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Jon Stewart's interview with Jenny Sanford is some uncomfortable television. What does Sanford miss from living in the governor's mansion? The prison inmates who cleaned her dogs and tended her rose gardens. They liked doing it, she's pretty sure.

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As Lauren Bans says, "if we needed to fulfill stereotypes of the cluelessly spoiled, rich white woman left for a South American lover we could have just rented Spanglish."

By Ezra Klein  |  February 17, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

Poor Jenny Sanford. She has to fund the rest of her life. A book is a good way to do it. And you gotta make the rounds on the press circuit for the book.

Not that she isn't clueless, or 100% responsible for her position, but, boy . . . Mark Sanford was a piece of work. He really was. She was critical to his political success, and he wanted her to condone his philandering. And be the Good Wife while he flew down to Argentina to knock boots with his Latina Lover. The things he said in that press conference, the things he said elsewhere . . . wow. Not that I want to feel sorry for Jenny, given her pampered life style, but . . . wow.

I mean, I gotta think John Edwards look in the mirror in the morning and says: "Well, at least you're not Mark Sanford!"

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 17, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Poor Jenny Sanford. She has to fund the rest of her life. A book is a good way to do it. And you gotta make the rounds on the press circuit for the book."

The book isn't what makes this embarrassing, it's her pining for her lost quasi-slave labor.

Posted by: adamiani | February 17, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Jenny Sanford is an elite for wanting members of South Carolina's inmate population to tend to her personal garden on Sullivan Island.

That's true.

It's just funny coming from a 25-year-old with limited journalism experience who looks too young to legally buy alcohol in most states AND yet has used connections of money, privilege, religion, and family to acquire synergy-based employment at a major Washington newspaper and a national magazine in between his appearances on a national cable network.

A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never covered a city council meeting.

A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never consolidated the drivers', police officer's, and EMTs' versions of a four-car fatal accident.

A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never ran out at 2 a.m. to cover a three-alarm fatal house fire and get quotes from a sobbing father about his seriously injured child.

A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never sat in a county or city courtroom covering the trial of a parent charged with killing an offspring and then wandered the halls of that courtroom for 50 or 60 hours over a period of five days while the jury deliberates to reach a verdict.

A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never tried to explain the importance of moderate class sizes and special education staffing to angry school district voters who want money for the junior-varsity football team's away game across the state or the modified basketball team's air trip and lodging for a holiday tournament in another state.

In D.C, as in South Carolina, there's all kinds of money and privilege. Both sites, however, respond in kind when money, privilege, and connections are displayed.

Just ask a 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections with the kind of jobs that used to require a career's work of dedication, excellence, experience, accomplishments, and, yes, even mistakes.

But who needs meritocracy? Especially when money and connections - not to mention a few prison inmates with gardening skills - can do so much more.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 17, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein,

Call for you on Line #2.

It's the Kettle.

Calling the Pot.

Jenny and Ezra, peas in the same comfy pod.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 17, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

*Jenny Sanford is an elite for wanting members of South Carolina's inmate population to tend to her personal garden on Sullivan Island.*

No. That is not what makes Jenny Stanford an elite. It makes Jenny Stanford *cluelessly spoiled*.

Posted by: constans | February 17, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

MarkinJC, the word "elite" does not appear anywhere in Ezra's post. It seems the issues you are agitated about are more about you than about Ezra or his post on Jenny Sanford.

Posted by: constans | February 17, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@adamiani: "The book isn't what makes this embarrassing, it's her pining for her lost quasi-slave labor."

Now, seriously. Wouldn't you?

I'd be out there telling them if they didn't want to have to polish my gold-plated Olympic-sized swimming pool, they shouldn't have been jaywalking.

@MarkinJC: "A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never consolidated the drivers', police officer's, and EMTs' versions of a four-car fatal accident."

He also hasn't acted as a translator for Prussian diplomats, pulled rickshaws in Chongqing, or been Speaker Pro Tempore of the United States Senate. At least, I'm pretty sure he hasn't.

You, however, are apparently off your meds.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 17, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

This interview was thoroughly cringe-worthy. Although I think the worst part was when she claimed that her husband stayed true to his fiscally conservative principles. This was just after Sanford had already gone begging for the stimulus funds he had previously rejected supposedly out of principle.

These people are tragically absurd.

Posted by: slag | February 17, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

MarkinJC you do pretty good cringe-worthy yourself. Why bring religion into this, because Ezra has a Jewish grandparent or two?

I forgot to congradulate Ezra on his new gig at Newsweek - so congrats on that, Ezra. I hope you can keep some of what made you stand out at Pandagon and Tapped. Don't go 100% DC insider on us.

But anyway, so yeah, he skipped over the city beat at the local dead-tree rag. Wouldn't we all want to do that? I have a feeling his recent success is bringing out more trolls than usual.

Posted by: luko | February 17, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@luko,

"But anyway, so yeah, he skipped over the city beat at the local dead-tree rag. Wouldn't we all want to do that?"

MarkinJC is like an aging alcoholic utility player, stuck on the roster of a minor league baseball franchise, who can't understand why a rookie phenom made it almost immediately into the major leagues.

Some have the expertise and intellect to write about economics and public policy at a young age for major national media outlets, and others have the expertise and intellect to spend their careers wandering "the halls of that courtroom for 50 or 60 hours over a period of five days."

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 17, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

We (lower-middle class and above) Argentines are pretty spoiled ourselves. Every time I go there to visit family it seems that everyone has an (underpaid) maid who comes at least a couple of hours each week. Even my mother’s close friend who was unemployed for over a year and living from a dwindling bank account had a maid come virtually every day. It’s possible that Sanford cheated on his spoiled American wife with prison-laborers with a spoiled Argentine with an underpaid maid.

Posted by: nadine5 | February 17, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I'll be honest and admit that I share MarkinJC's confusion about Ezra's success. It's been my observation that Klein's industry, like many others, doesn't go out of its way to reward intelligence, hard work, or ability. And yet here Ezra is--being rewarded.

It's a mystery.

Posted by: slag | February 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"I'll be honest and admit that I share MarkinJC's confusion about Ezra's success. It's been my observation that Klein's industry, like many others, doesn't go out of its way to reward intelligence, hard work, or ability. And yet here Ezra is--being rewarded.

It's a mystery."


And yet here slag is--reading Ezra's blog.

It's a mystery.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 17, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Not to say that covering local news isn't important. We do less and less of that all the time and I think it is to our detriment. So I apologize for that. But that doesn't mean each and every journalist has to start by going through the motions covering the county courthouse beat.

Posted by: luko | February 17, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"It's just funny coming from a 25-year-old with limited journalism experience who..."

Michelle Malkin, is that you?

Just kidding...Mark does raise a few good points.

Posted by: Mares10 | February 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"And yet here slag is--reading Ezra's blog.

It's a mystery."

C'mon, Patrick_M, you're smarter than that. I made very clear in my statement why I read Ezra's blog. And why I'm surprised he's being rewarded.

Posted by: slag | February 17, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

slag:

You are right, I am (eventually, at least) smarter than that. I apologize that I read your comment too quickly and completely missed your meaning the first time around.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 17, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Christin Wigg could do this interview verbatim and it would be the funniest SNL skit of the week.

And I wouldn't mind Ezra's take on what it takes to be Big Media Ezra... I'm sure connections don't hurt. I'm also not really clear on how being a beat reporter would really contribute much to a policy blog... but I think Ezra's really careful about what he says; or he naturally says what he believes, backs it up with evidence, and limits the inflammatory vitriol. Saying something worth saying without being egged is a very delicate art.

Posted by: inkadu | February 17, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah... the neo-slave labor was a little... revealing.

Posted by: burndtdan | February 17, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I have asked only the merit basis for Mr. Klein attaining his positions at The Washington Post, Newsweek, and MSNBC at the precocious age of 25 and with little or no prior experience as a journalist.

Does Mr. Klein write a nice blog? Yes.

Does Mr. Klein have the experience, critical eye, and ability to deal with both success and failure of a more experienced journalist? No.

Does Mr. Klein's lack of experience, critical eye, and ability to deal with both success and failure have an adverse impact on his work now? Yes.

The journalist best is the journalist burned. More than once.

Will Mr. Klein's lack of experience, critical eye, and ability to deal with both success and failure have an even greater adverse impact on his work in the future? Yes.

There is no greater means of perspective than writing the correction on the Page A1 story. Or, even worse, learning that the "breaking story" you thought you had was little more than the orchestration of an individual or organization for its or their own ends.

A quarter-century on the family dole and a fancy spot on the national rag just doesn't measure up to a half-dozen servings of humble pie in slices large and small.

Is there something that certain readers of this blog (or shall I call some of these readers little more than "worshipers"?) find offensive about merit-based success and failure?

About the meritocracy that once defined our great nation?

About the idea that the best, regardless of money, connections, or affiliations, secure the best jobs?

About the fact that the School of Experience remains the finest preparatory academy of all?

As to the question of Mr. Klein's religious affiliation, one can only appoint to the litany of his comrades on the Post Op/Ed page.

Kristol, Krauthammer, The Brothers Kagan, Cohen, Achenbach, Applebaum, Marcus, Pearlstein, and Fred Hiatt (and that's just the obvious crowd).

I don't believe in any of that conspiracy/Protocols crap.

I believe that one can question a religion and/or a nation without being Hitler or an apostle of Hitler. Jeffrey Goldberg would naturally disagree. As would Jonan Goldberg. And John P. Normanson. And David Horowitz. And etc. etc. etc.

But if one cannot assert that a certain religious affiliation finds itself represented at proportions not exactly in direct conformation to the society as a whole, then I suggest that we make Alan Dershowitz Master of The Thought Police and just accept the fact that we never will be able to improve our lots in life unless we accept not only religious practice, but adopt a religious affiliation to one particular sect.

If you wish to adopt that means of living, then why not move to Afghanistan and get it over with? Why bother with democracy or capitalism? Why worry about hard work, desire, intelligence, creativity, and merit?

Why care about anything at all?

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 17, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@Patrick_M

No worries. I do stuff like that too. Plus, admittedly, I can be a little arcane sometimes. Sometimes even unintentionally so.

Posted by: slag | February 17, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Jenny Sanford came across much better in a more lenghty interview she had with 20/20 a couple of weeks ago, although it had its wierd moments as well. Also, I think a charitable interpretation of her comments about the prison laborers is possible. Namely that she had grown fond of certain of them and/or was impressed by their professionalism. As for the prisoners themselves, I would be surprised if such work, especially if paid, was not viewed by the prisoners as desireable diversion from lock-up.

Posted by: tbass1 | February 17, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

OK, I have to debunk this, even though I know it's arguing on the internet and therefore futile.

"A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never sat in a county or city courtroom covering the trial of a parent charged with killing an offspring and then wandered the halls of that courtroom for 50 or 60 hours over a period of five days while the jury deliberates to reach a verdict."

This is what I don't get. Why would doing crappy beat reporting things I have no interest in reading about make Ezra a better columnist? He's not even a reporter per se. Why don't we ask why he's never published any peer-reviewed articles or filed any patents?

"A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never ran out at 2 a.m. to cover a three-alarm fatal house fire and get quotes from a sobbing father about his seriously injured child."

Good heavens! Why would I ever want that inflicted upon another human being, much less want to make it a prerequisite for career advancement.

"Just ask a 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections with the kind of jobs that used to require a career's work of dedication, excellence, experience, accomplishments, and, yes, even mistakes."


"It's just funny coming from a 25-year-old with limited journalism experience who looks too young to legally buy alcohol in most states AND yet has used connections of money, privilege, religion, and family to acquire synergy-based employment at a major Washington newspaper and a national magazine in between his appearances on a national cable network."

It's not like
Yeah. I remember when it used to take a decade or more to become a blogger.

"But who needs meritocracy? Especially when money and connections - not to mention a few prison inmates with gardening skills - can do so much more."

I think you're confusing seniority with meritocracy.

Posted by: adamiani | February 17, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

MarkinJC, it's ok to suggest that religion is a factor in someone's advancement if you have some kind of evidence that it happened that way. You can't just point to a bunch of people and say, "See? Jews!" Unless you've got some evidence that Ezra and Krauthammer (wait, really? Krauthammer helped Ezra get ahead?) had some conspiracy going, you're just going to look foolish alleging religious nepotism.

As to Nepotism Classic, Ezra's said he doesn't have family in journalism. If you know otherwise, spill it. If not, don't make wild accusations because again, you just look foolish.

As to how Ezra "got ahead" despite his "lack of experience", I believe he worked at his college newspaper, then started a personal blog at just the right time when people were starting to get famous blogging. He had some stuff in the L.A. Times (I think?). This led to his internship at the Prospect, where he was hired to continue his blogging, which was deemed a valuable skill in this new media world. The internship led, as they sometimes do, to a job with the Prospect, where he (gasp) continued his blogging and wrote longer pieces for the print magazine. Then the Post though, "Wow, this kid has demonstrated the ability to write longer, publishable collumns as well as maintain a daily blog! We want him to do that exact same thing here!" Thus, here he is. Now he's getting a gig in Newsweek because his current corporate masters also own Newsweek and want him to do his thing there too.

If the Post wanted a beat reporter from the Seattle Times, that's who they would have hired. They wanted a blogger and Ezra was an early grad from the "School of Experience" in that.

Posted by: MosBen | February 17, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

*Why don't we ask why he's never published any peer-reviewed articles*

Well, personally, I do think Ezra would be a bit more credible if he were a grad student in health care economics who had decided to pursue journalism covering health care rather than a guy who got into journalism and then was groomed to be a "health care policy expert."

But I also acknowledge that the "added value" of Ezra's services is ultimately very low. We read him because we want to hear him repeat distillations of what the policy wonks are saying.

Keep in mind that his competition is made up of people like *Joe* Klein... people with much seniority and experience which apparently didn't do them very much good.

MarkinJC would be better off asking why Newsweek and MSNBC enjoy having talking head guests who are made up almost entirely of journalists, pundits, and politicians rather than people who are actually experts in the fields that these magazines and tv programs are ostensibly reporting on.

Posted by: constans | February 17, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

What MosBen said....Moreover, we all here reading his stuff. If you don't like it, bro...you can vote with your feet. Adios!!

Posted by: mrmoogie | February 17, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

A 25-year-old of money, privilege, and connections who has never ran out at 2 a.m. to cover a three-alarm fatal house fire and get quotes from a sobbing father about his seriously injured child.

The custom of seeking quotes from the relatives of the tragically killed or injured has always struck me as cruel and inhumane. Not to mention useless - I've never seen such questioning produce a response of value or new insight, let alone enough to justify the pain and inconvenience that's obviously being inflicted on the subject. The thought of having to participate in that kind of foolishness helped drive me out of a journalism major many years ago - no loss to the profession or the readers, I'm sure. The idea that this is supposed to be some telling example of a valuable experience missed makes the rest of the rant hard to take seriously even without the jew-baiting.

There's more than one way to demonstrate merit, and more than one path to most destinations. Certainly, a couple of youthful romantic relationships are enough to teach most people not to trust everything people tell them. Given the kind of drivel we get from the products of the old "meritocracy," I'm not inclined to rate it's effectiveness in identifying or developing merit very highly.

Posted by: zimbar | February 17, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that this thread got hi-jacked by the ramblings of MarkinJC.

The interview with Sanford was revealing and yes, cringeworthy. She came across as entitled and more unsympathetic than I think many people were expecting.

Posted by: michaelterra | February 17, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

My single argument here is based on meritocracy and, conversely, its opposite: reward based upon the finances, connections, and/or religion of one's family.

No one would dispute that the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority acted incorrectly and in direct opposition to the ideals of America when it hired and promoted members of its own cadre and, at the same time, denied employment and promotion to people of other religions, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, and/or gender.

Why then is it now acceptable for a particular group of the one-time minority to hire and promote its own and to do so at the expense of those individuals who do not belong to its group?

I do not believe America should return to some sort of 1950s, white, male-dominated era.

I do not believe America or its citizens should ever practice, condone, or, worst of all, ignore the biases and inequities of one group and/or sector in power towards other members of our society.

America has been the nation of equal opportunity. NOT equal result. No myopic utopia.

Equal opportunity. For one. For all.

That I like Mr. Klein's blog is without question.

But my personal views do not matter in comparison to the matter of national inequity and bias.

Mr. Klein has acquired his position at Newsweek solely on the basis of his connections, parent's wealth, and, as evidenced by the composition of the staffs at both The Washington Post and Newsweek, his particular brand of religion.

Mr. Klein's religion is no better - and no worse - than any other religion practiced by another. Or those who opt not to follow a particular faith.

Mr. Klein's connections, parent's wealth, and manner of worship have no correlation whatsoever with Mr. Klein's ability to obtain jobs and promotion.

If I didn't let a WASP practice such blatant biases, why should I, or any other American, allow Mr. Klein and his handlers to practice the biases of their own making.

Wrong is always wrong.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 18, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. Klein has acquired his position at Newsweek solely on the basis of his connections, parent's wealth, and, as evidenced by the composition of the staffs at both The Washington Post and Newsweek, his particular brand of religion.
...

Mr. Klein's connections, parent's wealth, and manner of worship have no correlation whatsoever with Mr. Klein's ability to obtain jobs and promotion."

I wrote another long refutation, but there you have it, direct contradiction within two sentences of each-other.

MarkinJC, your rank antisemitism is as unwarranted as it is inappropriate.

Posted by: adamiani | February 18, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Washinton Post:

The rules of posting at this blog prohibit (among other things):

personal attacks, defamation, degradation of others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other classification, and remarks that are predatory, hateful, or intended to intimidate or harass...

That being the case, it is wellpast time to pull the plug on the hateful and offensive postings of MarkinJC.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. Klein's connections, parent's wealth, and manner of worship have no correlation whatsoever with Mr. Klein's ability to obtain jobs and promotion."

adamiani,

And your factual, substantive proof for the above contention is?

Journalism is about the gathering, distillation, and presentation of facts. I have offered a series of facts to buttress my position in this matter.

You have provided what, exactly?

Patrick has chosen screed. That is his wont. I will not attempt to dissuade him from so doing. First, to do so would be pointless. Second, it would rob Patrick of his only method of communication.

You chose to end your (ahem) statement, adamiani, with a line taken strictly from "The Alan Dershowitz Handbook of I Don't Want to Discuss The Point, So I Will Smear You and Be Done With It" (Regnery, 2003). As I have mentioned before on countless occasions, can one not question a particular brand of religion or nation without obtaining such a label? You obviously believe that the answer to my query is no.

So, again, I ask: As it was clearly wrong for the WASPs to hire strictly on the basis of WASP affiliation 50 years ago, why is it now correct and above question for a once-victimized group to now hire only members of its own cadre?

Wrong is always wrong.

Equal opportunity for all, adamiani. Equal opportunity for all once defined this nation. Clearly, it no longer defines the hiring practices of The Washington Post Company, Opinion/Editorial Division.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 18, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"So, again, I ask: As it was clearly wrong for the WASPs to hire strictly on the basis of WASP affiliation 50 years ago, why is it now correct and above question for a once-victimized group to now hire only members of its own cadre?"

Your severely wounded psyche and over-compensated sense of inferiority not withstanding, please note that you are arguing on behalf of affirmative action for "WASP's," not on behalf of a meritocracy.

An intelligent reader who might accidentally pay attention to this anti-semite drivel will also note that the pathetic accusations of pro-Jewish bias at WaPo fall apart when you look at opinion writer (and new hire) Mark Thiessen (a Catholic Bush-ie torture apologist), editors like Eugene Robinson (what synagogue does he attend?), long-time mainstays like EJ Dionne, among countless other examples.

So, sad little man, not only are you venal and badly in need of getting back on medication, but you are also 100 percent wrong.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

As to the question of Mr. Klein's religious affiliation, one can only appoint to the litany of his comrades on the Post Op/Ed page.

Kristol, Krauthammer, The Brothers Kagan, Cohen, Achenbach, Applebaum, Marcus, Pearlstein, and Fred Hiatt (and that's just the obvious crowd).

I don't believe in any of that conspiracy/Protocols crap.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 17, 2010 3:57 PM

***************************

An intelligent reader who might accidentally pay attention to this anti-semite drivel will also note that the pathetic accusations of pro-Jewish bias at WaPo fall apart when you look at opinion writer (and new hire) Mark Thiessen (a Catholic Bush-ie torture apologist), editors like Eugene Robinson (what synagogue does he attend?), long-time mainstays like EJ Dionne, among countless other examples.

Patrick_M | February 18, 2010 3:47 PM

***************************

Patrick,

Dear, I offered 11 examples (including Mr. Klein and the multiple Brothers Kagan) to support my point.

You responded with three.

Further, do you assert that the 11 representatives from one religious, political, financial, or racial sect (the one I've offered) versus the 11 representatives from another religious, political, financial, or racial sect (yours) represent balance and merit-based hiring and advancement?

Especially if the 11 members of one religious, political, financial, or racial sect (the one I've offered) do not represent anything near an equal composite of our society as a whole?

If ABC Bank chose to hire and promote brown-eyed Lutheran brunettes from Prince Georges County at a rate far beyond the number of brown-eyed Lutheran brunettes in said county, would you accept that as matter of course? Would you attribute it to the right of a private firm, ABC Bank, to hire whomever it wished?

Or would you assert that perhaps ABC Bank hired brown-eyed Lutheran brunettes from Prince Georges County for reasons other than merit?

Further, would you assert that anyone who chose to raise this question was somehow deviously anti-brown-eyed people? Anti-Lutheran? Anti-brunette? Anti-Prince Georges County? And some sort of Hitler disciple?

Logic, dear, it's called logic.

Don't worry. You won't answer the questions. I don't expect you to answer the question. You have shown no inclination (and perhaps no ability?) to do so.

Posted by: MarkinJC | February 18, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

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