Friday, January 8, 2010

Sanford bursts 'Rising Star Bubble': look back at 2009 continues

Let’s take a look at a depressing list. The 90s gave us the “dot-com” bubble burst. In 2008 our country saw the housing bubble burst with economically catastrophic results we’re still feeling today. And this past summer, 2009, a previously obscure Republican governor gave his party their own little bursting bubble.

Of course, I write of inevitably-outgoing South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. The governor’s Melrose Place-esque antics last year served to burst what had become his party’s Rising Star Bubble.

Unfortunately, for those already fully familiar with the Sanford Saga, some text must be devoted at this time to fill in the blanks for those who are not caught-up on all the details.

Gov. Sanford was viewed as a key, up-and-coming leader within the GOP as public displeasure with the Obama Administration’s economic policies continued to boil-over by midyear. That is, he was until it was revealed he had hopped on a small jet down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to enjoy a siesta with his long-time mistress.

Sanford had led some of his staff to believe he was on a hiking excursion to essentially blow-off some steam after being ordered by the South Carolina State Supreme Court to accept federal stimulus money he had been refusing to take delivery of on behalf of his state. However, when he could not be located early in his excursion a massive search by state authorities ensued as many feared the governor might have suffered some calamity out in the wild – the entire endeavor serving to copiously waste taxpayer-funded resources.

As to exactly how many in his administration knew the whole story at the time, we may never know.

Related to the Sanford saga, the problem for the Republican Party is after the 2008 election, there has been such a void in terms of national GOP leadership the public could wrap their arms around that anyone who could make a splash and generate some positive PR for them was virtually guaranteed to grab headlines everywhere. And so this bubble – one revolving around the desperate search for new, hip rising stars within the party – began to rapidly expand.

Consequently, the clash of personalities between Sanford and President Barack Obama – over acceptance or refusal of stimulus funds – jet-propelled the governor into that very position of national prominence. Many if not all of the top political analysts (conservative, liberal, or otherwise) began discussing at length how he not only was rapidly emerging as a potential GOP front-runner to challenge Obama in the 2012 election but he also could be the up-and-coming leader the Republicans were needing to unify them and lead the party back to the promised land – like some sort of NeoCon Messiah.

Instead, Sanford revealed himself to be a false prophet for the Right Wing. More simply, he’s a dirtbag.

Along with his image, so went the GOP’s rising star bubble: “Pop!”

Don’s customary side note:
When I read the initial full-length AP article detailing Gov. Sanford’s mess, I remember being struck by one of the points mentioned in the story. The reporter had gone in length about how the governor’s wife, Jenny Sanford, had been his top advisor throughout his political career – during his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, through his gubernatorial campaign, and of course into his governorship. In essence, she was portrayed as the brains behind the public persona.

If there’s any truth to the depictions and assertions made in that article, then I cannot help but reach this conclusion: Jenny Sanford should run for public office – be it the House of Representatives, state legislature, S.C. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator (to replace Lindsey Graham, preferably), hell even governor, or wherever she may fit the bill!

When you consider the following details, such an idea makes perfect sense.

If Jenny Sanford truly was the driving force behind her spouse’s political success, then she obviously possesses a high degree of political acumen, which goes without saying is a vital quality when running for office.

The other factor weighing heavily in Ms. Sanford’s favor is the manner in which she handled the entire issue of her husband’s affair.

She was willing to giver her estranged husband the opportunity to reconcile. It was what many of us in a civilized society would hope to see in such a situation and some would consider the Christian thing to do.

However, when Mark Sanford was offered a reasonable second chance and could not garner the good sense or decency to embrace the opportunity, Jenny did what any self-respecting woman should: she dropped his sorry ass like the wet noodle he is. This demonstrates her to be – in my mind – a person of dignity and character, another quality sorely lacking today among most office holders across this nation.

Returning to the first part of Jenny Sanford’s qualifications – since she packed up their children and moved on and without her there to coach him along, Jenny’s soon-to-be-ex-husband has spewed-forth a steady stream of nonsense and stupid comments: further proving she was the brains in that family.

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