By one measure, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is one of the luckiest guys in American politics.
I mean, think about it. He becomes the center of one of the more bizarre unfaithful-politician stories in recent memory, one in which he walks out on his job for a few days, leaving his long-suffering staff wondering where the heck he's gone and frantically spinning an ever-evolving series of tales about his taking time off to do some writing. Or hiking the Appalachian Trail. Or something.
Then, when they catch him flying back to the U.S. after a long canoodling session in Argentina with his South American "soulmate," he gives a tearful confession. The news media lick their chops and get ready for one of their most beloved rituals: the slow, painful stripping of the flesh from Sanford's political carcass.
Twenty-four hours later, Michael Jackson dies and knocks Sanford off the front pages.
Then the story starts heating up again. Sanford's wife moves out of the governor's mansion with the paparazzi watching. An investigation begins into whether or not he may have misused taxpayer money to make his long-distance rendezvous. The lieutenant governor of South Carolina calls on Sanford to resign.
Twenty-four hours after the call for resignation, Ted Kennedy dies and the media run off to cover that.
It's not like the lieutenant governor's demand really mattered, anyway. Because, as we all know, the rules are different for Republican politicians. Sanford, back when he was a congressman, was one of the ones demanding that Bill Clinton resign over his infidelities. "Very damaging stuff," he called the revelations of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. "This one's pretty cut and dried. I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally to resign."
But now, see how Sanford digs in his heels.
"I'm not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks who were never fans of mine in the first place," he said. "Me hanging up the spurs 16 months out as much as I might like to do that on a personal basis, it is wrong." Unless, one supposes, you're governor of Alaska.
What's undeniable is that the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy have helped keep the spotlights off Meanderin' Mark.
That's only a coincidence, I'm sure. But what if the shoe were on the other foot? You can bet your Obama-Biden button that if two famous deaths had distracted the media from an embarrassing scandal involving Barack Obama, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity would be giving every crackpot conspiracy theorist a "fair and balanced" chance to accuse Obama of complicity in their deaths.
And the rest of the media would troop right along behind them, because the accusations themselves are stories, and who needs to worry about whether they even make sense?
Wouldn't it be irresponsible to engage in such speculation? Well, to quote conservative writer Peggy Noonan in another case, "It would be irresponsible not to." Of course, she was writing about Bill Clinton and a loopy right-wing conspiracy theory that he was being blackmailed by Fidel Castro.
It's very bad, tasteless, and downright hateful to suggest such skulduggery on the part of Republicans. Any crackpot railing against a Democratic president, calling him a Nazi, a secret Muslim, or not really American, gets a hearing by the biggest names in our "liberal" media.
But if anyone on the farthest reaches of the left uses the "N" word (Nazi) about a Republican, that's an outrage that burns in the hearts of Republicans down through the years, a long-held and fondly nursed vendetta.
Because the rules are different.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Two Sets of Rules
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Posted by JD Rhoades at Sunday, August 30, 2009