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Mrs. Sanford's Defiance and Defense

We have political strife in Iran, a debate about automation in the Metro crash investigation. and assorted other issues, but our Readers Who Comment are spending more effort on the story of the woman scorned in the Case of Not-Exactly-Hiking South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Post reporter Phillip Rucker tells us about Jenny Sanford, the woman who did not stand by her man when he confessed last week to marital infidelity, the woman who also is credited for her husband's political successes, and who now says "His career is not a concern of mine."

One of Mrs. Sanford's friends calls her a hero. Readers argue about that. Several readers wonder why the Post is spending its time on this story (even as the readers are doing the same) and a number complain that the Post never treats Democratic infidelity with the same amount of attention. None of them were in the Post newsroom, as I was, during the Clinton situation and watched a rather large number of reporters dispatched to work that story. But I digress.

We'll start with this pleasant exchange, which has several versions making the same points:

smb1 offered that "Man, when republicans get caught the Wash. Post is sure to cover every little detail. Don't recall Dems getting such wonderful press."

To which metroman76 replied, "Calm down Mr Paranoid Right Winger the post gave New York Gov. Spitzers affair plenty of front page space. Besides... this is the first time a politician has not dragged his poor wife in front of the cameras to show us all what a great guy he really is."

dotellen said, "Sounds like a first-class woman who mistakenly picked a second-rate man."

And NobleDog wrote, "Very classy lady. Good for her and the children.
Sounds like she has too much integrity to be in politics."

FutureJumps said, "Maybe she will run for Governor when he quits!"

A friend of Jenny Sanford's is quoted in the story as calling her a hero, a term picked up in the headline and by a number of commenters, with somewhat differing opinions.

For example, moxiemom1 wrote, "A hero, really? Good mom,classy lady, but hero? Please!"

And bandmom22 said, "I don't think she's a hero. I think it was great she didn't stand with him, looking weepy at a press conference. And she should have left it at that..."

kansasgal1 wrote, "It is nice to see a strong wife who refuses to passively stand by after the humiliation. He should receive the real response and receive it just as publicly as he dished it out to her by his disappearing act."

demtse suggested that "THe people of SC should throw Sanford out of the governors mansion. He has been nothing but a total embarrassment to the state. First, he turned down stimulus money. Then he has been outed as a whoremonger"

RetiredVeteran said, "If Governor Sanford was really a dedicated public servant who put the best interest of his constituents ahead of his own personal interests he would have reisgned last week rather than drag his family and his state through the moral gutter, but the "dedicated public servant" is a romanticized myth..."

Lhh3239 wrote, "If you want your spouse to be faithful to you, you shouldn't marry a politician (or other famous person) in the first place."

sginnc said, "Sorry neither of these people deserves praise. She has been married to and supported a man foolish enough to call great attention to himself during his stimulus package debacle and they both knew how vulnerable he was... They are the product of their mutual ambitions."

gsms69 wrote, "For gosh sakes Phillip Rucker, Republican or Democrat, give them some privacy if this is their private home. When they get back to the governors mansion, the adults (not the kids) are fair game..."

jsc-2 said, "As much as I feel for Mrs Sanford, it's ridculous to say every woman in South Caroline would vote for her for governor."

Paula_G agreed, writing, "Absolutely right. As a female South Carolinian voter there is no way I would ever vote for this woman. She's as wrong on the issues as her husband and that's what counts when I step into the voting booth."

dsrobins said, "Jenny Sanford should split from Mark. He has proven himself a total scumbag. As she departs, however, let's hope she takes him for everything he is worth as well as everything he may earn in the future. It's the least she deserves for having to live with such a worm."

jandrew23boyle wrote, "Every time there is a Republican scandal, the Republicans point out past Democratic scandals, as if that justifies there own. Every time there is a Democratic scandal, the Democrats do the same thing... I'd love to say we deserve better than this but I'd be lying. We have the vote, we can stop this whenever we want. So let's do it."

We'll close with ghhugh, who said, "...I would hope that Jenny Sanford would take this vacation and extend it as long as she can for the good of the boys. They need privacy. Let Gov. rattle brain shoot off his mouth and walk the crooked road. The longer she and the boys are not media fodder the better it will be to steer their own course."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  June 29, 2009; 8:12 AM ET
 | Tags: Sanford  
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Next: Unpacking a Conservative Supreme Court


So I'm pretty sure Ms. Sanford is being pretty reasonable about it all. I mean hello, she's got her head on straight enough to kick the guy out until he suffers enough. The problem is, I don't think he gets that what he did was truly wrong yet. There isn't enough regret yet.

At the same time, the lady is married. With four kids. Divorce changes lives, especially of children. I don't blame her for one- kicking him out, and two- keeping it as a goal to get her husband back. I think she's amazing and an awesomely strong lady who is giving him his just deserts. - for sure a ' you go girl ' moment

However, I do agree that Mr. Sanford is a silly and stupid cheating man who should have had this fling BEFORE he decided to have a 'grown up' life in the public eye. After all, the half of poltics is not embarassing yourself. Fail.

Posted by: NMR1989 | July 1, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Sanford stood there, original press conference

bragging about his affair, so in olve with himself, fondeling over every little fact of if...just

any woman who could stomach that has no pride. He's a shallow nassiscistic creep of a man. Take him back? Please, no.

Posted by: whistling | June 30, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

How life plays out like art! The ambitous wife of a Southern politician bankrolls and directs his entire political career. Finds out that he is cheating and is at rock bottom in ratings in his own state. Shows him the door and the politician goes to the foreign country to see the alleged woman. Woman testifies that the politician is in a tryst. Politician's wife conveniently leaves for an out of state vacation. White House and First Lady aspirations are no more! Genius story line except it is true.

Posted by: cessnockja | June 30, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

This is an old story blown up into this media fever because the main character happens to be high profile, Spouse supports spouse in career, then bears children who take his place as centre of her universe, leaving spoiled narcissistic and now successfully powerful spouse feeling entitled and free to wander into easily available greener,younger, admiring and often predatory pastures. Simple. Too late he awakens and realises what a fool he has been. In not so high profile cases and in real life the weasel will usually in a breath walk out and leave his not so lucky wife homeless, to fend for herself and his children. No panorama of hypocritical stomach squirming apologies from this one and no stoic face saving remarks from the brave little woman here. She is too busy furiously burning his clothes on the compost heap and seeing her lawyer that day.

Posted by: elizabeth6 | June 30, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I truly feel sorry for Jenny Sanford, as I have felt sorry for every other politician's wife who has been publicly humiliated by their philandering husband. However, like every other politician's wife who has stood next to their whining, crying, husband while he apologizes to everyone (for being caught), I cannot help but be sick to death of that same "deer in the headlights" expression on the faces of those women who enable these two-faced hypocrites to continue this kind of behavior by staying with them. Just once, if one of these women would "rip them a new one," publicly, and take them for everything they've got, perhaps it might discourage the next worthless, no good, liar. At least John McCain finally divorced his crippled wife in order to marry his mistress, Cindy.

Posted by: miesque | June 30, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Please! Jeny Sanford revealed that, on a number of occasions, her husband asked her for permission to go see his mistress n Argentina... What kind of a whimp is Sanford?

As for Jenny Sanford, while playing the evangelical wife to the hilt, and clamoring that she's willing to take him back if he demonstrates enough humility, she cannot help but stick barbs into her husband. Where are your Christian values of forgiveness, honey?

Jenny Sanford is a cold, calculating, controlling, harpy. I detest Mark Sanford's political stance, his self-righteousness, and his sanctimonious discourse. But I believe that Jenny was wearing the pants in that relationship, and that she figuratively castrated her husband.

No wonder he ran off to South America for some real love and affection.

Posted by: Gatsby1 | June 30, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

sandford should not resign, let the world see repug family values up close and very personal.the gov.did not want the citizens of his state to get any stimulus $. he also voted against the unemployment extension for the unemployed s.c. voters,however he had no problem using their tax payments to go to argentina to visit his "dear friend" on father's day.let him stay in office but let his wife give him his walking papers.

Posted by: ninnafaye | June 29, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford - Bastard. As Michelle Malkin correctly observes, "It’s the only fitting word for a man who abandons his wife and four sons on Father’s Day weekend to indulge his “overdrive” on an Argentinian fling." I equally agree with a comment on her blog, "Cheating is wrong, period. But it takes an extra special guy to do it on Father’s Day weekend."

Short of his resignation from public life, his wife divorcing him and taking every penney he has or will ever have, what else needs to be said or done?

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | June 29, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

"His career is not a concern of mine."


(I guess the little arrows don't show up on postings.)

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | June 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"His career is not a concern of mine."

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | June 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Many of the reactions from the right are laughable, and fall into two categories:

1)The "Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone" defense and 2) Gosh, the liberals have a double standard because they didn't criticize Clinton.

The fact is that there was no forgiveness exhibited by any Republicans when Bill C. stumbled in his Christian walk, least of all Mark Sanford. The political hay making and high minded pontificating was ramped up to the max by Mr. Sanford and his pals.

So if he or any knee jerk defenders of wayward Republicans tout forgiveness and understanding now, it REEKS of double standard because there was not, and has never been an iota of forgiveness offered for the former President.

The fact is that I didn't want to know about Clinton's infidelity, nor do I really want to know about Sanford's. But the Repubs spent more than 40 million bucks of taxpayer money keeping Clinton's front and center. If you do that, and claim the moral high ground, you'd better be ready to get clobbered when you are caught strolling off the plane from Argentina.

Oh, and if you've used state funds to enable your foreign trysts, and left your state without handing over executive power to anyone, while lying about your whereabouts so you couldn't be found in the event of a crisis, your crimes exceed mere moral failings.

On to more serious items:

1) Froomkin fired? What the...?

2) And the stupidity of George Will rises again in his most recent column on healthcare, when he states this:

"Every product, from a jelly doughnut to a jumbo jet, is rationed -- by price or by politics. The conservative's task is to explain why price is preferable. The answer is that prices produce a rational allocation of scarce resources."

"Prices produce a rational allocation of scarce resources", including presumably health care. Only a guy with wads of money and no fear of bypassing health care due to cost would write such drivel.

And Froomkin gets the heave ho? Good grief.

Posted by: SeattlePete | June 29, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Because, of course, the woman is never at fault. Matter of fact, married women never cheat.


Posted by: gbooksdc | June 29, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

OK So the unofficial score as of 6-29-2009

3 pages of comments for Sanford's Wives.

22 Pages of comments on George Will's 8th grade book report on Spanish green "Economics"

and...400+ comments calling for Fred Hiatt's head on a pike, for firing one of Washington's most dilligent reporters.

Granted the Sanford story posted sometime this morning, but I will eat my laptop if that discussion goes over 4 pages.

I am still so pissed about Froomkin, what a disgrace.

Posted by: jcck | June 29, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I meant to add that as far as Will's column itself versus the comments it garnered.

The comments sections had links to a plethora of substantiated Government AND industry reports DIRECTLLY refuting Will's dubious assertion that. I have to laugh at this...Green Jobs Destroy Economic Growth.

And Obama's the quixotic one, right-o George.

Posted by: jcck | June 29, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

WOW. Nobody gives 2 c**ps about Sanford, a S.C. Governor.

The real news in the comments last week were:

#1 George Will's bizarre claim that creating Green Jobs actually "destroys" jobs. Citing material produced by an obscure Spanish Libertarian, himself a player in Climate Denial.

#2 The silence from the Post on Dan Froomkin's firing and the outpouring of support for him on his last blog.

Mr Hiatt, perhaps you can find some sort of time-traveling device. Travel to NYC circa 1900 and link up with Hearst, a place where your management style may be appreciated. Until then....



Long live the new media revolution!

Posted by: jcck | June 29, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

There is an undeniable double standard in the mainstream media. Sanford’s extramarital affair is deemed scandal of the week, allegedly a result of Republican hypocrisy.

Detroit city council member Monica Conyers, wife of the obnoxiously self-righteous congressmen John Conyers, is caught taking bribes and Mr. Conyers is allowed to plead ignorance by the media. I’m sure he had no idea where all that extra money in their joint bank account came from!

A local alternative paper exposed Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ relationship with a teenaged boy. During his campaign the mayor claimed that this was an innocent mentoring relationship. Later, after his deception was exposed, Adams reformatted his explanation to say that the relationship didn’t become physical until after the boy turned eighteen; the boy now disputes this claim. The silence has been deafening from the NY Times and WAPO. It isn’t the image they want for America’s first openly gay mayor.

If this had been a middle aged Republican, heterosexual mayor pursuing a relationship with a high school aged girl it would have been a front-page scandal in major newspapers. Media should tread lightly when using labeling hypocrites; their houses are made of very flimsy glass.

Posted by: dcn1 | June 29, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The wrong Sanford is in office. For more on the divorce and custody industry, which most sane people try to avoid, see

Posted by: info12 | June 29, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The standard complaint from the right whenever news is bad for them is that it is always the fault of the liberal media. If they lose an election, it is the liberal media's doing. As if the liberal media wasn't there with their thumb on the scale, they would have won.

Similarly, when one of their own gets caught with their pants down, they conveniently forget how the media treated the various scandals of their opponents and pretend that the media is somehow treating their guy differently.

This is laughable. Spitzer resigned. Blago was forced out by his own party. Vitter is still in office. Ensign receives a roaring round of applause and cheers and stays on. And Mark Sanford has indicated strongly that he has no intention of resigning.

If there is a double standard, it seems to be most prevalent among the GOP.

Posted by: jaxas | June 29, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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