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Where is Sanford's shame?

By Jo-Ann Armao

I don’t know what reaction I expected from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to findings that he violated state ethics laws. Maybe some chagrin? Perhaps some thought to the idea maybe he should resign to spare himself, his family and his state further agony? Or, at the very least, the good sense to just say nothing?

Instead, Sanford, through this attorney, had the temerity to dismiss the charges as “technical questions.” As if there is anything technical about using state planes for political trips or having taxpayers underwrite private flings. I guess, though, that the distinction between right and wrong, lawful and outrageous is lost on a man who thinks nothing of leaving his four sons over Father's Day to travel to another time zone for a tryst with his mistress. And I guess that someone who thinks the public is so stupid that it will buy a phony story about hiking the Appalachian Trail will be clueless enough not to recognize real wrongdoing.

The State Ethics Commission on Monday, according to the Associated Press, detailed 37 instances in which the Republican governor used his office for personal financial gain. Included were charges that he improperly bought first- and business-class airline tickets, improperly used state-owned aircraft to travel to private or personal events, and occasions when he improperly reimbursed himself with campaign cash. His infamous June 2008 trip to meet his girlfriend in Argentina was included as a trip to get his hair cut. (What is it with these male politicians and their hair?)

The charges against Sanford are civil infractions that carry fines, but they are likely to factor into efforts by those in the state legislature, including some members of his own party, to remove him from office. The state attorney general is also deciding whether there is a criminal case. Sanford’s stubborn denial of wrongdoing suggests there is no end in sight to this case. Too bad the residents of South Carolina can’t do what Jenny Sanford did: just pack up and leave.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | November 23, 2009; 7:29 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Wow..I am so impressed that you would think a politician even has the capacity to feel shame. You have brightened my day! As a native Washingtonian, I have been witness to decades of 'deflect, deflect, teflon...refer to talking points robotics." I would love to ring in a new era of shame. Shame on you Mark Sanford for exposing your boys to a new low level of how to disregard their mother and other important women in their (future) lives. Shame on you Mark Sanford for being the lowest-common- to-denominator of a husband, father and mentor, let alone public servant and governor.
Thank you Jo-Ann Armao for believing that there is a right and a wrong way to act and for believing in a greater goodness.

Posted by: SmithJones1 | November 23, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

And the surprise is ..... ? One can list members of the Republican party who feel that by their actions the law does not pertain to them.

When you combine Republican party with the right wing, bible toting, hypocrites .... (redundancy, I know) the outcome is always predictable.

They have no "shame". They actually believe they are above the rest of us. After all, it's their moral laws that they break and criticize others for breaking.

The "christian" right wing of America has been outted for what it is. HYPOCRITES!

Posted by: Topper2u | November 23, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

When you are delusional, self-involved, self-righteous and arrogant, you don't really feel shame because you are not governed by the same laws that we mortals have to keep. You are guided by your own self-loving moral compass, so ethics that apply to the average everyday peer, if they're stupid enough to allow them to, simply don't apply to YOU. Oh, and you are also an artful revisionist.

Hey, now I think of it. Mark Sanford has certain twin traits with Sarah Palin. May be part of the admissions exam for the GOP!!

Posted by: TruthFairy | November 23, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Shamefully, Governor Sanford was defended by South Carolina Democrats and Republicans alike when the news first broke. Now he is emboldened to tell everybody to just shove off at the first mention of being a man and stepping down with a little grace. Sanford is acting (almost) like that idiot Blogovich (sic) from Illinois. A lot of us voted for Sanford twice and a lot of people, again Democrats and Republicans. It seems like this man has been handed everything he ever had, including a wife and family who are too good for him. Sanford had his golden chance to leave with some grace. Any other state official, employee, appointee, or elected officer would have been looking for a new job by now. What is taking so long?

Posted by: OIFVet06 | November 23, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Topper2u, you have your own agenda which is to demonize republicans at every turn and not to read and absorb and respond to the topic at hand.(ie " I did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky" -- this happens on both sides of the aisle....) Right and left wind extremists should have their own portal where they can happily eviscerate one another with words. In other words, please take your 'agenda' message elsewhere and respond directly to the story.

Posted by: SmithJones1 | November 23, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

SmithJones1, you have a legitimate point, but not a legitimate complaint. I am told ENDLESSLY (I hope you can tell the exacerbation) from Republicans how they stand for family values, they are the values party (whatever that means), etc.

Now if Republicans and their minions would keep quiet about morals and ethics and the like, (and kept their religion to themselves - it is not a public affair), and concentrated on efficiency in governance, you would have a legitimate complaint!

Just as an example: for the 2008 election, the Republican primaries featured serial adulterers and 2 who repeatedly married theor mistresses. The candiate of course had more affairs than one can count. The Democrats featured only 1 candidae who had been divorced. But the Republicans claimed to be the party of family values! I hope that you can appreciate the ... is it irony or hypocricy?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | November 24, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you AmviennaVA. I am always amazed that the republican party can still spout the "family values" mantra.

Just a few years ago, this party was so outraged over Clinton's affair that they tried to impeach the president. Now, Gov. Sanford, Sens. Ensign and Craig can have affairs (or whatever it was that Sen. Craig was doing) and it doesn't even matter. I don't hear the republican party on their soap boxes talking about how Gov. Sanford has shamed this country. Both Sanford and Palin used the Governors office for their own personal gain but you don't hear anything from the republican party admonishing their actions.

Clearly, republicans should change their slogan to "me first". Because it seems that all the moral outrage is saved to use on other people and none for themselves.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | November 24, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Shame? That is SO 20th century....Smithjones1 wrote: "You have brightened my day!" Likewise for this reader. Don't get me started...

Posted by: martymar123 | November 24, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

There are no differences in morals between Democrats and Republicans are any other party. Since the beginning of time men's brains are controlled far from their heads.Mark Sanford obviously is trying to hold on to the only thing he has left in life.The truly sad part is the loss of a great family and his personal dignity is lost for ever.If his soul mate in Argentina will have him he should move there and try to start another life, at least try!

Posted by: jjclark39 | November 24, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

But, but, but, he's a CHRISTIAN and WHITE and a SOUTHERNER and a REPUBLIKKKAN and such a fine man and could be, should be President....nasty liberals,nasty,nasty.

Loves his dog, tho.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | November 24, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Those pious, "family values", types have no shame. It's not part of their genes. Just check out Vitter, Ensign, Craig, Foley, etc... No shame, all hypocrisy.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | November 24, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

family values is a little phrase that goes along with that old WINK WINK. It is nothing more than a meaningless phrase used in politics to attrack the naive and catastropically stupid.

These are the people who support continued troop deployment to AFPAK, sending divorce rates in the military skyrocketing as soldiers are on their third and fourth tours of duty.

These are the people who are holding up FUNDS for those same troops they keep sending overseas, meaning they are not getting the necessary medical care and assitance they need from returning from those long wars.

These are the people of C-STREET house where their CHRISTIAN values do not seem to correspond to FAMILY VALUES - ie lets have the family of ENSIGN bribe his mistresses family.

Yeah Family Values are alive and well _ JUST NOT IN THE CONGRESS OR IN POLITICS

Posted by: kare1 | November 24, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

If America politicians were capable of shame, we wouldn't have people like Jimmy Carter and Bill (or Hillary) Clinton kicking around. George W. would be gone, too. John Kerry would have skewered himself, and Al Gore would be out there flogging his book, HOW TO BE A SORE LOSER AND ENDANGER THE REPUBLIC.

Posted by: sailhardy | November 24, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not one of Mark Sanford, or Joe Wilson but South Carolina. The non-lawyer legislature is the best good old boy orginization imaginable. The Constitution of the State mandates a "minimally adequate education" and this is demonstrated by the activities of the "minimally adequate" General Assembly on a daily basis. Last year the property taxes were almost all but eliminated, and a 1% sales tax added, then the economy crashed and people stopped coming to SC's tourist destinations...... the local population is now saddled with a higher sales tax (8%) and the people who were touted to pay the largest share of the tax are not there. The Legislature elects all the judges, and the vast majority of the judges are former legislators. The Supreme Court runs the Bar Association and imposes unfunded mandates on State licensed attorneys in defending indigents, because the State refuses to fund Public Defenders adequately. The Magistrate system, fine for the 1800's needs trained attorneys, not political pals of Senators. A former real estate abstractor is a magistrate who has not a clue as to the meaning of black letter law. Several Magistrates in the upland section of the State never completed high school. In my County (Horry) only 78% of the residents have a high school diploma. It's not Sanford, it's South Carolina 208 years of tradition, unhampered by progress, and proud of it.

Posted by: Dropthumbs | November 27, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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