arm; he named them Pork and Barrel. Termed “an ill thought-out display,” deemed by the Republican Speaker “beneath the dignity of the Governor’s office,” the legislature, controlled by his own party, then promptly overturned, with bipartisan support, 100 of the 106 items he vetoed in the budget. He got his way with six.
This describes Sanford’s duty of service: sleep in his office, sleep with his fiance, proudly turn down stimulus money. And he also touts charter school reforms, including a statewide district, a reorganization of the Department of Motor Vehicles, cutting wait times, restructuring the state’s Department of Transportation, and tort reform. Jobs, wages and health, environmental protection, higher education don’t appear anywhere in his Sanford Seven.
In Congress, he wanted to reform Social Security, a program with a $2.7 trillion surplus (it added $69 billion this year!) and the lowest overhead and administrative costs of any private or public program for income security. He called it “putting tax payers first.” Really?
So he’s known for a little theater, a big temptation to tinker with public money, shorter waits for driver’s licenses, and running around the district this election with new props: cut-outs of Nancy Pelosi and waving hundred dollar bills, claiming this election is being bought—after the Republican National Committee withdrew his funding when it emerged that after repeated warnings, he was charged with trespassing at his ex-wife’s house!
“I had to make the call,” he says in his second explanation of the incident. It was Super Bowl Sunday and his wife wasn’t back yet to receive their 14-year-old son. Enter Mark.
I’m divorced. My daughter always had a key to her mother’s house. But my ex-wife never found me inside. The way you handle custody exchanges is not to enter each other’s dwellings. If the exchange or pickup is missed, you leave a message. It’s simple. “I have the child. You weren’t home yet. Contact me on what you want to do.” You reset. You don’t “make the call” to enter with ease. And then try for the moral high ground in a political ad, under the cover of great parenting skills. (Remember when Sanford was missing on Father’s Day? A time zone away? Out of touch?)
What could have been handled with a phone call or text message (Sanford lived 20 minutes away!) instead led to a full-page campaign ad to spin a clear error in judgment that millions of divorced parents make daily about custody. It also blames the media. It’s arithmetic; his errors multiply.
But what sets Mark Sanford aside from Marion Barry is his unabashed opposition to the dredging of Charleston’s harbor. Charleston ranks three or four in the nation’s busiest harbors, higher than New Orleans, Galveston, Mobile and West Coast ports. Moreover, it has an efficient connecting infrastructure of roads, warehouses and personnel skilled at trade, whose long arms affect the nation. $13 trillion worth of goods are imported through Charleston; $12 trillion are exported. The jobs, income, and multipliers are enormous. Continue reading Mark Sanford Is No Marion Barry. He’s Worse!