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June 24, 2009

Vid: Sanford's Presser

A few points:

1) He came pretty damn clean. In fact, he's being criticized by many for providing too many details. A guy on FoxNews said this showed poor political judgment. I don't know -- maximum candor may be the best political judgment and avoid the drip-drip-drip, and even if it's not, there's still something of value in maximum candor, anyway.

2) Shep Smith is a lying liberal weenie and people need to stop giving him ratings. All he could squawk about were Sanford's "lies, lies, lies," but, under the circumstances, Sanford told relatively few lies. Yes, he did obviously lie about his whereabouts to staff members, and he did, as he kinda-sorta admitted (while hedging disingenously), intend those staff members to propagate the lie on his behalf.

Still, given the situation, there were relatively few lies told. I mean-- this was a four day scandal, during which he himself was stone silent. The lie told -- maybe repeated a couple of times, but the same lie -- was that he was hiking. And he told that to staffers.

A lie is a lie is a lie, but Shep Smith seems eager to multiply them into the hundreds.

3) Sanford comes off badly when attempting, half-heartedly, to disclaim any attempt at lying or cover-up. He doesn't quite admit this and doesn't quite deny it. Better to just admit the obvious than engage in such a half-hearted attempt at obfuscating. He does this, I imagine, because he doesn't want to invite that comparison with Clinton, that is, the cover-up of the scandal. But in Clinton's case, it was actual a criminal cover-up, so it's already distinguishable, and there's no sense disputing the obvious.

Plus Sanford's thing went on for four days.

4) He spends a lot of time -- too much time for many commentators -- explaining his relationship with his dear, dear friend. I think commentators want the typical playbook call where he disowns the relationship entirely and writes the woman out of his life completely.

He doesn't do that. I think that's because he's in love with her and won't throw her under the bus.

That doesn't make it noble or anything. But the media seems to be expecting him to say "and it's all over now, and a huge mistake," etc., etc., and he doesn't appear nearly willing to say that. The complaint seems to be that Sanford's not saying the typical, Oprah-approved contrition stuff, and they're holding it against him that he's deviating from accepted Contrition Tour form.

I don't know. This seems a silly complaint. Hold it against him for the affair and etc., but not that he's deviating from the damage-control PR checklist.

5) Obviously his presidential chances are over, and likely his governorship, too, although he only has a year left in his term.

His Priorities: Girl Thursday writes:

In his press conference, he seemed more concerned about the mistress than his wife and sons.

I don't know if I'd go that far but that's what I was getting at, too. I don't say it makes it "better." But I think it's clear he's not writing this woman off. I'd say the chances of reconciliation with his wife under such circumstances are very low indeed.

I just mean it makes this different. This doesn't seem to be a fling. He seems in love with her. I don't argue that thinking he's in love makes an affair better, but it seems odd to criticize him according to the usual just-a-fling-type-affair standard, when this doesn't seem to be that.

Update: Brian in New Orleans writes:

His wife released a statement maybe an hour ago saying they had separated two weeks ago when she found out he was having an affair. She told him not to have any contact with her or her children and that's why she didn't know where he was.

I guess that sort of explains his Argentinian getaway. He felt "free," even though he really wasn't free at all.

Love Letters: Emails leaked to the press.

Embarrassing details.

You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...

Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true - at the same time we are in a hopelessly - or as you put it impossible - or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes ...

Leaked by whom?

The story says these are from his personal email account.

I can think of only one person, off-hand, who would have likely access to his personal email account and have an interest in exposing the affair.

Of course, it could also be an aide I don't know about.

The fact that someone has these emails sure suggests that the same person tipped the AP to start inquiring as to Sanford's whereabouts.

I think this actually hurts Sanford all the more. I think a lot of people are more forgiving of Clinton-style use-'em-and-lose-'em predations than they are of this guy falling in love.

Plus, a lot of people don't think that a sober, older leader-type should lose his heart and therefore his head at all. It may strike many as extra-special flakey and foolish.

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posted by Ace at 04:53 PM

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