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Sanford's Train Wreck

So both Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) have recently resigned national GOP leadership posts after admitting an affair. And commentators have quickly pronounced each of their presidential bids dead. But neither loss is a major blow to the GOP, except in terms of the short-term optics.

Sanford’s fall is probably harder than Ensign’s. Ensign was still pretty far outside most political savants’ 2012 calculations. Sanford, on the other hand, was mentioned regularly as a possible vice presidential pick during the 2008 campaign. Ironically enough, his name got a lot of play when The Post last week asked political observers who was left on the GOP’s bench following Ensign’s disgrace.

But neither, really, had much of a chance even to be a headlining national party spokesman, let alone the nominee. My colleague Alexandra Petri listed some of Ensign’s liabilities last week. Among Sanford’s problems, in case you missed his painful press conference this afternoon, is that he can be just awful in front of a camera. His rambling performance contained everything from a riff on his relationship with former Virginia Republican congressman South Carolina state legislator and former chief of staff Tom Davis, to a bizarre answer on whether or not he has broken off his extra-marital relationship, to a bone-headed response about whether or not he and his wife have separated. All, as Ruth Marcus mentions today, interspersed with phraseology that wouldn’t make it into the worst of romantic comedies.

Maybe I’m being too harsh? Maybe today’s performance just reflects the stress of having to admit to an extramarital affair on national television? Maybe not. I first realized that Sanford wouldn’t make it in prime time last July, when he verbally flailed in response to a not-so-difficult question from Wolf Blitzer. Instead of saying something -- anything -- he admitted to drawing a blank, and that he hates it when he does that on television. Nice save. Here’s the video, via TPM:

Sanford might have made a better candidate that surrogate. But, especially these days, the GOP needs a lot better than those poor communications reflexes.

By Stephen Stromberg  | June 24, 2009; 5:16 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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A blow to the GOP?

Nope, not really!

A tornado wipeout...

Yep, really!!!

Posted by: danders5000 | June 24, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Depends on what sort of "blow" you're talking about, doesn't it?

Posted by: pookiecat | June 24, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Short-term loss, long-term gain for the GOP. The GOP has to clear out the underbrush before 2012. By eliminating would-be candidates now, before they have a chance to make 2011 look like a circus, the party will be stronger in the long run.

But, it does hurt the GOP credibility in the short run. The GOP is flailing when it comes to building a platform of ideas and ideals, and then finding candidates who can articulate them. Thus, the GOP is relying on social conservatism--and when its erstwhile leaders can't keep their pants on long enough to honor their families and their wedding vows, what are you left with?

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | June 24, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Definitely true, Mr. Stromberg.

The GOP is impervious to lost elections, a lost sense of responsibility, lost marriages (hetero, only), lost WMD and, most importantly, a complete loss of IDEAS.

The GOP has nothing to worry about!

Rush and Sarah in 2012!

Posted by: rogied25 | June 24, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, I know it's a common turn of speech, but doncha think your headline's in poor taste given the horrific REAL train wreck that just occurred in your town? Your editor is thinking just about as clearly as Sanford.

Posted by: chantooz | June 24, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, for all the talk of this being "the worst timing ever," it really isn't. Better for this to go down now than in 2010, when the GOP faces a key midterm election.

Posted by: Simon23p | June 24, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JudgeAlan | June 24, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

No, this isn't a blow to the GOP.

He wasn't running for or holding the office of President at the time.
No "love child" or terminally ill wife is involved.
The affair didn't occur in the White House.
No one was left dead at the bottom of a creek.

Sadly, the bar has been set so low over the years that this type incident is actually boring. The most damning aspect of his infidelity is that the state didn't know how to reach him, which is unforgivable as a Governor.

Sanford's political path may be altered by this however that doesn't mean his political career is over. Just ask Teddy.

Posted by: JackESpratt | June 24, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Blow out for the GOP? Hardly: it is proof that all of these gay marriages are finally destroying the institution of marriage. It is a WAKE UP CALL.

Posted by: jim24 | June 24, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

This thing's not over, and we couldn't make this up if it were scripted for a hollywood soft porn story. First of all read the hot emails between the governor and senora - they're going to be published tomorrow in full:
Second of all, watch for the illegitimate kid in Argentina. Beyond the pale? I say lets start the pool - boy or girl? or should I say bambino o bambina? Aye Carumba...

Posted by: DontGetIt | June 24, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Stanford is a mess, but I think your headline phrasing is inappropriate and uncalled for given what the DC area is going through right now. Very poor judgment by the writer and editor of this piece.

Posted by: xwordqueen | June 24, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

How dumb could ya be? And his wife took all of this? Oh court and divorce should be interesting. Sue that hefer and him. Ms. Cha Cha would be fried, baked and slapped flat as a dang pancake!. Oh the suit filed on this one. No tell all books; compensation to my sons; to me and I would just freak his butt up! Then, that stimulus shake up thing-apology to all publicly.

No, Ms. Cha, Cha would not bounce her little a.s.s. around. B slap that hefer!!

Posted by: Scar1 | June 24, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"Bottom line kind of guy"-got that right-loser!! Stood by your side? Oh is she an angel! Apologize not accepted-pay the State mf. Cry baby-oh I got caught-big time-creep!

Posted by: Scar1 | June 24, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

As "FATE" would have it, "What goes around, comes around". Gov. Sanford, has been the first in line to throw every Democrat, and most Republicans, under the "BUS". Every time a "SEX" scandal comes out, he is the first to start preaching hell and dam nation about being "UNFAITHFUL". Don't get all worked up to soon folks, there's more to come as the days go by. I can't wait to see a Picture of this "OTHER WOMAN". This is going to be GOOD.

Posted by: austininc4 | June 24, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Politically it is an interesting story. Sanford's traded the Religious Right to court the Latina vote.

Posted by: zdw123 | June 24, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

This is a drop in the bucket of GOP scandals. Here's an extensive list that barely scratches the surface:

Marital Affairs:
Mark Sanford
Bob Livingston
John Ensign
Bob Dole
Newt Gingrich
Rudy Giuliani
Berne Kerek

David Vitter
Randal Tobias
Ted Haggard
Rush Limbaugh (Haiti)

Gay Sex (gross hypocracy):
Larry Craig
Mark Foley
Ted Haggard
Jeff Gannon

Sexual Harrassment:
Bill O'Reilly
Mark Foley

Sex Clubs:
Jack Ryan

Anal Rape:
Dr. David Hager

Rush Limbaugh
Thomas Ravenel

Gambling (and gross hypocracy):
William Bennett

Abramoff Scandal:
Jack Abramoff
Michael Scanlon
Ralph Reed
David Safavian
John Doolittle
Steven Griles

General Greed and Corruption:
Ted Stevens
Randy (Duke) Cunningham
Dusty Foggo
George Ryan
Tom Delay
Richard Perle

Corporate Fraud:
Kenneth Lay
Jeff Skilling

Jouranalistic Ethics:
Armstrong Lewis
Jeff Gannon


Scooty Libby

Justice Department Corruption:
Monica Goodling

The Biggies:
Teapot Dome
Abu Graib
Domestic Spying

And the biggest scandal of them all:

The illegal invasion of Iraq on false pretenses:

Posted by: kurthunt | June 24, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh great. First the Republicans ruin the economy, now they're outsourcing adultery.


Posted by: MikeLicht | June 25, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

This mug goes to Argentina for some hot "P" to Ms. Cha, Cha then leaves his angel of a wife and four kids; lies he is hiking in the damn woods cause he is upset with Obama stimulus package and he has his own stimulus with Ms. Cha, Cha and he went not one time but, 3 and it has be going on for eight yrs. and wife launched his freaking career, stood by him throught all this and this mug in where? Argentina from the Applichian Trail-DAMN!! I know Law Enforcement was like we gotta tell the wife-Jesus, Jesus!! And think about it Secret Service must have said, oh the freaking freak on here!!!! And can you hear the pople in SC and wait until SC session. Yacht Club, Elk Club, Moose Club, Kkk, Masons, etc have their meetings.
Chamber of Commerce, Employees of the State, The Forestry Service, All Law Enforcement -oh hell it is on. Do not even drive through SC right now--you will get arrested just for looking smooth. Hold off on them damn festivals cause 4th of July will be a blast there. We cannot wait to see Ms. Cha, Cha--All Wives Club Members send sympathy cards to Ms. Jeannie.
That was pure hefer!! Kick her a.s.s.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 25, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Pay back Taxpayers on this one mf. We already in a hole. And this is how it goes in politics? We foot the bill for "Ms. Hot to Trott and Mr. Goodie"? No he owes The Forestry Service, Law Enforcement Angencies etc. I bet his as is cryin and that Stimulus money looks good right about now in SC. GOP just lost that one there. Yes sir re Bob!!

Posted by: Scar1 | June 25, 2009 3:47 AM | Report abuse

And can you see all those Southern Belle wives-"Don't your a.s.s. even think about it!! I will bust a cap in your a.s.s. Just move and give me a reason. Oh it is on from Fl. To Va.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 25, 2009 3:50 AM | Report abuse

No one is commenting on his job as governor

He emailed his mistress stating internet connection is NO GOOD at his farm.

Does he care that rural South Carolina has unreliable internet.

Apparently- he - like John McCain- could care less.

No wonder-

April 3, 2009
World’s Fastest Broadband at $20 Per Home
By Saul Hansell

If you get excited about the prospect of really, really fast broadband Internet service, here’s a statistic that will make heart race. Or your blood boil. Or both.
Pretty much the fastest consumer broadband in the world is the 160-megabit-per-second service offered by J:Com, the largest cable company in Japan. Here’s how much the company had to invest to upgrade its network to provide that speed: $20 per home passed.

The cable modem needed for that speed costs about $60, compared with about $30 for the current generation.
By contrast, Verizon is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.

Telecommunication Contributions?

If we all followed John McCain's lead- then none of us would be here posting!

How long have computers been in America- for consumer use?

Why did the Leader, John McCain never bother to learn how to use a computer?

Could anyone imagine if all Americans followed his lead?

Posted by: sasha2008 | June 25, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry the GOP won't die a quiet death, the don't tax us, gay hating, gun toting NRA psycopaths will still support the GAY OLD PARTY, the girl chasing, or guy chasing, money grubbing, party of the well to do. I've got mine go get your crowd that knows no generosity to others only self satisfaction of their own whims.
The more selfish the better should be the mantra of the GOP. let your party die a slow death of a thousand small cuts its what you deserve.
thomas mcmahon
millis ma

Posted by: tommic856 | June 25, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

You know, it will be a great day when the handlers of these people instruct their charges to say something to the effect that their private lives are no ones business, and unless you can prove that I used the taxpayers money for my affair (or whatever), I have nothing more to say on the subject.

Probably never happen, tho'.

Posted by: L10Flyer | June 25, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This marital mess will certainly not help the Republicans but it will not destroy them either. By 2012 no one will care even remember Sanford's name. The real problem they face is the same as before -- they need an Obama presidency on the rocks and will doubtless do what they can to engineer his failure without leaving fingerprints. They will strategically disagree when possible and stand poised to pounce on ANYTHING that could be made to smell like an Obama failure -- including making him complicit in an Iranian crackdown with arguments they would have derided as ludicrous had they been deployed against a President McCain.

Posted by: zezfor | June 25, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Whoever would have thought that Bill Clinton acting like an adolescent idiot would have had the positive effects years later? Now we can go after those who called for his ouster yet fail the adultery test for the next several decades.

BTW, Sanford newted. Like the man it is named for, he committed adultery while championing himself as defender of the family. That is more than simple adultery; he newted.

Posted by: catlady1 | June 26, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey, if the GOP can start a war based on lies that's killed tens of thousands of people, if they can blow the cover of an entire CIA operation endangering the lives of agents and wasting millions, if they can run up over $11 trillion in deficits over 30 years with nothing to show for it but rusting hardware in the deserts of Iraq, if they can sit on their hands while terrorists plan and launch the biggest attack on American soil in our history and then claim they kept us safe, if they can allow millions of illegal aliens into our country and then say it's good for business, if they can look the other way while our financial system self destructs and then bail out their rich buddies from their mistakes with hundreds of billions of dollars, and if they can parade their cheating husband of the week in front of the cameras to apologize only because they got caught and the party is still a functioning political entity, then I say their supporters have such an extremely low moral and ethical bar that it would be impossible for it ever to be irrelevant. When you twist your principles into pretzels in an effort to protect your fragile egos, because as we all know, republicans can never be wrong, anything is possible.

Posted by: jd51 | June 26, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Train Wreck? No, the train wreck is in the White House and in Congress.
the Obamination of America continues...quadrupled deficit, lossing jobs, outrageous spending that will lead to hyper inflation, loss of freedoms to the government, no practical domestic energy, the Democrat Toxic Asset generator FNMA is still functioning fully, businesses that employ Americans will continued to be taxed higher than any country in the world...Californians Puked on the liberals in their state, 60% of those in New York are saying "wrong direction" and these are both big blue states.
When Sanford fades the TRAIN WRECK in the White House will still be there.

Posted by: ekim53 | June 26, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Should Mark Sanford resign as Governor of South Carolina?


Posted by: usadblake | June 26, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

After the mounds of major crap being produced and in the works by Obama/Pelosi/Democrats, All Americans effected will wish that cheating on their spouses was ALL this group of foolish incompetents was guilty of...please, please go cheat will pay for prostitutes, just get the hell out of our lives.

Posted by: ekim53 | June 26, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Considering the tragic events from earlier in the week, I think you could have chosen a better term than "train wreck".

Posted by: randy28146 | June 27, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Repubs remind me of Wile E. Coyote and the Democrats are the Road Runner

The Acme Co. has stop selling Repubs new gadgets because they can't stop blowing themselves up.

Beep Beep!

Posted by: magic3400 | June 27, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

His cabinet should resign. What a bunch of crumbs they are for allowing a guy who voted to impeach Clinton get away with this.

Posted by: mmrafferty | June 28, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Hey, JackSprat,

Neither Bill or Teddy "screwed" the people by paying the entertainment bill with public money. In S.C. one doesn't need to be much to have a political career. Just thump the Bible and compare whatever career you have to that of King David. Have disdain for money for the citizens of this ignorant and abusive state. The only people who know what's going on there are those who can spell stimulus.

Posted by: typee123 | June 28, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"quadrupled deficit, lossing jobs, outrageous spending that will lead to hyper inflation, loss of freedoms to the government, no practical domestic energy, the Democrat Toxic Asset generator FNMA is still functioning fully, businesses that employ Americans will continued to be taxed higher than any country in the world.."

Ekim, Have you not been paying attention? All these things started over a year ago. Obama wasn't even President. BTW you should Google tax rates for other countries before you make such a ridiculous statement.

I really don't understand how someone can moralize about adultery while they commit adultery. Have they know shame?

Posted by: rlritt | June 29, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The future of the governorship of South Carolina has less to do with "God's will" and more to do with "Sanford's willie".

Posted by: labman57 | June 30, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse


Didja hear it?


Proof that all the family values hype was just a political prop. None of them believe it, none of them live it, none of them expect it from their fellow republicans.

Its not just the occasional slip that killed the republican party...its a whole movement, a stance, a speech-at-the-drop-of-a-hat, moralizing over what the rest of us ought and ought not to do, pointing fingers and acting holier than thou..

All of it just a campaign prop, a sham, its campaigns of hatred toward other Americans, women and blacks and gays and hispanics and the poor all wrapped in religious cloaks of harsh judgements and fake moral superiority.

Ensign, Vitter and Sanford and Craig did not see why they should resign... after all, it was just a slogan, a phrase, a campaign...



Posted by: dutchess2 | June 30, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

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