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The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Are people more concerned with their politicians marital fidelity than they are with how their politicians actually vote?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14596points) June 27th, 2009

Everyone knows that Gov Sanford of S.C. cheated on his wife. How many people who condemn his infidelity actually know anything about him besides the recent news?

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11 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I know that he railed on Clinton for getting a blowjob and wanted impeachment.

But, he did worse. The hypocrisy pisses me off. And it looks like his trips were on the taxpayers dime.

I don’t live in S.C. so I don’t pay attention to what the governor there does.

Grisaille's avatar

I know he’s a right-winger from S.C. that rarely (if ever) votes for any left-wing policies.

Let’s put that in perspective for a bit…

Conservatives are arguing for “American” and “Family” values. They claim that loyalty and honesty are the most important traits a person can have.

Here we have Sanford cheating on his wife. He voted to have Clinton impeached and went on a variety of news programs to speak on the issue, citing that Clinton’s mistake harmed the country. As @johnpowell has said, it’s godamn hypocritical.

BUT… you ready for the shocker? This is the reason I’m upset.

As a conservative, one of Sanford’s the major talking points is gay marriage. Here’s a man that has openly stated that he is firmly (ba dum tish) against the idea, claiming that it ruins the sanctity and tarnishes the name. It threatens his marriage, as well as all of those in a “proper” marriage.

See where I’m going with this?

Besides, this doesn’t really affect me much. How many Conservative extra-marital affairs has there been already? In fact, I’m actually surprised that the Governor wasn’t kanoodling a dude down in Argentina. Seems like the thing these days.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

I am with @johnpowell and @Grisaille on this subject. It would be easier to separate this man’s personal life from his politics if he hadn’t been so cavalier about condemning others for the crime he was not above committing himself.

srmorgan's avatar

It is a matter of telling the truth and whether your constituency trusts you or mis-trusts you.

Sanford’s marriage broke up two or three weeks ago because of his guilt-free infidelities. If he would have stopped there, telling the public that his marriage is on the rocks due to his affairs, he might have survived this thing. But look what he did.

He is the Governor of a State and he disappeared for four days without making any contingencies with the Lt Governor to step in if the need arose. He put out that lie about hiking the Appalachian Trail and then it comes out that he may have taken other trips to Argentina on the taxpayers’ nickel. He lied;

Not that I agree with this but now it seems that you can survive in politics if you have lied to your wife, but you can’t survive if you lie to the public.

If you can, read the lead article in the third section of the Wall Street Journal for today, June 27th. It’s a good read and a good explanation of what might be going through the empty minds of the American electorate


jrpowell's avatar

And there was the thing about the leaked emails that led to a reporter meeting him at the gate when he landed back in Atlanta.

20 bucks says he would have never said anything if he knew that he was going to get away with it. He just got busted. Six days to break up with her. Sure thing, Break up on the couch, break up in the shower, break up on the bed, and break up on the patio.

“The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.” [Sanford on Clinton, CNN, 2/16/99]

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Yeah. He’s an asshole.

wundayatta's avatar

Politicians are symbols as much as representatives of the people. Most people really don’t have the time, energy and attention to pay attention to every vote a politician makes. Still, they have to make decisions about who to vote for somehow.

So “character” becomes one way of shortcutting all that hard work of understanding what politician is really like. And character is image and marketing. Pictures of the smiling family man, who is religious and normal, not perverted or weird in any way.

When you run on character, rather than record, then you better make sure your character stays polished and shiny. If people are going to vote for you because you are polished and shiny, then they get what they deserve, when it turns out that the surface is not reality.

Everyone’s happy. The voters get to say they were fooled and cheated, just as the wife was cheated. The smug marketers get to say he made his own bed, and now he has to lie in it. And no one really pays much attention to issues that actually matter.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t think so, otherwise they wouldn’t have any “friends in high places” left.

Judi's avatar

I know that he was one of the loudest voices in congress to condem Clinton’s infidelity and he should hold himself to the same standard he expects of others.

Grisaille's avatar

In retrospect, if the guy just came out and said, “Hey, I was wrong. I’m stepping down, and I’m sorry for the disappointment and shame I’ve brought to the South Carolinans” then I’d actually respect him. In fact, I’d even allow him to keep his seat, regardless of whatever stupidity he did down in Argentina. He’s human, and we all make mistakes (though this one is pretty bad). That fuck-up will haunt him and his family for the rest of his life, and he’ll have to live with it.

As it stands, the guy comes off as a slithery bastard with an extreme tolerance for the stench of hypocrisy he farts up. The fact that he’s been so coy (to my knowledge, don’t quote me) about speaking about stepping down just further proves that he’s a Politician’s Politician: running on character and perceived virtues (as @daloon has said – both easily identifiable for mass consideration and consumption) yet unwilling to uphold them in times of trial and controversy. It’s a goddamn shame that the Republican party has turned itself into this. We NEED multi-party system, and these guys are just moving more towards the base – more towards the Book – all to ensure that those corporations remain invested in their party. Seriously, if there was ANYTHING I want to see Obama do, it’s for him to reform the education system so that the general public can read into this B.S. and make an actual, informed decision – not just one based on whoever thanks God the most in their rallies.

Quick Side-Note A: No, this isn’t a bashing on all Republicans, obviously. In a sense, I think we’re all trying to benefit and help the county in our own way/ideology. I just don’t agree with you.

Quick Side-Note B: How hilarious is it that his mistress down in Argentina majored in “International Affairs”?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I had never heard of him before this, but the press did a pretty good job of covering the backstory (as did the responses above). Basically he’s a liar and a huge-ass hypocrite, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t condemn his infidelity, I condemn his hypocrisy.

I’m not from SC, but when I walk into a polling place, my main concern is the candidate’s stance and their record on issues, be they fiscal, social, or other, not their personal life. I don’t really give a damn about that.

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